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Positive Sarcasm Presents: No Excuses - The Long Walk Home.

“I went downstairs and grabbed the box full of her stuff including a painting she did that I liked and the picture of her in Boston Harbor, drove across town in the snow, my heart pounding, my head racing with pure insanity regarding the actions I was performing but with the idea that I never wanted to be taken for granted again, never being gullible or believing in the idea that humans are inherently good. I could no longer help her or myself, but hopefully someone else could; which is why I didn't hesitate when I pulled up to the house...and dropped the whole box of Melissa's crap right on her friends porch...Happy New Year."

-No Excuses: Chasing Dante – Part Two, October 2016

Writing about your successes in life is easy. Writing about your failures is even easier. Writing about your stupidity/insanity isn't. Planning out the approach to this article was like playing mental Ping-Pong with a live grenade. As with the other three articles, this piece will revisit my life between January 2016 to Spring 2017 with my final thoughts on the entire series and the people who greatly affected it. There are no real secrets in this world anymore, so as I close out this article and the series it's attached to...expect shit to fly.

“Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.”

-Mike Tyson

 

January 2016:

Holidays have zero meaning to me at this point. Birthdays, Christmas, it doesn't matter in my routine, I'm only left with disappointment as my journey towards crazy town had hit full speed. For three weeks I would barely speak to my roommate, Beth after the messy confession I left on someones porch. It clearly had no effect as in late January I receive a text asking the question, “Do you still hate me?” Fucking really? After I dump all of Melissa's stuff on her friends icy porch, she's still reaching out? At this point, who's the crazy one? If you don't mind, I'll be calling her M for the majority of the article...it helps keep the writing on track and the computer in one piece.

Apparently she wants to talk, why, I have no clue, I agreed to listen to whatever bullshit she has to say on a treadmill somewhere in Goffstown. I don't like how my emotions swing in so many different directions whenever I think of her and at the time when I saw her. She knew what I wanted each time throughout the three years of knowing her, so when I left her at the gym that night after hearing her out, I was left with no real conclusions, other than that the door still may be open, Christ am I fucking stupid. I should of known better considering that if you workout at a Planet Fitness, your not committed to bettering yourself or others around you. She said she still cared about me and I guess that was enough to fuel me for another year of bullshit.

Article writing was spotty at best during 2015 so I found it important to find my style again, but where to begin after a long hiatus and no place to call home. Lying on a makeshift bed on the floor each night didn't offer much inspiration, so I braved the winter cold and booked a lovely spot by the ocean for a “Writers Retreat.” No TV, no friends, just a view of the ocean and a steady supply of coffee. Since the original “No Excuses” dropped in November 2014, I only dropped three articles over a span of one year. After kicking off the New Year with “The Hiroshima Effect”, which was in response my little escapade across town with M's box of stuff, I sat in that hotel room and wrote two sweet little Gems over the course of eight hours. I was pleased with the unapologetic approach my writing was becoming. After M checked in with me to see how my writing was going, I reviewed my spelling and grammar as well as I could, prepared the artwork for Instagram and called it a night.

It seemed at the time that I had found my knack for writing again, regardless of how dark the tone of the articles were, so I was more fearless in the topics I would cover going forward. Generally when life was more hopeful, my writing would tend to come more frequently, but when it was pure chaos, my keyboard would be mostly silent, but I never really was able to rekindle that flare I once had before all this shit went down. Women tend to have that affect on me, especially the ones that are lying, cheating whores...more on that towards the end.

My food prep business was starting to burn out as it was a great strain on me, I always wanted to be available to everyone at all times. I considered myself a great time management person and could achieve anything once I had the time pattern down. However when it came to dealing with people, this was a skill I never really sharpened and this prove to be a major factor in 2016.

March 2016:

I thought it was my moment to shine as someone who could be relied on. The car was clean, the gas tank was full and M's daughter was excited. I offered to drive them down to Boston so they could attend a concert on Lansdowne St where Fenway Park sits. While they were inside, I shot across town to the North end, grabbed a bunch of pastries and had some dinner nearby. When I returned, they seemed to be at odds over a t-shirt or something, I didn't wanna pry too much, so I just gave them their pastries and endured the quiet ride home, I could make out the tears on M's face, what they were from, I'm not sure, but I was insistent upon telling her daughter how much I appreciated seeing her and hoped it wouldn't be the last time. M handed me gas money for the trip...what the fuck? I may need money, but I sure as fuck don't want yours. As she grabbed stuff out of the car, I quietly stood next to her daughter and slid the cash into her hand. I have no clue what impact this may have had on her, if any. It would be the last I would hear from M for a little while, cus I don't like initiating texting with people cus it's just not my thing, I don't like putting pressure on people like that, I'd prefer to call or get together, it feels more human that way. I personally can't stand the winter months, so let's just jump to April.

April 2016:

The whole food prep client thing was dying, my patience was wearing thin and so was my cash. I had become less and less attached to humanity with each passing day. So early on the morning of April 19th, I received a message from M saying that it's best that we don't speak anymore. I asked her what she wanted, she replied that she doesn't want anything from me. I can't go thru all the “he said, she said”, because it would take forever, but our communication obviously wasn't in the same language, I was very clear about what I wanted and was ready for long term whenever it was available to me, her decision making was questionable, secretive and non-committal and that's being kind. Once again I was left with that empty feeling inside my head, but this time with a growing anger that read like a magazine cover across my face. There I was, standing in my front lawn almost coming to blows with my final food prep client, I was becoming more greedy with how I wanted to spend my free time and it led to a tightening of my fist. I was standing there in full view of the public, one snapped twig, one small shove, one cross word away from putting four white knuckles across a woman's face. I put my head down, walked upstairs, locked all the doors, turned my phone off and bled my heart of all emotion. People didn't matter anymore, Chivalry was dead to me, I wrote one final article and tried to disappear. At this moment, Positive Sarcasm and it's entire promising network of content...was dead.

May 2016:

I could go days without talking, not muttering a single word to another human being. No matter where I went, I could accomplish zero human interaction. At the gym, headphones were on, brim was down and I didn't stay very long. At home, Beth was so wrapped up in her now dead relationship and we had very different schedules, so by the time she was home, I was in my room asleep, habitually slept and still do sleep with the door open, she would watch TV and I would be hoping to sleep at least six hours.. At the beach I would set up my stuff and put in my ear buds and lie there all day not saying a word, at the store I would use self-checkout, at Starbucks I would use the app, grab my coffee and go sit outside, I was purposely nothing more than a name on a receipt. People would call, but I wouldn't answer. The Jay Cutler Classic in Boston came and went without my presence.

The longer a person goes without putting effort into certain things, the more perverse and dark their mindset can become, this proves to still be a factor with me, so I figured it best to just stay away from people altogether and not get tangled up in there lives, however the more I ran away from all those people, I would run eventually into others, also less I went out, the more I noticed my body physically changing, as I had just dumped a huge emotional load to the side and filled my entire heart and mind with a more aggressive and point blank approach to life.

One day, while at the ocean, I decided to make a phone call...

June 2016:

I don't fully grasp how he was able to do it, but Bobby had managed to put together a life free of financial stress, a castle in the clouds and a V8 Convertible to pierce thru the highway of bullshit that life tends to throw at the slowpokes. We sat down like men over Cigars, Scotch and I absorbed everything that he told me. The power of a cigar can never be truly measured. It's truth wafts thru the air and with it you can tell right away who is of good moral value...and who is completely full of shit. I only brought a small bit of research to the table that evening, we discussed a new business venture for myself, completely separate from everything else I've done, something I could replicate with little effort at a moments notice. “Just shut up and do it.”, he said. So that's what I did, I set up an entire lab for stuff I could jar and sell, made sure I had all the legal stuff ready to go, took all my prototypes and nailed it down to one easy to make product and quietly started collecting the essentials for packaging. So as the side project reemerged as something more promising, I also made a plan to visit the doctors “unofficially” to see how my body had recovered from all the crap I put it thru. Ever since the debacle of 2014, I had pulled away from family cus it was too much to handle. I treated everything like it was a task, family included. Regardless, I felt it was time to make a trip to Carolina and visit family, but it wasn't my only reason for going there. A quiet little mission had conveniently made it's way into my plans. Since April, my nutritional habits had veered towards a more Keto style meal prep with fewer carbs, and higher amounts of decent fat sources, plus the weather was improving, so I could go for a nice walk in the morning on an empty stomach. This didn't feel like a stress at all, so I maintained to the point where I losing about a half pound of body fat per week. I never stopped food prepping for myself so staying on top of my physique was not a huge task. As long as I kept my stress levels down, competing again seemed more like a possibility with each passing week. I didn't want to do any shows anywhere even near The Northeast for that could bring my stress level up, but with Bobby having done my tan for the New Englands in 2014, my new knowledge of which products to use and an improving knowledge of food, I asked him to fly with me down to Charleston, South Carolina for a show called “The Excalibur”. No one was to know, not even Bruno. I practiced my own posing, did my own diet, (better than last time) ditched all that High Intensity Cardio bullshit and stuck with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a nice afternoon beating. Bobby's response to my request was the same one he always gave me, “Yeah, sure just lemme know.”

...fucking Bobby.

July 2016:

My desire to eat any bad foods or talk to anything with a Vagina were at an all time low. I was truly focused on the task at hand. I was gonna start a new company and give the people a product they could truly appreciate and have in their home on the regular all while preparing for a possible return to NPC Men's Physique. All the prep in the world doesn't get you ready for standing in front of hundreds of people on stage in just a pair of shorts. It can be nerve wracking for many, but the NPC is the only league that takes Modern Physique seriously, the other leagues as well as the competitors tend to treat it as more of a joke. Plus the NPC has the best competitors, I would still go in with a natural physique, cus that's just my code. I don't care if the kid next to me is 200 pounds with Steroid Shoulders, I'll stand right next to him at 170 with a legit chance of beating him, I've done it before and I'll do it again.

Yet there was more to be done. If you think starting a new business and prepping for a fitness show will occupy all of my time, we've clearly never met. Since April, my fuel tank had started to fill up, most of my fuel stemmed from anger, but it was fuel either way and I planned to use it. Sitting around and being sad is for fucking pussies and doesn't help anybody. It doesn't help society, but most importantly, it doesn't help me. So it was time to raise the PS flag, It was important tho that if I were to raise the banner that it would stay up for good. No running away, no being taken as a joke, no being afraid of someone being offended or not calling out those who deserved it. I would bring the writing back, I would bring in collaborators for certain projects, I would resurrect and clean up every part of the website and offer my services to whomever required them. It would take a lot of time, equipment and money. I scraped together whatever I could and built a physical and portable approach to each part of the website. For what I couldn't afford or operate, I would have collaborators come in to fill in the gaps. I've already lost a lot in my life...I wasn't losing this...no fucking way. On July 21st, I took to social media and made the announcement. That is when my phone lit up with questions, some people excited to see my content again, others were worried about what I would say.

August 2016:

Flight booked. Show Registered. Everything was set, it wasn't without Bobby that this was all possible. It was the opportunity to see if I had the ability to still compete with all the changes the sport has gone thru. I had certainly made some mistakes thru this prep, but it was far more successful than the last time and I was about 8 pounds heavier than the disaster of 2015, plus no one familiar was around to give me any stress. It also gave my roommate Beth some much needed free time, cus her boyfriend, Nick was driving her crazy by taking off every chance he could get, like a beagle off it's leash, only with half of the brain and a fraction of the loyalty. So time away from my crazy ass would almost certainly be beneficial. I had setup several photo shoots with my newest collaborator Myrina Jalbert for after I had returned from South Carolina. I was pumped to see how my approach would work opposed to how others prep during the week of the show. I packed as much food as I could for the flight down, Bobby is always up for an adventure, so he was ready to rock out to whatever I had planned. Since my diet consisted of almost no carbohydrates, it took a few days for my body to fill out, cus I like to run around in the towns that I visit, a lot of people sit in there hotel rooms and count their macros and all that crap, that can stress anyone out, so I tried a different approach, we went down to Isle of Palms across from Charleston and rented a couple scooters after visiting the Yorktown Museum and drove around the island bare chested like a bunch of idiots for over two hours, we accidentally jumped on the highway and crashed our scooters into each other, causing Bobby's to stall. We didn't care. It was high time in Sushi Town and after trashing the scooters for two hours, we went back to trashing the rental car, fucked up one of the tires, returned it and got another rental car and proceeded to trash that shit box as well. Reasons to travel with Bobby: He's got the money to go anywhere, he's got the open mindedness to try anything...except for Burning Man, not sure what his thoughts are on that. I don't hear no from him often, other than “No Problem” or “No way I'm going to miss that shit show!” We went from not speaking for almost two years to having some serious bro-ventures together. I also need to mention his impressive ability to put on Pro-Tan, the product I use to make myself look darker under stage lights. Who needs an expensive spray tan when you have “Bobby Bronze”? Kid can do anything, if he wanted to be a physique athlete, he would be a class winner, he's just that intelligent. He just chooses to be a Scotch and Cigar Connoisseur...which is probably healthier than most of what we do backstage and the gorging we do afterwards.

Anyways, back to the story. One giant plate of Korean BBQ, three coats of Pro Tan and off to bed I went...

...Saturday Morning came with less stress than I anticipated.

I was lean enough to not look terrible, better than I ever looked onstage. We strolled into the Sottile Theater with a slight Caffeine buzz and made our way backstage to where we would eventually be segregated by division. All the Physique dudes got there own room and we bonded rather quickly. Jason Rapuso had a million dollar smile and was quick to soak in my backstage personality. I get a bit chatty when I'm back there. It helps keep the stress level low and helps pass the time so your not thinking about stupid stuff. I did miss the smell of the tanning products and the odd brotherhood that comes with being behind the curtain, but make no mistake, I want hardware. I didn't fly down to Charleston, South Carolina for a free fucking donut.

Why I didn't register for Novice class as well, I have no clue, cus that sinking feeling when your standing there in 7th place is not one I tend to enjoy, cus at that moment you have no clue how far off you are from being a first call out, your just cast aside like a sock with a hole in it. Novice class would have dropped me right in 3rd place and I would be shipping a Dagger shaped trophy to my old posing coach, Bruno. I still to this day kick myself for not adding that extra class. No trophy for the black boarding shorts today...but they may have a chance in the near future. In my personal opinion, the shows in the Southern Region are run more efficiently and reward competitors with much superior hardware than up in the cheap ass Northeast. I'll be back for that dagger someday, hopefully Bobby will be with me for one final time.

We ran around town buying bread, wine, cigars, donuts, pastries as Bobby chased Pokemon in the park.

After a big bowl of Ramen Soup, we hopped in the rental and crushed two hours south of Charleston to the small town of Conway, where my parents reside. The excitement of today's festivities began to dissipate as my father, once a wrestler, a cop, a stiff necked Sicilian, now rolling on a tennis ball walker and memories of the past. A misdiagnosis had allowed the cancer to spread from his hip and starve him of his ability to be a man. He spent his whole life working towards retirement, but no one ever taught him how to properly live it. He wrongfully assumed that the pensions and all that other bullshit would take care of my mother in his final days, we would later learn that this wasn't the case. So as we would check in with him every day as he watched old movies from his bedroom, Bobby and I took off with my mother's Mustang and blasted straight for Myrtle Beach. Fuck it, we were on vacation.

I realized that week that I could still compete, I could still place well, just needed to tweak my diet a bit and tighten my posing a bit. No more dead lasts for me. I wasn't built for that. So when we returned home from South Carolina, I wanted to really push my creative boundaries, I didn't want the word “no” to be a strong fixture in my vocabulary. However random texts from M would continue to pop up and send me into a desperate rage, always ending with me more confused and pissed than the one before it. It would eventually come to a serious head...how, I wasn't sure yet, it would bleed somewhat into my photo shoots, although I must admit, despite Myrina just getting to know what I was like as a creator, she handled my short temper rather well, but with the colder weather approaching and her having to go deal with some real life shit, we put a halt to the collaboration so that she could go put her life back together, something I have been trying to do for the last three years.

Since I returned home, pretty much everyone I knew was splitting up. Josh Brown was entering the world of divorce, Beth had more complications with that meat head bigot fucktard from Quincy, Bobby called off his engagement, plus Zack and Lindsay split up. So many others had cut ties as well, but I can't name them all, because the body count was just too high. I may have recovered from that little brain issue, but some scars still hurt when you touch them. So all this affected me greatly...hold on I'm getting a text...guess who?

December 2016:

The black truck that hasn't graced my front entrance for just over one year was now idling outside after a phone call made in my direction asked for coffee. I hopped in nervously and sat beside M near the lake as the snow began to fall. I made it clear what she needed to do to get her shit together and that if I don't hear from her, communication with me would become more difficult as I still to this day have a weak heart for past company. I looked at her one more time and walked up the stairs. I had no desire to write, I had done a little bit of video work, so I desperately began to explore the possibility of doing a weekly vlog on youtube, since the podcast was stale and still awaiting consistent guests, I pieced together a small amount of gear and learned how I could put together a decent amount of content in an area that really isn't New York City or Los Angeles. I made do with what I had, to this day, I don't get a ton of views, but its made me money, sharpened my skills and oddly enough, given me exposure with producers at ABC and Good Morning America. My skills have definitely sharpened since that garbage first episode and I haven't wavered from improving all aspects of my website, as the posing music has a true passion and has given me an ever welcoming hand within the fitness community. At this point, it was whatever I could do to keep my brain busy.

January 2017:

4 weeks into my vlog, I get a phone call from my brother, “We have sort of a situation going on with dad in South Carolina, dad is...terminal.”

I packed up my gear and flew down to Myrtle Beach with my brother and sister. The scent of impending death lingered thru the air. Since this whole journey began three years ago, I had distanced myself from all family members as I was embarrassed about being homeless, penny-less and fiance-less. So the deterioration of my fathers condition seemed more rapid from my perspective. Sleep was his hobby now, morphine was his diet. We had an ambulance bring his lingering soul back to the house and made him as comfortable as possible. My mother started handing us stuff like it was spring cleaning, I didn't really want anything. I took one photo of my father when he picked up our late cocker spaniel who passed in December and that was about it.

Imagine watching the sunset knowing that when It reached the horizon, it would never return. That's about as best as I can describe it. We had to catch a flight later that week and as my fathers internal clock was in it's final stages, I looked over his weakening frame as my fathers eyes stared lazily towards the ceiling. I dunno if he heard what I said to him, but I put my hand on his chest, told him with a stone cold face that I would improve upon all his teachings and that I would never let anyone make a fool of our last name again. I glanced over him one last time and walked right out the door, zero emotion on my face or in the words to my mother, “let's go.”

One Week later, my mother calls me while I'm home editing that weeks vlog, “Daddy passed away this morning.”

...The Beautiful Bastard had left us.

February 2017:

I found that the only way I could show emotion was thru my video work, so I allowed for my vlog to have a more dramatic theme at times, deeming it necessary to allow parts of my real life in it and be completely open with the general public as it would most obviously affect how I would write and record video. So when it came to dealing with M (or lack there of), I thought hard about who was there for me and didn't have to be, who wasn't bound by the obligation of blood or law. My niece and I were tighter than a twisty on a loaf of bread, Bobby was clearly a lifetime bro, Beth despite her awful track record with men, was more genuine with me than most women in my life as she was to leave me with the keys to my first home in three years, Zack and I became super tight after January and was the first from my gauntlet of shows to give me a bedroom. Bruno I'll punch babies for, he knows that.

Who wasn't there? Every single fucking time I was in a bad way, who seemed to be off filling herself up with more Booze and bullshit with each passing day. I sat on that infamous park bench by the river and finally used the strength of my brain to compensate for the weakness in my heart...odd that Verizon only allows you to block a phone number for 90 days, but instagram lets you do it for life. I figured stacking the two would do the trick...welcome to Week 11.

March 2017:

This month was full speed ahead, I had no time for bullshit.

I was so focused on putting stability into my life so that I could focus on creating, that was my greatest asset. I could always create and I wasn't afraid to explore any topic or ask any question or go after anyone I deemed to be full of shit. When she messaged me via facebook, it was a slap in the face. “Why is it so hard to just be my friend?”

Men and women can't be friends, that's a horseshit cop-out. They can be acquaintances, but a friendship is more likely to be lopsided. I stood my ground, said that'll never happen, my wants are clear, I've seen no effort and I've done this already a half dozen times. I will not stand by and be friend zoned why they go pig it up on the other side of town. Fuck that. No more lazy social media messages. That's for 12 year olds. When I blocked her, I didn't feel relief, elation nor any other good vibe. I felt anger. How was I so gullible? I know laziness when I see it, but my ability to spot bullshit needed some improvement.

Lesson Learned.

Conclusion:

This is life, it's fucked. I use to have the ability to block things out and not let thoughts get to me, but after all the damage I did to myself, my brain has never been the same, I can't unsee these things. They walk with me wherever I go. Certain things in the background of my eyesight can make me clench my fist. So after three years of being able to properly absorb everything to myself and others around me, these are my official thoughts on this whole journey if that's what you want to call it.

Brace yourselves...

It's one thing to be dumped and sent packing, it happens to all of us. The truth is I was betrayed, deceived and conspired against. I was made to believe that I was solely responsible for my failed relationship with Andrea, that I wasn't a deep enough soul. That I didn't understand her, that I was unknowingly given multiple chances; so I threw all my possessions in the trash, believing I didn't deserve them, sending me on some stupid redemption tour to hopefully win her back by stepping on stage where she once did. Great plan, Joey.

If I would known that there was another man already in her, it would have certainly explained why her pussy started to smell like a traveling carny running a Tilt-a-Whirl at the fairgrounds. He was already there in the shadow; which means every decision made within that home was done with an ulterior motive and once I was out the door for good, he was there where I once laid my head at night. Your new stepdaddy's here! I'll just slide right in, eat at your table, sit in your living room, watch your TV, brush my teeth in your sink and since I'm already penetrating your girlfriend...I'll just keep doing that. So much for that engagement ring. Never mind the fact that this wasn't revealed to me until I was backstage in Boston six months later when Bruno took me aside and brought me up to date of what had transpired.

We all as people think about these things over and over, we generally just don't admit to them, we reveal them to the general public in some unrecognizable way, in a selfie or some bullshit inspirational quote that was stolen from a book they never read or a Rocky movie they never watched. My thoughts are right up front. As far as I'm concerned with Andrea, it's crossed my mind on several occasions over the last few years that if all the adults in the Dalhberg family were to die in a house fire, pissing on the ashes would've seemed to be the suitable ceremony they would deserve. They were either too ignorant or too involved. Both make you guilty. The cover-up is always worse than the crime and as they are a family of deep Catholics, good luck to you at the Pearly Gates, assholes.

Those are my official and final thoughts on that subject.

And what of Melissa? What kind of person was she? Was she just a lost soul trying to pick up the pieces from a troubled past? Or was she just some bruised uterus, a back of the refrigerator carton of Chinese leftovers that aspires to be nothing more than a dent in a headboard?

I can't sum it up any better than saying it was a lie. She was a lie, verbally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, just kept tossing more bullshit onto the pile until there was a wall.

My heart may still be weak, but my brain has now recovered enough to know when I'm about to be fed something with an unsavory aftertaste.

I have made many allies and clearly pointed out my enemies. I've pulled myself and where I sleep off the ground, I chose to not only dive into all the circles of my own personal hell, but I was somehow able to coherently journal most of it and share it with you, the reader. I fully admit that all these people have one thing in common...me. It was my fault. I met these people, I chose to put my trust in them. I decided to take chances with them. I could have just walked away and not given it a second thought. So in the end, I completely absorb the blame. Doesn't make anything right. I will not preach to you right or wrong, good vs bad. This is life, it's insane as well as the choices we make during it. I lived it knowing very well that others have lived much worse, but I'm not them and they're not me.

This is where it ends. My story may not be completely over, but this series is. Whatever version of me surfaces after this is all over, I hope he makes a difference...but, for now, I better tighten my shoelaces... for it's gonna be an awfully long walk home.

 

'We hustle, we fight, we live and die by the light.
 

We struggle, we claw, we work our hands and minds till they are raw
 

Outside of the norm may be a better life. A car, a home, a yard, a wife.
 

Tho your not meant to chase their dreams only your own, u still work your abilities to the Bone.
 

Then one day it's taken away. You now own nothing so you look to the sky, your quivering mind can only ask why.
 

When no answer arrives, you begin that long trek while recounting the moments from your past lives, muttering the lyrics from a song that last played before it all went wrong.
 

Your armor is gone and without your cloak, you wander thru reality mirroring a joke, whom others choose to question, doubt, prod and poke.
 

Now you want answers, now you seek the truth, you become a detective, an investigator, an emotional sleuth.
 

As u begin to reveal answers, for a life thought to be true, you question the motives of all those now and once around you.
 

The truth is the most expensive item you can buy and the price skyrockets when you realize it was all a lie.
 

A new body and mind are born that fateful day as your previous self will rapidly decay.
 

You now have no master, you have no Lord, for the evidence of truth has become your armor, as well as your sword.
 

For now you are nimble, now you are light, ready at all times will your body and mind be awaken to fight.
 

Now you are dangerous, because your purpose seems true, you seek aggressively to reclaim what has been taken from you.
 

Do not give an inch, go the extra mile, isolate the demons whose acts are so deceptively vile.
 

You were never the norm, but you are now the storm. For without the cold, they'll never be the warm.
 

In such a crusade, you'll make mistakes, at times you'll lose your way, but if you stay true to the path paved during the night, the peace you sought all along will warmly greet you as a brand new day.'
 

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT,

- Positive Sarcasm

POSITIVE SARCASM PRESENTS: NO EXCUSES: CHASING DANTE (PART TWO OF TWO)

...June 2015.


 

“My thoughts were full of other things when I wandered off the path.”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno


 

My enjoyment of the Refused concert in Cambridge two weeks later was ruined by texts from M. I was falling apart at work, I couldn't even look at people. My sleeping habits had become so bad that I was suffering major panic attacks even after quitting Golds Gym and taking two weeks off from working out. During that time, I indulged on near toxic amounts of sugar, I had ignored all the rules of reverse dieting and shot up to 192 pounds in just under two weeks. My ankles were swollen. I was a glutton. A circle of hell that was reserved just for my fat ass. I showed up to the beach with my friend, Ashley and her friend, Bethany with a swollen stomach and “bitch tits”, I felt so uncomfortable with myself that I had to change my habits. Like usual, I made drastic changes very quickly, this time in the form of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Now my problem then just like it is now, is that I carry anger with me everyday. It's a part of my personality, at least for now. I figured Martial Arts was an appropriate outlet for my aggression as I wasn't like myself in the gym, I'd screw around with the weights for 45 minutes with my hat brim all the way down below my eyesight and once my anxiety reached a breaking point, I'd retreat to the locker room, grab my stuff and head straight home. My first day in Jitsu class wasn't what I had in mind though, as everyone was waiting for me to gas out, then simply applying a few simple techniques and in a matter of minutes, I was submitted. Every submission made me angrier, this wasn't working, I should just quit. Or should I? Maybe I'm not doing enough, so I called Josh Brown and asked him for some advice. He has the education, motivation, patience and honesty to give me some kind of direction as far as what my options were.

After an hour long conversation, I picked right back up from where I left off, I had now set my sights on possibly doing another show in November, but at this point, my health was in serious question, three different Shrinks had spoken with me, and I was going to see a doctor “unofficially” to determine why I was having such rough problems keeping my head on the pillow every night without flipping my shit at 4am. This was a bad idea, but away I went...for a little while.

I was still fielding questions stemming from a June Article “Stories From The Backstage” regarding real scenarios of betrayal, cheating, and stealing, all fitness related. One item was removed pending legal findings, but it was in regards to marital infidelity, just another shitty person doing a shitty thing to another person. My faith in people was dwindling and my ability to mince words about myself and others was deteriorating rapidly. That, paired with chronic dizziness, high anxiety, and deepening loss of physical strength made for a difficult prep. Yet, I continued on with Jiu Jitsu, meal prep, morning cardio at my new gym, plus finding a new job.

If your are confused by some of the plot at this point, believe me, I am too. I'm still trying to piece it all together to this very day...

By early July, I was down to a healthy and lean 178 lbs with Josh's nutrition advice, despite all my ailments, prep was stupidly easy as it was based mostly on a Ketogenic diet and was rather nice to not have swollen ankles or tits anymore. However a small fall down a cliff made everything go sideways. It was early morning up on Rock Rimmon Heights, when a dizzy spell on my descent caused this poor asshole to tumble a decent way down the heavily tree rooted walkway. When I reestablished some kind of balance, there was real pain in my knee, but as I was limping home covered in dirt, I was far more concerned with why I fell in the first place. Growing up, I was more of a Mountain Goat when it came to balance, I was unstoppable and faster than a virgin firing off his first “bullet”. So off I went to see a buddy of mine, who when he wasn't getting hammered and chasing ass with his Kansas City accent, was busy being a hospital surgeon. So I called in a favor...an expensive one.

Chilling out at a health clinic during non-business hours is not the most comfortable feeling, but it was necessary in order to get use of the machines needed to scan my head, cus I didn't have health insurance and I didn't want record of anyone knowing that I was there. My buddy, stuck me under this open CAT scan looking thing, whatever the hell you want to call it, about an hour later, he pinned up some brain pictures on the wall next to my scan for comparison. As a joke, I expected my head to be hollow, but apparently there is something between my ears. The comparison charts were that of brains that were susceptible to seizures, over-active adrenal activity, and another of a brain that was “slow”.

The questions came throughout the whole visit, “take any drugs?”, “have any life altering stress in your life lately?”, “how much sleep do you get?” Normally I cry only during Meg Ryan movies, but now I was so messed up, that even a Life Insurance commercial could send me into a tailspin.

Quick flashback: During the New England Championships of 2014, before I went on stage, I was approached by Bruno, he relayed a massive amount of information to me just before I went on stage, as he was speaking to me, I started to mentally blur out, the next moment I truly remember was seeing Jimmy, Bruno, and Jen Polk behind the curtain. There is no memory of anything that happened in between that. It was later told to me by friends, spectators and fellow competitors. The kicking of the trophy, the phone call to my parents...that was my first memory blackout.

Prolonged use of large amounts of combined pre-workout supplements, plus water depletion, plus chronic sleep deprivation...equals broken brain...well something like that. Suddenly a sprained MCL didn't seem all that bad in comparison. It was a mess in my head and I wasn't sure how to clean it up. I had to shut it all down mentally, so out of desperation, I looked into adrenal cleansing combined with nootropic therapy supplements. No coffee, no stimulants at all. The first day on all this stuff, was like my body and brain was running on reserve power, the brain had a vacation and the effects would begin to dissipate in the evening where I begin another round of this in order to keep myself asleep. This would continue for around a month...felt like a year. Everyday I was like a zombie with the exception of Saturdays during the daytime where I felt like an unleashed rescue dog in a large crowd of people I didn't know. I didn't take certain pills on the designated Saturdays; which allowed my body to sort of reset according to the research I did. So that gave me one day of talking...so for about 14 hours, you absorbed a weeks worth of suppressed, fucked up Joey.

Bruno was unleashing his new crop of bikini girls at the OCB Yankee Classic in Newburyport, so my future roommate Elizabeth and I took a trip down so she could get a glimpse of what she'll be in for come September. This wasn't a big venue by any means, so it's easy to spot friends and potential enemies. I never really was close with Shaina, OCB Bikini, but I was always very cordial with her. Why she sat next to me, still puzzles me to this day. I was forking through another meal as was she and we were casually chatting about nothing really in particular, she asked me about my diet, I told her it was fine, I was eating rather well and I had lost most of the garbage weight I had put on after the last show. She asked why I wasn't on Jimmy's diet...well...away I went. I laid it out very bluntly, since the New Englands, I hadn't heard from his camp with the exception of Alison, Jimmy's now Ex. His communication and monitoring skills were garbage in my opinion, plus in comparison to the plan I was on now compared to his, with everything I had recently learned about his so called “loyalty and commitment”, I verbally flattened his whole prep design to the very girl he was rearranging the insides of...that part I wasn't privy to until later...oops.

The rest of the weekend was rather uneventful, just more pills, a little more sleep and another groggy morning. The surprise text came in I believe two parts, I was in a rough state at work when I read it. Apparently his side slut took all my comments from Saturday and that fueled his “Stevie Wonder” Text message. I was in the last few weeks of my treatment, I was a little rough socially, I didn't want to talk to people, I just wanted everyone to go away. I could of kept my mouth shut, but something felt wrong about not calling people out on their bullshit. “Don't ever contact me again...think on your sins.” This was me strapping a bomb to my chest. Then I went on Facebook with the conversation...and detonated it. At that point, I didn't care about being trusted or relied on, what mattered the most is that I was left alone and never fucked with again. Mission accomplished.

Alison called me later flipping out about the incident, but once she understood why I did it, that I just wanted to go away, she started to deflate her aggression a bit and laugh a little. Like me, she had her own problems to deal with. So after that explosion, everything became very quiet, it gave me time to focus on the last couple weeks of adrenal rehab as I came to call it. The caffeine was slowly being put back into my body, my sleep went from 4 hours to 7, my strength had increased and the seemingly grey color scale that my mind was converting everything into had seemed to allow more color back in. Blue's became extremely blue, red's became seductively red, almost like I was seeing everything for the first time, like a newborn. So on the morning of August 8th, 2015 as I stood on the peak of Rock Rimmon Heights, I was drug free. I had slept all the way through the night, a passer by saw me standing there and snapped a photo before I had a chance to turn around. It felt kinda new.

My friend Bobby took me down to Boston for a little Birthday Lunch, I brought him up to date on everything as he was recently engaged and doing quite well for himself and is far more intelligent than most would give him credit for. He would go on to become my most trusted adviser to all my projects, and always fills me with the right amount of caution to keep me on a better path than the one I had previously planned. Yet, when it came to love, everything he said to me went into one ear and immediately out the other...especially later that week, when M messaged me.


 

I never asked for much in life, actually for a long time, I was perfectly fine with the white picket fence lifestyle, For all of M's oddities and personal anxieties, none of them ever remotely bothered me. I was up for whatever came down the pike, so when it came to spending the whole weekend together and just chilling over coffee, cookies, movies and some dinner, I felt privileged. I did, however have an uneasy feeling towards the end of the weekend as I know she seemed just as overwhelmed by it all like I did. As I look back at it now, I'm not sure how to really think of that weekend...or the ones to come. Just a week later, she started flaking out like a fucking Psoriasis patient and I, just coming off all supplements was not emotionally tested and was feeling used. I had spent a lot of that summer, seeking people out from my early to mid 20's and apologizing to them if I had mistreated them in anyway. So to be stuck with the emotional check again by M, made me turn hard towards the only useful emotion I had, anger.

The meddling pain of my knee, the recent emotional turbulence I had acquired, tapped with stalled physical progress made me give another call to the doctor.

He agreed that I had treated some of the issues pertaining to poor sleep and adrenal overload, but when I mentioned competing in the 2015 New Englands and what it would require, he was pretty transparent with his thoughts. “If you think your gonna solve all your problems by November, depleting your water and putting all that stupid backstage crap that you told me about into your body all at once, then your body may not ever recover. A knee can be repaired, it can heal, look at all the examples I compared your brain to. These are very real possibilities...as a friend, shut it down.”

Josh, rightfully wasn't pleased about my decision...neither was I. It was over.


 

...September 2015.


 

“So many times a man's thoughts will waver, that it turns him back from honored paths, as false sights turns a beast, when he is afraid.”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno

My Saab, after 5 years of loyal service, was requiring a serious amount of repairs, from fuel pumps to a new transmission, my bills from my credit cards were out of control due to mechanics fees, competing in other states and a previous loan I took out for a $7,000 engagement ring back in August 2013, I was no longer in control of anything in my life, with the exception of finding a new job, because it no doubt was having an effect on my health. That and needing to move for the fifth time in just over a year was taxing my brain beyond its stability point. Not having a place to truly call your home is an incredible deficit on the mind. As I worked out a plan to minimize my debt, I reached an agreement with my friend, Elizabeth, who also used to be my property manager 6 years prior, offered me an idea. She was looking to buy a house sometime in the near future, so for the meantime, I could stay at her apartment until she found a house that she loved. So as the days grew shorter and my time in Zack's house and at my current job were coming to a close, I pulled the plug on everything, I just took my bed; which was just a futon mattress and jammed it into the trunk of my Saab, filled up the backseat with what I had for belongings and started moving at around 8:30 Saturday morning, by noon, I was done and going to get my haircut. The last day at my job was just as much of a blur, noone knew I was leaving except for M. By 5pm the next Friday, I had fulfilled my promise...


 

...November 2015.


 

“No greater grief than to remember days of joy, when Misery is at hand.”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno


 

So here I am, new job, new apartment, new gym...same anxiety. I went to the New Englands in plain clothes and I was so anti-social that I hid up in the back of the theater during pre-judging, I wished Austin James good luck via text, but that poor bastard needed more than luck to compete against the new breed of Physique Athletes, this was right before the memo about “size” in the Physique division was sent out as setting a poor precedent, that if you didn't have big enough legs, you could just throw on a pair of boarding shorts and murder everyone in your class. This has been remedied somewhat with the introduction of the Classic Physique division and now being marked down for being too big or too shredded, but there are always challenges when you compete so, I was relieved to have not been up there taking punches. Surprisingly after all the turbulence of the past year, I was greeted rather warmly by everyone who knew my face, Max Santos was an awesome Latin Competitor with a thick frame and a smile that would melt Gold Panties in Arctic temperatures. Bethany from York and her adviser Ashley sat with me for a couple minutes before having to go backstage. I actually crashed on Bethany's couch once during the summer and had a nice normal chat about simple stupid stuff. She's a very nice person, but not someone I'd want to vomit all my problems onto. Overall I was really uncomfortable being at the show, but I promised Rick Fortin I would be there, so at least a trip to Boston isn't bad, cus I could stock up on pastries, pesto and cured Italian Meats. Sadly Team Bruno was going to be in for another NPC ass kicking that night, but our Ace in the whole that night was Alison, who for her very first show, fit right in and salvaged the day and the integrity of the team. However I feel like the New Englands and the Jay Cutler Classic have grown beyond capacity, way too many competitors, it looked more like a national show than a regional northeast event. I learned more about the sport that night, than any of the others that I watched or was backstage for. I just sat there with no distractions and took it all in...but yes I left when bikini started, always have...always will.


 

Besides an article I posted back in Early September, I hadn't posted a single thing to the website since June, I couldn't reach down into what I used to pull from and create something truly original, I doubt I would ever be able to. It required a sense of stability and I emotionally felt like I was chasing Dante through each circle of Hell. It helped that on my side of town, there was no constant reminders of my old life, other than a box full of stuff that I had downstairs. I'm not sure what the future of PositiveSarcasm.com would be, there was too much chaos in my head, yet I had no time to sit idle. I started a small side business of meal prepping for those who didn't have the time, nor kitchen skills to eat properly. I could then use some of that money to pay down my exhausting debt and some of it to fund a potential Peanut Butter business. It was worth the risk, so I put together the essentials for both, set up the schedule and got to work.


 

...December 2015.


 

“Turn around, and keep your eyes closed shut, for if the Gorgon Medusa, does appear, and you see her, you would never be able to return upward.”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno


 

At this point, my skepticism was on high alert as M had once again reached out, I agreed to setup a meeting at the usual spot, so I could have a chance to hear what her thoughts truly were, now that we were no longer co-workers, how many more excuses could you come up with? I asked her direct questions and demanded direct and immediate answers. For some reason I just happened to have a soft spot for her. Maybe I just had a soft brain, I wouldn't argue that. She mentioned something about bringing some backwoods fuckwad to her company's Christmas party and how he sat in the car the whole time, cus he refused to dance. Nice work, M. Way to make a great impression than dragging that fucking half-wit in front of your bosses. The one thing I never was able to do with M was dance and as Elizabeth came home one night, there she stood surprised to see us two, chatting it up and goofing on the sofa like we had never parted. M always did have a thing for booze; since I knew how to mix a drink or two, I just wanted her to feel comfortable and relaxed in my new home. As we danced to Sinatra around the Christmas tree, her tears and apologies came flowing like a broken damn. It was tough to see her full of guilt, but I knew it was the holidays and she was the only person I wanted by my side. However with the only holiday left celebrating quickly approaching, if New Years Eve went off without celebration, then a purging had to be made. A couple days after an uneventful Christmas with family, I texted M and asked what time I could pick her up for New Years Eve, she said she wasn't up for it...that's when I became truly pissed, explaining how I felt used, after all the back and forth she'd been doing, either step up or fuck off. She quickly retreated and played the anticipated card. When your not able to let out your inner most secrets to your closest friends, they are not your friends. I went downstairs and grabbed the box full of her stuff including a painting she did that I liked and the picture of her in Boston Harbor, drove across town in the snow, my heart pounding, my head racing with pure insanity regarding the actions I was performing but with the idea that I never wanted to be taken for granted again, never being gullible or believing in the idea that humans are inherently good. I could no longer help her or myself, but hopefully someone else could; which is why I didn't hesitate when I pulled up to the house...and dropped the whole box of Melissa's crap right on her friends porch.


 

...Happy New Year.


 

“The law of Dante’s Hell is the law of symbolic retribution. As they sinned so are they punished. They took no sides, therefore they are given no place. As they pursued the ever-shifting illusion of their own advantage, changing their courses with every changing wind, so they pursue eternally an elusive, ever-shifting banner. As their sin was a darkness, so they move in darkness. As their own guilty conscience pursued them, so they are pursued by swarms of wasps and hornets. And as their actions were a moral filth, so they run eternally through the filth of worms and maggots which they themselves feed.”


 

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno

Building a Better Man: Week 5

After 5 weeks of training the body, now is a perfect time to take a look back for a moment and remember how I started. I adjusted to the early wake up time, I adjusted to the food intake, I doubled my reps at the gym, I pushed through some very late nights of making sure everything was prepped and ready for tomorrow. Now after losing almost 15 pounds, gaining a six-pack and stupidly throwing a 100 pound dumbbell across the gym, it’s time to learn control. This is where people get overconfident and either get hurt or sidelined by other events. It’s important to know that not everyone is training for an event and even though they may not understand or agree with your course of action, you’re in no position to judge them or give them advice unless they specifically ask for it. You can only control yourself through this process and if you look like and act like a winner, you eventually will end up in a better place only because of your actions and not your words. Words have no meaning if you take too long to act upon them. People ask me why I shave my body or why I don’t drink or many other things and these are people whom I’ve never met nor have approached. I simply tell them I am competing in an event and trying to better myself. This response inspires them and gives me another reason on top of the many I’ve compiled over 5 weeks to persevere and achieve greatness every week going forward and know that through this whole process, If for no other reason, I will have finally achieved a positive attitude, a strong presence, a charismatic personality, and a body to be proud of. It’s not easy to break years of bad habits, but it’s not impossible. Achieve greatness and everything else will follow suit…never lose sight or hope.