Saturday, April 30, 2011

What Makes The Cut...

I just did 15 push-ups. I do push-ups everyday; at least 10. I'm not a big health nut or anything, I'm smoking a cigarette as I write this. I regularly indulge in all sorts of things which have a questionable impact on my health. So what's the point? Why bother? Why perform this quotidian ritual?
Here's my angle: it's all about the drop.
When I was an adolescent I remember seeing Young Guns and thinking it was just about the best shit I ever saw. There's a scene in there that always stayed with me. It's when Billy (Emelio Estevez) says he filed the sighting bead down on his pistol. He figured it gave him an 1/8th of a second advantage clearing the holster. In his mind that could mean the difference between life and death.
So back to the push-ups. I figure 10 is more than the average mook does in a year, and if I do at least 10 every day, well, that gives me an edge. Sometimes I do 15 or 20, depending on how easy they come out of me. But I don't drive myself into a lather over it. I go easy. Every day. It's a way of being relentless. It's simple. It allows no room for excuses. I always have my arms, I always have a floor and I can count. It's not fancy. I don't get seen by everyone at the Y. I have nothing to brag about. But I'm happy with that. People get so caught up with owning the shiniest, most ornately appointed sword, they forget what makes the cut; it's the edge.
Now I know one can't separate the edge from the blade that backs it up. We could nitpick needlessly around that point for hours; let's leave that business for the philosophers who don't do any push-ups. Rest assured, gentle readers, The House of Madness® keeps his blade well oiled.
So what does one do with this edge? That's up to you; do whatever makes you happy. I once slew a fairy with my edge. Yup, that's right. And not just any fairy, I killed none other the Tooth Fairy herself.
When I was at the age of loose teeth and Hot Wheels, I was sitting in front of the TV one afternoon playing with a loose tooth when it shockingly popped out of its moorings. I stared at it while I looked forward to telling my parents and receiving my quarter and all that. But something always bothered me about this whole scheme. How did the Tooth Fairy always wind up with Canadian quarters? Did she give them to kids all over the world? What was so special about Canada that the Tooth Fairy would make her deal with our country? And why would they give her all those quarters? Was this a public service she performed, lest the nation be littered with the cast off teeth of children? The only thing that added up was the quarters.
So this time I decided to draw out my edge. I didn't tell my parents. I just quietly wrapped up my tooth in Kleenex and stuck it under my pillow and never said another word. I could barely contain myslef for the rest of the day. Every time I thought about that and looked at my parents I felt giddy. I was about to discover something.
Sleep didn't come until very late, what with the anticipation of perhaps even catching this Enchanted Entity in the act. But eventually fatigue won out and morning came and I looked at my pillow for a very long time. This was a real Schrodinger's Cat moment for me, though I was far too young to think such thoughts at the time. After I lifted the pillow, my Universe was going to change forever. You have no idea how fervently I desired to find a quarter sitting there, but you know I didn't. My edge cut something away that day and how I was affected by that would be the subject of another blog post.
Still though, I had triumphed. I had a prize alright. And I was determined to show it off. I was owed a few explanations and just wait until my younger siblings heard this news! I was about to shake the world with my revelation!
So with my tooth in hand, still wrapped up in Kleenex I marched out to the kitchen and deposited it on the breakfast table. I don't remember my exact words, but they were along the lines of, “explain this”. My folks didn't know whether to shit or wind their wristwatches and I'm sure they were thinking, “You little fucker!” Thinking of a way to salvage this situation and maintain the ruse for my brother & sister who were no doubt wondering about this themselves, my parents struggled to maintain their composure.
“Where's my quarter?”, I asked. My mother looked at my father who quickly moved down the hall while I was “distracted” and “didn't notice”.
“Maybe it got rolled up in your sheets while you were sleeping. Go check your blankets.”, she said.
“Ok,” I said, “but why did she leave my tooth behind?”
“She must have dropped it,” came limping the lame reply.
A likely story. But I was on the hook now and so I went down to my room to check, passing my father in the hall, who was pretending to come out of the bathroom. I was feeling a little defeated. It didn't last long though, because when I checked my blankets I found, not the mere 25¢ I was expecting, but a crisp $1 bill! Remember those, back before the looney? So I had won a victory after all. And I learned a thing or two about the way the world works. I basically shook down my folks so they could keep their story going. I don't know how many more teeth I lost, not to mention my siblings who also benefited from my actions. Everybody kept quite about the whole thing after that. You see, my parents had their edge too. Nobody wanted to lose their raise. That hush money went pretty far at George's store.
So how did we get from push-ups, to cowboys, to the slaughter of fairies and delusions? Well, I'm not really talking about any of those things, now, am I? I'm talking about the edge and what it can do for you. And what it can do to you.
While everybody else is busy polishing their pommels, you remember what makes the cut. Fairies don't.


  1. Waiting to hear more from THe House of Madness...patiently waiting. Bribe that Muse!


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