Dave Goes Barbarian: Sealegs


Hello, my barbaric brethren (and sistren)! It’s another Friday, and we find ourselves here, once again, together. The fire burns, the skulls of our enemies are top-filled with libations, and meat roasts on a spit.

Which, seriously, we ought to do some time, sparing only the skulls of our enemies, perforce bowing to legal requirements. There will be swords and fellowship aplenty. But to business!

I’ve been maundering, of late. My mind fiddles while the notion of Rome in my head burns, and while I mashed those words together into a pleasing form simply for the image, said image is not *entirely* inaccurate. For, you see, I am a writer of fiction, who isn’t writing. And I’ll get back to that. I have threads to pull and weave.

The theme is the modern barbarian. Genuine barbarism is to be decried, as it leads to darkness, ignorance, and misery. See any major urban setting for examples thereof, in any time you wish to choose. What we, here at Spear & Axe Global HQ, the World’s Favorite Seagoing Concern (Just Ask Her), hearken to is the hardiness of the proverbial barbarian. We’ve taken centuries of barbarians, and distilled them down to their vital essence, and- y’know what, that just sounds unpleasant. Let’s try that again. What we’re after is tearing the spines out of the ideas of barbarians, and braiding them into-

Wait, that one’s … appropriate to the theme, but more than slightly gruesome. One more try. The goal here is to present a framework of ideas for you, the reader, to latch onto in order to better yourself. Many misfits, which we tend to be, identify with the hardy warriors of legend (or at least want to), and so we’re putting that skin (NOT the flayed hide of your nemesis) over the bones of betterment (still not getting away from gory metaphors) and presenting it to you in a way you will hopefully find inspiring. Or at least entertaining.

And I’ll be honest: I’ve been struggling with that this week. There’s a period of adjustment that occurs every time Mrs. Dave leaves or comes home, and the magnitude of that return to equilibrium is more or less proportional to the amount of time she’s been away. Well, we’re a week into that readjustment period, and my equilibrium is off. A couple of days were pretty dark, mentally speaking. But I’m applying one of the Irreverend’s maxims and lowering my expectations. While I want to thrive, that word doesn’t mean what I think it means. Getting through the week more or less intact is pretty solidly a win.

I have upped my push-up game, for what it’s worth. I strung up our gymnastic rings and the TRX suspension trainer and pulled out the parallettes to try a few things. And tried a few things I did. The parallette push-ups were easiest, with the most stable platform. I did find it a little tricky to get a position my wrists didn’t mind. The rings and the TRX were similarly unstable, with the TRX edging out the rings in strenuosity. HOWEVER. The TRX has one point of contact. This makes it more unstable (which is good if you’re working on recruiting more muscle groups and working those neglected stabilizers), but it’s downright unpleasant to use gripping the handles with your hands. The straps scratch up the skin of my arms, a sensation I can do without whilst I’m working to pay attention to other, more immediately functional parts of my body. The superior push-up, of course, is going to combine the rings and the TRX: holding the rings with a gymnast’s false grip, and feet slipped through the sling holds of the TRX. I’ll give this one a shot and let you know how unpleasant it is. I expect very.

Here’s the thing, though: I’ve not been writing, as I mentioned. Fiction, which is the hard work. I’ve not been practicing HEMA, except a bit. I’ve even let the mace and club swings fall off. I haven’t begun my rucking program, nor re-integrated weight work in my PT regimen. I have cooked meals, and slept (vital!) and spent time doing family things. I’ve even begun reading Bryan Caplan’s book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. I’ll let you know what I think of that when I’m done. Wee Dave has a birthday in the nearish future, and we’re in the midst of planning for that. Cleaning has occurred, which tends to be important in the long term. Mrs. Dave and I have begun to discuss summer plans. Basically, I’m stewing in domesticity.

Hardly barbaric.

But that’s the thing: we can’t be balls-to-the-wall testosterone monsters (estrogen monstresses?) all the time. Pacing is vital, as is learning your limits. I straight haven’t had the energy to wring more out of life for the last week. And I’m working hard at letting that be okay. I’ll let you know if I manage it. Keep in mind that for however much we work to inject a healthy dose of barbarism into our daily existence, most of life resembles the aphorism about military service that seems to have come out of the 1st World War: months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. Or, in my case, weeks of routine punctuated by brief periods of complete disequilibrium. Do what I do: use those periods of routine to establish habits that carry you through the upheaval. I’m looking forward to re-establishing my sense of balance and developing some of those constructive patterns.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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