Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Doctor's Orders?


"Take two of these and call me in the morning."

As you can probably tell, having hit the big 7-0, I have a fixation with primarily two things: my physical condition and how my age group is being utilized in the business world. You can peruse the obituaries and see how many of  my contemporaries  are being felled by a multitude of illnesses. If "Life is not a dress rehearsal" ever rang true, it's now.

I'm seeing a whole bunch of seventy-somethings just starting out on the most difficult career paths of their lives. Especially in the political world. I don't mind dying but I don't want it to be by my own hand. I'll be sick enough without regrets, thank you.

So last night, I went to the gym to do some aerobics because of weather. I usually like to ride my bike outside or enjoy a brisk walk with my dogs. I've never ridden a stationary bike over there yet so I thought I would give it a try.

They have TVs all over the place but I would rather watch people and their exercise routines. The folks I see usually fall into two groups: The self motivated, semi-narcissistic group (me) and the "doctor's order's" group.

The self motivated group I call peacocks. If ever you wanted to see someone enjoying the benefits, it's them.

The "doctor's orders" body language is unmistakable. They were sent, not driven. They have that lost look as they move from machine to machine and never look in the mirror. They'll either have a trainer or a piece of paper that dictates the order and repetitions of each exercise. The look of resignation is all over them. Been there, done that.

The "doctor's orders" group has yet to receive that bio feedback that keeps most of us coming back for more. That's too bad, because they have yet to know the patience and confidence that comes with a positive lifestyle change. I've had to do it many times in my own life and know about the struggle first hand.

Like the brain, the human body is set up to work and whatever doesn't get used will atrophy. I'm not going to wait for my wake up call or some out of shape physician to send me packing to some gym, I'm going to take my iron pills today  so I can deal with tomorrow, tomorrow. I will go out swinging.


Getting Paid For What You Know


Old bull, young bull, standing on a hill. The young bull spies a herd of cows in the valley. The young bull says to the old bull, "Let's run down the hill and jump one of those cows." The old bull says, "Lets walk down the hill and jump all of them."

Anyone seen Trent Lott lately? You might imagine him sitting on his porch whittling and spinning yarns about his glory days as Senate Majority Leader. And you would be wrong. He, like a lot of so-called retired bureaucrats are selling from their Rolodex at breakneck speed. It ain't what you do, it's what you know. That's how sausage gets made in the nation's capital.

Let's say you spent 40 years learning and working your trade. What's it worth today? Have you ever looked into it? You might be surprised. I've been in and  around the arts most of my life. Music, video, stand up, any place there's a chance to make a fool of myself, I'm there.

I've shot thousands of hours of corporate video. I've coached and coaxed the best of them. I've had writers who thought they were on the lot at Twentieth Century Fox. In short, I have been rode hard and put up wet.

The chances of me getting behind a camera today are slim and none. That's not where my worth is. I need to be between the talent, the camera and the guy with the money. :). I bring the magic, so to speak. The big picture guy. If I'm concentrating on video acquisition and a good audio signal, then I'm missing the finer points of the presentation. You need to bring everything together. Maestro!

I said all that, to say this. At a certain point your value to a client shouldn't rest on function but on experience and knowledge. Consultant is an over used term for magic maker. If you're still at your game, now is the time to start thinking about how you can monetize your craft without getting your hands dirty in the future. We're all living longer and we will still need to keep our fingers in the pie.

Don't run down the hill, walk.

Hustle Up! Muscle Up!



I have an appointment next week with a couple of women at my gym. They want me to train them, of all things. I have a couple of decades on both of them and of course, I'm honored. I would love to do it and as the old saying goes, no one learns more than the teacher. I've never been asked to do something like this before so a little planning and organization is called for.

They are at the phase of life where they've put their own lives on hold while they devote themselves to their family. Now it's their turn.

They noticed my progress over the last few months and thought they would ask me to work with them.

Wouldn't it be cool to do something like this for a living? There I go again.

So as I think about this, I have to give serious thought about how I, personally, approach exercise, diet and attitude. I have always thought of it in holistic terms. Everyone thinks that you're supposed to carve out a certain amount of "my time" during the day. That's the first mistake. It ain't gonna happen because life happens.

Exercise has a cumulative effect so it can be sprinkled through out the day. Seasoning, if you will. That means stairs,. no elevators, brisk walking, biking, rollerblading and any type of movement that will not jar the skeleton. Joints, tendons etc. I know, because anytime my friends would smell Ben-Gay, they would think of me.

I call my lifestyle, Hustle Up! Muscle Up! It means to walk, jog, bike or blade anywhere you go. Get resistance training in wherever you can. Muscle burns more calories at rest, even sleep, than anything.

So I'm thinking this will be a new adventure no matter how long it lasts. If I can impart some of the gift I have received over the years, I will feel I'm doing something good for someone else. Can't beat that.

Exercise has pulled me out of more than one nose dive and I expect it to be there for me when I hit my next crisis. With my personality, I won't be waiting long.

Move it! Move it! Move it!


Statin Island


The fact that I even have to write this, pisses me off more than words. Ten years ago my doctor wrote me a prescription for a statin drug. Yes, the same one who wrote me for Xanax, Soma and Ambien. In the months and years that followed, I was plagued with muscle pain, headaches and dizziness. I couldn't even pick up my computer bag. It put an end to almost all my physical activities. I never put the two together.

When I saw my doc about it, she farmed me out to a neurologist who prescribed Relpax for me with the bromide, "You are getting older, you know." Soon, the Relpax began causing rebound headaches and I was on a slow journey to my wit's end. I'm afraid to think what I would have taken to end my pain.

Meanwhile, all I'm getting is a quizzical look from my doc. I started looking my symptoms up on line and getting statin side effects. Back to querying my doc. She said, " I don't think that's what you're having, those side effects are not very common." Now, I'm despondent. I'm gonna be some cranky old fat guy who is always in a bad mood because he has a headache.

Three neurologists later, I call the doctor's office and instead of the doc I get her head nurse. I tell her I'm at the airport in Miami and my head is coming off my shoulders. I'm looking for some pain meds as my personality usually dictates.

She says, " Well, you're on a statin and that is the most common side effect." YGBSM! I tell her I'm coming over there when I get back and they better get their story straight. I'm really worried because from what I've read, some of this muscle damage is irreversible.

So I see the doc and now she is singing a different tune. I stopped the statin at the Miami airport. What is going on here? Madness.

One good day:

By now, you're probably thinking I would have doctor-shopped myself out of this particular dilemma but it was not to be. She had already started me on an anti-anxiety med, muscle relaxers and a sleep med. The hook was set. I wasn't going anywhere. At that point all I'm looking for is one good day. That was my mantra when I opened my eyes in the morning and my last prayer for the next day every night.

This would start the soul selling situation that would plague me for years.

The other guy:

Needless to say, none of my behavioral changes sat well with my wife. I never noticed that I was in a fog and she wasn't. Ambien is a class of drug called a hypnotic. One of the side effects is that while you may appear awake, you are actually dreaming and you might incorporate what you're dreaming about into your normal conversation. Which, as you can imagine, spooked the Bejeesus out of my wife.

The next morning when I would ask her about something, she would say, "The other guy did it." The other guy referring to whoever it was in the living room with her. "OK, I get it," I would say, but there was no way it was going stop me from getting some relief whether I was in pain or not. By that time I didn't need it. But too late.

I'm usually a pretty suspicious person and I've seen docs do some pretty sketchy things when I was a rep, but denial gets stronger as willpower grows weaker. I had been pain seasoned and I was not going back. That took up a lot of years. Unbeknownst to me, my wife would set up an appointment with my doc just to yell at her. "Have you ever looked at his chart?" If I had known what she was doing, I most likely would have tried to stop her. Junkie problems.

I have since left my primary care doc and now get all my medical care from the VA. With their help I was weaned off of all the things that were stifling me. I still look back on those days with suspicion and question that doctor's intent. Hippocrates as marketer? We're lucky we have on-line resources these days if for nothing better that to ask intelligent questions. And we should. "Be careful" is a doctor's C.Y.A. Don't fall for it.


Of Bikes and Beans


"Arizona Slim" Circa 1996 and on my way back.

Tell you what, I will check out like everyone on this planet but I'm not planning on being at the business end of a ventilator, if I can help it. Both of my parents had prolonged illnesses and it ain't pretty. But even when you hang on ( and who would want to? ) think of the stress your family will be put through.

When you're a patient and your very sick, you have the personal toll it creates and the added financial worry of the care you will be forced to receive.

Some illnesses are beyond our control but that doesn't mean we can dodge the responsibility of keeping ourselves together for the long run. Most likely, nobody will be reading a book at my bedside when I get the call.

All the more reason to put in the sweat equity now. Barring any unforeseen turns of events: Be all you can be. That's my operating line and I'm sticking to it. As Taj Mahal would say, "I ain't good lookin' baby, but I'm someone's sweetest child."

So I learned this little trick when I was a rep in the southwest. I did my best work at the dinner table and as some of you know, medical people have the absolute worst eating, drinking and smoking habits. Throw in a pinch between the cheek and gum and you have a recipe for: Unhealthy Living 101. Medical advice is for you, never for them.

I was at my weakest point when I would go out with clients when I was hungry. Like food shopping on an empty stomach, not a good idea.

Some of these Tex-Mex grills should have had a skull and crossbones as part of full disclosure. Back then, a lot of these techs smoked while they ate. Staying healthy while eating in restaurants is an art form.

Now, being in the southwest, there are beans of every kind everywhere. All restaurants have them. So, to keep myself from overindulging on something greasy or sweet, I always ordered a cup or bowl of beans as an appetizer. Black beans, kidney beans, whatever. The beans would fill me up without the caloric penalty and I would never feel like I was missing out.

The next morning, I would bring my bike out or rent one at the hotel I was staying at. After a while, I had to have my suit pants taken in. Go figure. Here I was in restaurants on the average of twice a day, not including hotel breakfasts, which can be deceiving, and losing weight. Anyone who's been in sales know how hard it is to keep a girlish figure under a regimen like that.

Beans can be eaten right out of the can, too. When they re-located me I was making thirty grand a year, so beans were more than just a weight stabilizer, if you catch my drift.

Beans, the gift that keeps on giving. They say you'll never get a communicable disease eating them because no one will ever get close to you. :)

Seriously, if you do have a problem like gas, there's always Beano. And don't forget the free bubble bath. Beans create a paste-like lining in your stomach that gives you the feeling of fullness without the calorie hit. Plus: they are good for you.

Bikes: As we get older, our joints need a little extra love and care. Biking is the perfect way to burn calories and see the world. I've been doing it for years and still have my own knee caps to prove it. Running will not return your investment as you age. The jarring can be cumulative. No plastic, please.

Fast walking is better and easier on you overall. But a bike allows you to get some distance in and enjoy the scenery. I used to put on a knapsack and go food shopping. Any excuse to get out in the fresh air.

And don't let winter hamper your efforts. As long as there's no snow on the ground, dress like a snow skier. Weather sure doesn't stop those folks. Don't let winter flab grab ya. Oh, an added benefit, you will sleep like a baby. (Yawn)

I recently shed more than 30lbs on this regimen. I'm gonna call it " Goin' for Gaunt."

Beans and a bike. What's not to like?