David’s mother died young, then Nietzsche said something stupid


“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

So the fuck what?  It’s total bullshit.

What it doesn’t ask is:

“what’s the point?”


“to what purpose?”

You’re a hockey player.  You know about pain.  Your mother died.  You know about pain.  Steven tells me you consider going into the military.  Among other things you’d learn, one would be more about pain.

Back to the question

“To what purpose?”

Over the years each different flavor of pain has given me a new shiny Snap-On tool to put in my kitbag.   It gets greasy.  I should take better care of my tools.

One afternoon at Summit Point a motorcycle racer I know, Dylan, went out on the track.  Dude, Dylan, is meticulous.  Showroom clean, not a spot of grease anywhere on his Kawasaki Z10.  Dylan races the Isle of Man TT.   He doesn’t fuck around.  I asked his girlfriend

“why’s he so anal about his bike?”

it’s his space shuttle.”

She left out


Dylan knows about pain.  Dylan’s a son of Texas that grew up a little fucked-up.  He’s writing a book to teach others about pain.

There have been a handful of times when I’ve known someone else in pain — physical, emotional, whatever flavor.  Maybe it sounds pussy to you bar-bouncer Jersey men, but I’ve said

“If you’d like to hear it, I have a thought on that.” 

If he says “Yes” then I break out the toolbag.  I pull out a 3/4″ driver and a greasy, dirty socket.  I set it on kitchen table.   Pain handed me that tool.  I put that tool on the table for him to take or not, and I walk away.

I showed my mother Yoga.  I showed my daughter counselors.  I showed my Army buddy Joe how you take 800mg of ibuprofen 4 times a day, how you put the whole goddamnn10# bag of ice on your shoulder and sleep with it.  I showed my soldier how you wrap the boot in hundred-mile-an-hour tape so that ankle doesn’t roll on the battalion’s night run across the mountains.

Sometimes they took the driver.   Usually they didn’t say

“fuck off”

right then and there.   Often I learned later that they never used it.  Ma never went to the Y.  Joe’s shoulder froze up.  My daughter sees a counselor still.   Eric still does Hot Fucking Yoga and his golf game got a lot better.

So, so the fuck what?

Your mother died.  Steven’s mother died.  You both soldier on.  You both have tools to share with each other.  You both have tools to share with other people now.   If you both graduate college and go into the military, you’re strong enough to fireman’s-carry him off the battlefield.

David, I’m not trying to make you feel better.  Not my place.  My skills are limited.  When someone learns that I ride motorcycles they tell me some story about a friend, family or friend of a friend’s friend that got fucked in a wreck.  They just threw it at me without permission.  I didn’t ask for it.  They assumed they could tell me.  I have often felt like saying

“who the fuck asked you?”

You might say the same thing to me, or just about me to Steven or another friend.  Ok, but I put that greasy goddamn driver on the table.  I didn’t betray pain.

I know this sounds like preachy zen bullshit.  I hope it serves some purpose for you, but more for the person to whom you give it to, maybe 30 years from now.