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Monday, October 14, 2013

Filial respect

Yesterday I raced my son for 200 meters. He beat me, 27.6 to 27.7. Immediately after the race I bent over, my hands on my knees, gasping for breath. He walked up behind me, and, in front of his uncle and sister, put his hands on my hips and made a pumping motion, to symbolically express what he felt he had done to me in the race.

When I told him that I hadn't had time to get in shape for the race, and that with another couple weeks' training I could have gone a second faster, he just shrugged and said, "Dad, if you had gone a 26.7 I would have just gone a 26.6."

This morning I finished the NY Times crossword in under five minutes, a good time for me for the Monday puzzle. Afterwards I jokingly exulted to my son, "I'm a freaking genius!"

His immediate response: "Dad, just 'cause you run like Stephen Hawking, that doesn't make you a genius."


Anonymous said...

What a disrespectful son. I cannot imagine doing that to my father, nor he, his. What is the world coming to, when sons are publicly pantomiming sodomy on their own fathers, without the simple goddamn courtesy of a reacharound?
Hell in a handbasket.

John Craig said...

Ha! Very good.

Anonymous said...

How does one contact you without leaving a comment?

John Craig said...

Anon --

I'll take both your comment and this comment down after I hear from you, let me know you're the one who asked that question.

Bizarro John Craig no. 1 said...

Bizarro John Craig no. 1

Son and Me tease each other too.

Me call him such insults as handsome and athletic though in Bizarro military, boys laze around, do nothing and over eat.

Then will top such complimentary insults along same lines.

Some Bizarros get shocked that us talk that way to each other but us think it so funny we cry in our milk.

Dear John,

Anonymous said...

John, Don't you have a handicap like in golf? Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
If you're referring to the handicap of old age, I definitely have it.

Steven said...

Shit, 1 second difference over 200m was a good effort considering the age difference!

That wasn't a bad time either.

Steven said...

oh no .1. I'd say advantage dad. This strongly implies you'd beat him at his age.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Thank you. And please, make that one tenth of a second, not one second!

When I was 39, I went a 24.1, but that was after something like 30 workouts (it involved a bet with another Wall Street guy). This was the first time I'd run in six years, and I'd only had 12 workouts, the first few of which were just gentle jogging. I want to try it again next year, and start earlier in the year.

Are you a track guy?

John Craig said...

Steven --
We wrote at the same time. Yes, thanks.

I looked up the rankings, and last year a 25.5 ranked fourth in the world for 60-64-year-olds. Now that I'm 60, it gives me incentive to get in shape.

Did you run yourself?

Steven said...

I did a little bit when I was a kid, not much. I had a cousin who represented Great Britain in decathlon at about under 17. My dad used to take me to the track where he trained. I used to see the high jumper Steve Smith around- he was a bit of a big deal back then. He had recently equalled the junior world record in high jump at 2m 37 and he went on to win bronze at the Atlanta Olympics a year or two later. I used to wait until he was finished practicing then use the high jump thing afterwards. There were never many people around. Kind of cool, now I think of it.

We'd also go on the track and time ourselves. I was only a little kid...we did a bit of athletics at school too for physical education.

Where I'm from-Liverpool- the main sport is soccer. This city is football mad. So I grew up playing soccer and I was pretty good at it. I also did about 6 months of boxing when I was 15 (just training and sparring) and I've played some tennis. Football (soccer) and boxing are the sports I follow.

My cousin (he's about 6 foot 5) probably had a shot at representing Britain as an adult but his teenage years were spartan and he started partying when he got old enough. I think he had offers to come back but never did.

wow essay...

John Craig said...

Steven --
Athletics (track and field over here) are a lot bigger in Europe than they are here. Here American football, baseball, and basketball dominate.

Your Dad must have been pretty good too if he was still training when you were young. And it sounds as if your cousin was quite a talent; a lot of athletes are lost to "partying." (I sometimes wish I could tell these kids, you know, you can chase girls without drinking and staying up late every night.) Being 6' 5" is a huge advantage in a lot of sports; it's a shame to see that wasted.

If you boxed for six months, I'm sure you can handle yourself. (Remind me not to get in a fight with you.) You quit at the right time, though; that's a sport which seems to inevitably result in brain damage if pursued too long.

Steven said...

At that time, I dreamt of being a boxer. Some of the trainers gave me the impression I could be good and I felt that I could be. My granddad was a good boxer- his record was like 15 and 1 (disqualification) in the army.

David Price used to train in my gymn- he went on to become British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion and still hopes to challenge for a world title one day, though it got derailed recently. He was another Olympic bronze medalist. ha.

I've been watching kick boxer/thai boxer vs boxer fights on youtube. It seems that boxers just get their legs kicked to hell, lose balance, get knocked over, get injured and basically have no answer for it and can't get close to the kickboxer at all. I might go back and do something like that again- I kind of fancy muay thai, or at least learning to kick, but the brain thing is a concern.

My dad wasn't training much at that time but he was a talented soccer player as a kid and in his 20s he lifted weights and was unbeaten at arm wrestling... in the factory he worked plus random people in pubs. I've honestly never seen anybody punching as hard as my dad irl. I doubt that I can punch as hard as him still (which is a little shameful- he's 54 and I'm 29- but he still has bigger biceps than me plus bigger hands).

John Craig said...

Steven --
I'd stay away from Muay Thai if I were you. You're a smart guy, for the rest of your life you're going to be using your brains a lot more than your fighting ability; it's just not worth the risk. If you want to expand your martial arts repertoire learn Brazilian ju jitsu, it's far more effective anyway. My father was a third degree black belt in judo, which he got in japan, meaning, it was legitimate. (He later got a fourth degree but it was purely honorary.) He always told me it was far more effective than karate, but I didn't listen and got my black belt in karate. By the time I got it, i realized he was right; after fooling around with some wrestlers, all of whom could reduce me to helplessness in short order, I realized I might as well have gotten my black belt from the Arthur Murray School of Dance. You'll be much better off with the grappling abilities, and they won't result in potential brain damage the same way.

Your father sounds like a real stud. Big biceps and an unbeaten record at arm wrestling are pretty much the hallmarks of testosterone to spare. Especially for a guy whose primary sport was soccer (most soccer players seem to be pretty skinny up top). Take Brazilian ju jitsu though and you'll at least be able to beat him in a fight.

Coincidentally, my father beat me in judo (I had only dabbled in the sport) when he was 59 and I was 32.

Steven said...

Thanks, that's probably good advice. The thing that surprises me is that boxers don't get more brain damaged or killed more often! I don't think I'll do it but it would be nice to learn to kick and maybe do a bit of light sparring.

I'm sure Karate can make you effective against an untrained opponent (most people), especially if you spar. I don't think any martial art will make you a good fighter if you don't spar.

I have thought about judo. For some reason I like the idea of it more than BJJ, though I think BJJ is probably the best grappling school there is.

People do say though not to go to floor in bar fight in case the guys friend kicks you in the head, though of course its incredibly effective in a one on one.

My dad wouldn't strike you as being really big these days but I'm sure he's still quite strong. He kind of grew up fighting and even got into fights in his 20's, often while playing in a football match actually! He was streetwise and could be aggressive when he wanted to be. I'm not like that. I haven't had a fight since I was a teenager.

My dad's dad was even worse- he was getting into fights in his 50's and 60's. He was a character! Jimmy the Jazz. He was in the British army in India during the partition, just a bit young for the second world war. It seems each generation of our family is getting a bit more peaceful.

Steven said...

btw everyone plays soccer here, big and small. Its almost like the religion where I'm from. Religion/politics and sport rolled into one. If all these men weren't so focused on it, they'd probably pay more attention to actual politics, so the sport does possibly have a passifying the masses type of effect.

John Craig said...

Steven --
You're exactly right, you have to stay in shape of karate. If you lose your muscle tone and flexibility it's not good. I think judo is different though; you have to practice it at first, but once you know how to get an armlock or leg lock, you know it; it's not something you have to stay in shape for.

The best advice I can give you, though, really, is, don't get in a fight. The best scenario is that you win, but even then, you can lose a tooth, or worse, an eye. And if you win effectively enough, you can be facing either a lawsuit or even a prison term. The alternative is that you lose, not a desirable outcome either. So….just don't.

You come from a feisty family. You're expressing that feistiness through an interest in martial arts, which is fine, but you also lean towards doing it intellectually, which is better.

Soccer isn't bad as far as religions go, it's less harmful than most and also offers a semi-constructive outlet for excess energy and aggression. If there were more sports in places like Syria and Afghanistan and Rwanda, there'd be less war.

Steven said...

Some martial arts don't involve sparring as you are learning. That's what I meant.

I don't think you're very likely to lose an eye in a fight, are you? Though people can use weapons.

I don't plan to get into fights and will only if I'm forced to. Its nice to feel you can if you have to so I wouldn't mind another run at a martial art. Plus I just kind of like that sort of thing a bit.

Have you ever had your testosterone level tested? Its one of those things like ancestry that'd be kind of interesting to know.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Aha; yes, judo just requires learning, than it's like riding a bicycle, to some extent.

True, you're unlikely to lose an eye, or even a tooth. But why take the risk of even a black eye or split lip? Not worth it. And yes, it's good stuff to know just in case.

No, have never had my testosterone checked. It's occurred to me to do so, and I have had complete physicals every third year or so for the past decade, but I don't know if they check amy testosterone levels and I didn't remember to ask at the time. Maybe next time. I am curious to see what my son's is though, I suspect it's extremely high. He has all the signs: very hairy, smelly, horny, and strong. (My guess is that I'm about average.)

Have you had yours checked? My guess is, given your interests, that you're above average, and I'd also guess your father is even higher, on an age-adjusted basis.

Steven said...

Your son does come across as having a kind of macho attitude from your stories.

I haven't had mine tested. I think you are probably right. I wouldn't be surprised if mine is above average (especially when I've been working out) but I doubt its really high.

I think bone density is a proxy for testosterone and my scales measures it (though I'm skeptical about how they can do it accurately!). I think I was either at the high end of average or the low end of high. My dad's was lower but slightly higher for his age. He's bigger boned too.

Interestingly, he is hairless on his body and can't even grow a lot of facial hair- just a goatee and adolescent side burns- whereas I am hairy. I think it shows genes can make you hairless even with high t. NE Asian men are about as hairless as my dad, even some of the high t ones presumably.

I would say he is the somewhat more masculine one, though he's not like he used to be, he's gone milder. He's less likely to chase kids down the street for being cheeky haha I've known him to do that. I want him to stay strong and nimble so I'd like him to exercise a bit more but he's quite a busy man.

John Craig said...

Steven --
It is weird how testosterone expresses itself in different ways. Mike Tyson looks (and used to act) like a chunk of pure testosterone, but he has a Michael Jackson voice and is relatively hairless. Your father sounds like a Caucasian version of Tyson (don't know about his voice).

Mine can't be that high, since I'm half-Japanese, and Asians usually have lower levels. But I'm higher than I would be otherwise because I'm sort of a fitness nut (at 60, I can still do 20 pull-ups). I have a deep voice, but I'm relatively fine-boned. And I don't put on fat (which is actually more a function of how much estrogen you have in your body), but I'm not a natural mesomorph, either (I'm somewhere between ectomorph and mesomorph). Even my face is a weird mix: I have the strong brow ridge, wide cheekbones, and hollows beneath the cheekbones that are supposed to indicate a lot of androgen; but I also have a weak chin and jawline that don't.

Anyway, it would be interesting to find out. I'll see if I can next time I have a physical, I suggest you do too.

Steven said...

My dad is about the same height as Tyson but he isn't as beefy. I don't think he had that much muscle mass, though he had enough to be very strong. When he had low body fat he was probably about 175 or 180 pounds, middleweight to light heavyweight type of region , not a 200 plus heavyweight. My grandad was only a welterweight. I'm 180 now but I could diet down to 154, if not less and I'm six foot.

You can be Japanese and have high t. I don't think the average difference is that big and I've even seen a study that showed no difference in older men, though it's more complicated than just how much free t you have. Apart from other hormones that are involved, there is also the issue of how much your body can use to act on tissue and that is mediated by something else I believe. I think in the study the Asians had just as much or more free t but for some reason less ability to utilise it. I'll dig it up.

Chinese men you see often look round faced and not so manly but I've also seen lots of Chinese farmers and labourers who had what could almost be described as hyper masculine faces. Even though they tend to be more lightly boned, though not always.

20 pull ups, again impressive, for any age. You must have a good physique. I'm just getting into push ups, pull ups and jogging. Aiming for 100 push ups in one go.

Steven said...

Oh and my dad's voice is quite deep. He is a singer actually. He isn't like Tyson. That voice is indeed unusual.

John Craig said...

Steven --
Your father is definitely a high testosterone guy. Between the strength, the deep voice, and the aggression (which is also correlated with high t) there's no question about him.

I'm not sure where I stand. You seem to know more about this than I do, but you've definitely got my curiosity up; I'm definitely going to ask for a reading next time I have a physical. I sound more aggressive eon this blog than I am in person. I haven't been in a fight since I was in 10th grade, and would never get in one unless it was purely defensive at this point. I'm also not attracted to high t activities like shooting, sky-diving, driving fast, playing loud music, etc. I'm more of a crossword (one of my favorite activities) type of guy.

There are a lot of Asian men who look pretty wimpy. But they also tend to be fit, and most have strong legs for some reason.

I hadn't been planning on getting a physical this year, but maybe I'll move it up. Keep me posted if you get a reading too.

Steven said...

My dad doesn't have a really deep voice. Quite normal really. He's a singer actually. Based on his strength and aggressiveness when younger and other personality traits, I'd definitely say high t though. He grew up in an environment where there was some violence and aggression though so that made him the way he was too.

I told him about this convo the other day. I told him your comment about having testosterone to spare. He looked pleased but said I probably exaggerated. Then later he told me he beat a few guys in Vegas at armwrestling and got told he could make money from it. Not sure how good he would have been against top professionals but I think he beat a professional once, the only one he ever armwrestled. But in truth probably most guys he went against simply hadn't lifted any weights like him. I keep talking about him but I'm proud of him, which this conversation made me realise. So you at least increased somebody's filial respect!

I keep thinking about your 20 pull ups too. That's really impressive! You must be really strong. Did you ever lift weights?

Here is a guy in pretty good shape at 60:

You know John Robbins, the vegan author who wrote healthy at 100 (I really like that book- not sure what you'd think of it though)? you've got to respect the integrity of a guy who refused to inherit any of his billionaire father's ice cream empire (baskin-robbins) and huge wealth. Whatever you think of it, he did put his principles before money. Anyway, that guy is in pretty good shape for 60. He said he could bench press his own weight 18 times and I think lift 200lb or so above his head when he weighs about 175. Not bad for a guy who has been a vegan for most of his adult life.

I can't see myself getting a t test any time soon. My guess is that it fluctuates quite a lot.

Lastly, I notice you have some adverts. Can you make any worthwhile amount of money from that?

Steven said...

oh yeah, I have an uncle on my mum's side who was probably very high t, even higher than my dad, and he loves crosswords...I think that is more a function of intelligence.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I had a feeling you might pass this discussion along to your father, I'm glad you did. No reason not to flatter him, and it definitely sounds as if he is high T. Your uncle may be, too, though as you say the crosswords don't prove it. (I competed in the American Crossword Tournament for two years and trust me, that doesn't look like a high T crowd.)

Thanks re: the 20 pull-ups. Not sure how much longer I can keep that up. Most workouts I only get 17 or 18, but I had a contest about two months ago and managed 21. The thing about pull-ups, form varies widely. A lot of guys (I'd say the majority) don't go down all the way until their arms are straight, which makes their number less than legit. I have to admit, I use a little body English on the way up though. I competed in a contest once and had two of them disallowed:

Took a look; yes, that guy is in good shape. Most vegans don't look like that, in fact most that I've known personally have been wan and wispy-looking.

I keep getting an email from Google saying I have to range my personal settings if I want to get money from the ads on this blog, but I haven't bothered figuring out how to do it yet. It's on my list of things to do, but I'm sure it won't be anything significant.

Steven said...

If you upped your training, could you not increase your pull ups at this point in your life, if you wanted to?

At least black vegans can't be accused of being wan :-D.

I've seen a couple of studies that measured BMI of different dietary groups and vegans were the only one in America that wasn't overweight on average. On average. BMI is admittedly a poor measure that might count muscular people as overweight but the vegans weren't close to underweight on that measure though.

I'm not a vegan or anything btw.

Take a look at the pictures of this guy. He might just be a freak but he has a back like a prize bull.

John Craig said...

Steven --
No, I'm pretty much maxed out on pull-ups. I do two all out sets every week, if I tried to do more at this point it would just backfire. When I was 23 I did 31 one time, and have pretty much plateaued at 20 or so since I was in my late thirties.

Yes, that guy is incredible, but I wouldn't entirely discount the possibility of some steroid use there. It's not something you associate with vegans, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Steven said...

He swears against it but I guess that's nothing new.

John Craig said...

Steven --
He doesn't have an obviously 'roiled body, but it's not obviously clean, either. He has visible (but not bulging) veins on the front of his deltoids, and has convex (but not quite humped) trapezius muscles. Those both tend to be tells. So….jury's out.