You never know in life who you’ll cross paths with. The Universe has a way of surprising us at times, with the most far reaching of possibilities, and making them a reality. When it happens you’re often dumbfounded, contemplating the finite details and cosmic planning that went into creating this introduction, a clear orchestration of some intelligence beyond our own. Such is my story of how I recently met Brett Butler, and the most emotional, enjoyable, funny and validating hour of conversation I’ve had in recent memory. To say this made an enormous impact on me would be an understatement, which can make it difficult to put into words, but I’ll do my best to share my experience of the best psychic reading I’ve ever had.
Humans do really stupid things. It really is a miracle that we’re all still here on this planet, going about our lives, raising families, when we must make at least ten stupid mistakes a day. They can be really obvious at times, like people running red lights, texting while driving and parents not watching kids… all examples of the more traditional stupid choices the fully conscious and aware make on a regular basis. Then there’s the unexpected, but fully preventable accidents which make TV shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos, such a hit. You know, the program that gives us permission to laugh and take pleasure in the pain, suffering and embarrassment of others. While an extremely successful concept for ABC, it does offer the viewer a chance to learn from someone else’s follies. In this same spirit, I thought I’d share a mistake I made, which led to the very bizarre and painful experience of literally tearing my bicep muscle off the bone. It’s really something you don’t want to try at home.
This past week it seemed like Americans took a huge leap backwards in time, and in human progress. We saw scenes unfold on live television that we thought were only reserved for documentaries and high-school history class. We heard angry words from the mouth of our elected leader, the President of The United States of America, refusing to condemn those representing a way of thinking which humanity attempted to extinguish in World War II. So many lives lost on a global scale, so many families broken… all disgraced by someone that has proven to be the antithesis of leadership and what it means to hold the office. Our nation is angry and justifiably so. We are all witnessing the very destruction of American principles and freedoms we have come to cherish as citizens of this country. In the processes, we’re also seeing that hate and vitriol is contagious, and we’re turning on our own friends and neighbors, accusing them of putting this monster in office, all too eager to pick up the first stone and cast it. We’re also forgetting American values, like democracy and the freedom to choose, in an effort to assign blame. Ironically, the words of Hillary Clinton are more relevant now than ever, “We’re stronger together.”
Many of you have never known a world without Facebook. By the time you were old enough to read and use a computer, this revolutionary technology of communication and complex algorithms that identified friend or foe was already around. You’ve never known a world without a friends list, a world without a wall or timeline, a world without this connection that spans continents, age, sex or sexuality. You’ve been born into this arena of mass communication that I never knew. Until now.
I decided to join Facebook only for selfish reasons, I was a frustrated writer and I wanted the world to see what I had to offer, wanted an audience that would appreciate what I had to say. I wasn’t prepared for what I would find. Initially it was much of the same, guys looking to hook up. After all, I was fresh meat as my partner Eric put it, the new kid on the block people had somehow missed while looking for new friends to add to their ever growing list.
But what I found was humanity in it’s best and worst forms. I found people bearing their souls, telling anyone that would listen about the darkest times in their lives. I found people sharing stories of hope and love, and I found the in-between… people neither happy nor sad, just those content with telling others about the remains of their day.
In this first week of Facebook I’ve seen some pretty intense drama but I’ve also seen a global community seeking change. I’ve seen a collective consciousness crying out to the Universe, wanting its voice to be heard, needing empathy and compassion, love and respect. I’ve seen hearts broken and families reunited. I’ve seen way too many puppies and kittens and other furry creatures that still manage to make me laugh. I’ve seen what it is to be human. The good, the bad and the not so certain.
While the technology is old in industry terms, and some would argue its time has come and gone, I think there’s a more important ideal it brings to those seeking truth. It’s our message in the bottle, our representation of what the human race considers dear and precious, no matter how obscure the author is or was.
Perhaps in a millennia or so, the Earth might be a charred cinder, floating in space, the end result of occupants too intelligent for their own good. But in the ash, perhaps a server or two will survive and provide some passerby a glimpse into what it was to be human. That in itself is priceless.
Thank you Facebook.
For those of you that have never heard of chimmichurri, it’s a topping traditionally used for meats in Latin American cuisine. I’m addicted to the stuff. In the past I had tried so many chimmichurri recipes, and none of them gave me the flavor I’ve experienced in really great Churrascarias (all you can eat steak houses) . They all tasted like they were missing something, so I decided to just experiment until I found the right combination that was simple to make, but hit a home run for my taste buds. I made this for a work event once, and my co-workers divided it amongst themselves to take home afterwards. I use it on steak, chicken, mix it in rice and even scrambled eggs. It also makes a great topping for sliced french bread. Yum!! The best part is, you can add additional ingredients like red pepper flakes if you like a kick, but I find the garlic already does that.
It keeps for about a week in fridge. Enjoy!!
The other evening, as I was getting ready for bed, I remembered I had a doctors appointment coming up so I asked Siri, my iPhone assistant, when it was.
“Your next doctor’s appointment is at 10 AM tomorrow.” she said in her Australian female voice that always sounds like she’s grinning.
“Oh shit” I thought to myself, that was close, I almost missed my appointment, thank goodness for Siri! I tucked myself into bed and drifted off to sleep feeling like my world was perfectly organized thanks to my faithful digital companion.
The next morning was one of those you tend to remember for the next couple of weeks. I was rushing to get out the door and the forces of nature were clearly working against me. Everything from my dogs being uncooperative during their walk, to crazy drivers, to a lady literally sitting in her car at the parking garage entrance, waiting for an attendant to push the button for her to get a ticket. Maybe she was a germaphobe but seriously what else could go wrong? It was already 10 AM and I had to find parking in this very strangely laid out garage. I ended up finding a spot almost instantly, but of course the young girl in the car had to check her Facebook before driving away, fully aware of me waiting patiently. I’m sure she was basking in the temporary sense of power the Universe bestowed upon her.
My coming out process as a gay man wasn’t an easy one. I was suicidal, I didn’t want to be gay, I couldn’t imagine myself doing the “honey I’m home” thing with another guy, and there weren’t any positive role models in the media that showed what life as a gay man was really like. My first exposure to gay relationships on the big screen was a movie called Partners with Ryan O’Neal and John Hurt and it terrified me. One gay stereotype after another was exploited for laughs in this comedy of the early 80’s. If this is what it meant to be gay, you could count me out. Eventually, with lots of therapy and support from my family (turns out I was the only one who had a problem with me being gay), I learned to accept myself and went from experiencing constant anxiety and fear, to pride and self confidence. I learned that the many gay stereotypes I feared growing up, were just that. They lacked truth and I could discount them as hate fueled propaganda. That is, all except one, and it continues to bother me to do this day.
I still remember the phone call that every actor wants to get, your agent letting you know your audition was a success and you got the job. It was my first TV commercial and I was beyond excitement. I had to immediately call my acting coach Ms. Panaro, since I had just completed her eight week TV commercial course in Miami Beach. Surely I was the first student in my class to get a job. “I’m happy for you Robért,” she said with her New York accent making it’s presence known, “but you know my religious background so I’m not exactly thrilled about the content.” Yes, the content, how could I forget? Indeed it was sort of shady but holy shit I was going to be on television!
I was all psyched out the other day because I thought I invented a new term. I think my partner Eric’s banking career had something to do with it as I’m constantly hearing expressions and other vocabulary related to finance. I was going about my business when suddenly “transactional friendships” popped into my head along with the meaning. Before running off to tell everyone about my cool new discovery and writing a book about the topic I decided to Google it. Sure enough, the term and the meaning already exist. I was pretty bummed out but I figured I could at least write a blog post about it. A book deal would have to wait.
In the almost 25 years it’s been since I started working out, I’ve seen some pretty bizarre behavior at the gym. There’s all the standard alpha male displays that guys do, evolutionary remnants of the days when we just learned how to walk upright… which you sort of have to look past. It’s going to be another thousand years at least before men get over it, two thousand if you’re Latin (machismo is very big, I know I grew up with it). But there’s other stuff guys do at the gym that’s just plain dumb and annoying. So the following is my list of the top ten stupid things body builders do at the gym.