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Sunday, March 8, 2015

It's all relative

Every Sunday in the swimming pool area of the local Y, an ex-Marine trains a bunch of young, recently enlisted men who are about to go to some form of selection camp.

I've chatted with him a few times. Whenever I meet military people these days, I manage to drop the fact that my son served in Afghanistan, which gives me a sort of instant credibility with them -- even though I never dreamed of enlisting myself.

The Marine, now 51, once set the world record for most pull-ups in a 24 hour period, with 2101. I asked him what was the most pull-ups he had ever done at one time, and he said 48. He's about 5' 11," but burly, so I asked how much he weighed when he did it, and he said 224. (He now weighs 236.)  

He mentioned having set a record for two finger pull-ups (I forget the number). I said, you must have really strong hands, and then grabbed his right hand and examined it. Sure enough, it was a big meaty paw. He shrugged and casually said, "Yeah, if I get hold of you, you're not getting away."

He is both friendly and well-mannered. But I can't honestly tell you I feel completely comfortable talking with him. 

At a certain level, I actually prefer the company of gay guys -- who make me feel manly by comparison. 


Anonymous said...

you big showoff john craig you!!!!

you think you have it bad ? I live near a training camp for officers and commandos. they come by from time to time for tea and all, and i see them go by doing ruck marches, while i can barely do 20 pushups.


i suppose i win at being a bigger wimp than you.
Eh- no i am not gay. just saying. no need to think i am. not at all. full on victoria's secret model lover. that adriana lima i tell you... and her hubby!

John Craig said...

Anon --
(How was I showing off?)

O-Kay, you win, you're the bigger wimp…(though I suspect you're joking about that too).

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Off topic but I can't resist such a good sociopath story


John Craig said...

Andrew --
Yes, I saw that story when it came out, and was also struck by her sociopathy. I thought about writing about it, but for some reason never got around to it.

The bet part of course is how she raised money for the cause of suicide prevention after encouraging her own friend to commit suicide.

Anonymous said...

sorry john. bad attempt at humour while beered.

have you seen the joe lonsdale/palantir sexual harassment story? it's classic gold digger, with the mom pulling the strings and teaching her model daughter how to deal with the rich billionaire. its really out of the 19th century.

your practical school of life should include spotting "women of fortune"

John Craig said...

Anon (please give yourself a name, even if it's not a real one) --

No problem. Yes, I've followed the Lonsdale case a little bit, just because Steve Sailer has been writing about it. He refers to the woman as an "adventuress."

You're right, spotting gold diggers is a useful skill to have (though I never had enough money to have to beware of them myself).

In my experience, the obvious ones I've met have all been narcissistic/entitled personalities (see "Housewives of…"), and a large percentage of them, for whatever reason, grew up without fathers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was the best/worst part.

Not really much to write about it's a very cut and dry example. The only thing that intrigues me is how she could of developed into who she is.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
You're right, that's always the most interesting part. The answer is usually simply because they didn't receive any love themselves as children. Sometimes it gets juicier, though, with tales of horrific abuse as children. That was the case with Henry lee Lucas and Edmund Kemper, two serial killers.

Anonymous said...

To me it really could be nurture over nature, especially looking at the outcome of the Romanian orphans.

That is why I believe schizophrenia (and BPD, bipolar) is also nurture over nature. Look at Brian Wilson's Dad, Michael Jackson's Dad, David Helfgott's Dad.

These fathers were monsters and the kids were wrecks.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
I'm not that familiar with Helgott (I just looked him up), but I am with the other two. You're right, Wilson's and Jackson's fathers were monsters. But neither of them has never been publicly diagnosed with schizophrenia. I always suspected Wilson may have had it, though, but it's hard to say, and in his case his deterioration supposedly had a lot to do with drugs, too. And that kind of off-the-charts creative genius often comes with a fragile psyche (his brothers were more normal). With Jackson, his father reportedly fed him female hormones so that his voice wouldn't change as a 12-year-old, in order to extend the Jackson 5 franchise as long as possible. And that obviously had all sorts of effects on jackson's build and budding sexuality as well. And jackson turned out weird, yes, but he wasn't schizophrenic and as far as I know, it wasn't bipolar disorder either.

Also, schizophrenia can be cured, at least temporarily, with drugs, which certainly points to an organic origin for the disease. And bipolar disorder can be offset by drugs. Evidently both sets of drugs come with unwanted side effects, but still, they do work.

Anonymous said...

Wow Michael Jackson's Dad really was messed up.I didn't know about the hormones.

I would describe Michael Jackson and Brian Wilson as broken?

If you watch the movie "Shine" you will see David Helfott becomes schizophrenic/schizo effective. I recommend the movie.


John Craig said...

Andrew --
Yes, "broken" fits. But they were broken in different ways. Wilson had severe stage fright, which Jackson didn't suffer from. And Wilson took psychedelic drugs, whereas Jackson liked to drink and took painkillers. Jackson was a pedophile, whereas Wilson was not.

I remember when "Shine" got all those Oscars, though I never got around to seeing it.

Anonymous said...


interesting line of thought i picked up from the steveosphere - somebody give that guy a pulitzer and david brooks' job.

both nerds and jocks are uber men. nerds in their thinking and jocks in their athletic/physical ability.

mental disorders in executive function show in nerds as nerdism/aspergers/autism

in jocks it shows as schizophrenia/similar mental disorders.

fwiw, sounds like a interesting concept to test. simon baron cohen already has established that austism/aspergers is extreme male brain.

camille paglia also wrote about systematizing male ability being stigmatized as a mental disorder.

John Craig said...

Random --
Agreed about Sailer. He's the best and most honest journalist in the country.

Not sure I agree with that theory though. I've actually known people who affect nerd-ish behavior simply to appear more intelligent than they are. And nerds tend to have relatively narrow areas of expertise, which, I suppose, you could say parallels autism to some extent.

And I've never associated jockishness with schizophrenia. Certainly not in the NFL or NBA, where just plain brutishness is more the norm.

Agree with Paglia (whom I'm also a huge fan of).