Hudsonblick 02

He’s back in time, he’s been working out and he delivers perfect reasons to get drunk!

For the english speaking Spreeblick audience, I am passing the mic to my friend Charles for the second, even better time. He’s asking questions, so go ahead and answer him…

Lose this Skin

There“™s change, and then there“™s change. We are all mutants, and we“™re mutating more at every moment. A deeply unsettling process. What has happened to the self we knew a day ago, a decade ago? Have I lost something important? Would I know? One thing that is known: you can“™t step in the same river once. All is fire.

I think it was my last class that did it. Somewhere under the piles of journal articles, the MATLAB manuals, and the megabytes of hundred dimensional data was my gym membership card, defunct from neglect. I can almost remember when I first made the decision to skip a workout. The gym is always the first to go in schedule triage. Since then I“™d put on about ten pounds, and had to shelve some of my favorite, now embarrassingly tight t-shirts.

After some initial procrastination and the first few painful attempts, I was able to get back in the habit of regular exercise. As a wise man once said, the hardest step is the step outside. Once I was over the hump, I noticed that the coughing and wheezing that had ended my first few workouts had become a sort of dizzy euphoria. I“™m sure that there“™s a good medical explanation for this involving endorphins and oxygen depletion and such, but in my mind I equate it with making a transformation. Taking control of my own body and bending it to my will, if only to make it through half an hour of vision-collapsing cardio. For Nietzsche, it was mountain climbing:

Way to equality. — A few hours of mountain climbing turn a villain and a saint into two rather equal creatures. Exhaustion is the shortest way to equality and fraternity — and liberty is added eventually by sleep.

— Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals. (Sorry I don“™t have it in German!)

You can add hard drinking to that list, too. There are excellent medical explanations for the effects of three days of binge drinking, too, but I transformation sums it up pretty well for me. Even alchemy. Transmogrifying the body through chemicals, with the dedication, endurance, and self-destructiveness of a marathon runner. Again, euphoria can result, and (after some days of recovery) a certain pride in having pushed one“™s limits.

There are also opportunities for moments of clarity in these acts. Moments when one transcends the daily worries and distractions of existence, and can see life from a slight remove, as if out of time and space. Moments during which the banality of garbage schedules, credit card bills, and dirty laundry are far far away, and reality is in full view.

About three weeks ago I was on First Avenue in the Village. It was a little after two AM, bitter cold, and my state could kindly be described as „˜sotted“™. Frankly, I was too fucked up to walk straight. Standing around on the street was going to attract unwanted attention, and I was sure that trying to walk was going to attract it faster. I had hours to kill before the next train home, and I could neither move nor stop. Resigned to my dilemma, I decided that it was time to call in some favors and find a place to crash locally. I mustered the cogency for one desperate phone call, took out my cell phone, and promptly fumbled it to the ground, off the curb, and into the darkness under a parked car.

On my hands and knees, searching through the darkness with numb fingers. A moment of perfect clarity. The air is crisp. The night is quiet. The body is failing at simple tasks, and time is too plentiful.

There“™s change, and then there“™s change. There“™s „maybe I“™ll wear some green today,“ change, and there“™s „I“™m going to marry that girl,“ change. One happens all the time for us, every day. It“™s almost beneath our notice. The other is tectonic. It sometimes requires cool air and crisp silence. It sometimes requires something else, either more refined or more primitive. There are many ways… what are yours?


Not-so-random quotes:

We are all living too fast; we are working too hard, we grind, grind at our treadmills all day and we grind too hard, we break down long before we should, this haste, this furious pace at which we are going, at business, at pleasure, at everything, is the great curse of Chicago life.

— Samuel Paynter Wilson, Chicago and its Cess-Pools of Infamy, c. 1910

I will curse you with a Great Curse,
may dregs of beer stain your beautiful lap,
may a drunk soil your festal robe with vomit

Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet VII

Link of the week: Telecom Communication Cripples

11 Kommentare

  1. 01

    I love it! It makes me wanna start going to the gym again. Or drink some more…

  2. 02

    Just don’t do both at once, it’s messy!

  3. 03

    But a lot of what’s fun is messy!

  4. 04

    Sure enough, there’s someone doing both!:

    Variously described as „the lunatic fringe of running“ and „the drinking club with a running problem,“ the Hash House Harriers are a worldwide group with some 350 chapters in the United States, including a dozen in Colorado.


  5. 05
  6. 06

    This takes my one day ahead and makes me decide what to do with my friday evening: work, workout, go out….or drink out?!

    Hey, maybe this is even a good order for getting things done…where’s my PDA? Gotta write that down.. :D

  7. 07

    … don’t forget „pass out“, it’s the best part ;-)

  8. 08

    „Just don“™t do both at once, it“™s messy!“


    After ages of never practising more than needful moves I decided to do more than this and join a group of expliced needless-move-experts.

    The yoga teacher told me, her tiny gymn wouldn´t offer a shower, cause we wouldn´t sweat anyway.

    That made my decision easy and ever since I´m streching and wringing my body once a week together with four other women aged from, say 30 to 60.
    From time to time one of them (trying to find her center by standing tip toe on one feet while the other yearns for the ground and arms wave helplessly towards an imagined hole in the ceiling) simply tips over.


    Yoga is more than just a sport.
    It´s mental training so much I learned by now.

    And since that evening is all mine, I decided that a whole evening is too long to concentate on my selfish I and therefore spent the rest of it meeting good old friends (in random changes).

    At one or two o´clock in the morning I´m drunk enough that my yoga lesson really pays (I always find my way home without any severe injury).

    What I wanted to say is: sport and alcohol can by all means be a even helpful combination.

    It´s just a matter of the correct sequence!

  9. 09

    Yes! Hard training for hard drinking!

    I have to agree: exercise can actually make you a better drinker. You have more energy, need less sleep, etc. The curious thing is how once in a blue moon it works the other way. I remember once after a particularly brutal personal training session, I was in the locker room trying to keep from vomiting. My years of drinking excess had provided me with the mental tricks I needed to pull through…. (one breath at a time… every second you don’t throw up is another second behind you… one more second…)

  10. 10

    Tell us more about your time in the army!

  11. 11
    Charles (not in Iraq)

    Sorry, Tanja, but I can’t blame the government for this one. All of my suffering has been self-imposed!