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Radiator Sit-Ups

1992, New York City, sharing an apartment with two others I paid six hundred dollars a month. My belongings fit in two large hefty trash bags. No computer, no cell phone, no car, no house. A Friday night for me was a pound of hamburg browned in an old black iron flea market skillet, swamped in cheap ragu, dumped on spaghetti. Saturday nights Id make and eat an entire pan of brownies alamode (a pint of Honey Vanilla Hagan Daaz). I hid cash under my mattress and Sundays before bed Id count it and if it came up thick, maybe, just maybe the following Saturday Id walk north from seventy-sixth street eight blocks to the theatre and see a movie. Walking those blocks to spend dang near twenty dollars on a movie, popcorn and soda, was at the time for me a wild extravagance. I looked forward to those weekends; I loved them to death really. 2008, Elmore, living in a house Al Gore would consider a waste of energy if it wasnt many times more green then his. Still, its not small and I live alone. I have few clothes, but two trucks, a motorcycle, a tractor, house hold items, furniture, paintings and what all, accumulate to a load of belongings that no longer fit in two large hefty trash bags. If I dont have to work a show a fun Saturday night is eating out and going to a flick, which costs way more than a months worth of 1992 New York City weekends did. If possible Sundays are spent at the house taking it easy, although being self-employed with a home office, its hard to ever really totally shut off. Still, I look forward to the weekend. One NYC apartment I rented with a friend (he was never there, he used it as a beard so his folks wouldnt realize he lived with his girlfriend), a tiny studio, doubled as a gym. I stuck my feet under the old-fashioned iron radiator to do sit-ups. Id do pull-ups hanging from the wooden sideboard of the loft bed. I satiated my cardio needs by trotting ten times round trip up and down the five-story stair well. I worked my tri-ceps stretching my legs to rest my feet on the heating unit while my arms pumped supported on a chair. One can do push-ups anywhere. Monthly gym fee, $0.00. August 2008 and my home gym of eight years closes so I search to find another. The in community facility close to town is seven hundred and some bucks a year. Up the road a five star spa spiked my interest (endless supply of large fluffy summer cloud white towels, and all the orange slices you can pound), but at fourteen hundred a year, its double the town joint price. I choose the town joint, though Im not sure in the end its the right choice for me financially because I can easily eat several hundred dollars worth of orange slices each month at the five star spa, and, more rich divorced Canadian babes go to the five star spa and I hook-up with one of them, hell, I could turn the fourteen hundred a year membership into a million four in the amount of time it would take one to ask, Could you spot me while I do my oblique extensions? However, scoring the million four would certainly come at a price. Either way my 2008 gym cost far exceeds my New York City $0.00 gym fee. Ten years ago I accidentally stumbled into what has turned into a healthy successful entertainment business. I designed the business to run lean with low overhead, but still I now have a PC and a laptop, two desks, a pencil, pens, markers, staples, a part-time employee, merchandise, a storage unit, and all manner of personal contacts that are vital to continued success. Recently I signed with a marketing group to get me out of the cocoon Ive happily operated in for the past ten years (Vermont). With renewed commitment (and a retainer), its appropriate to throw more fingers into the canals, which begs need for a pumped up Web site, and presence on Facebook and Myspace. You gotta get where the gets are gotten. Oh yeah, I have a cell phone and a home phone, and four televisions, which dont have anything to do with the business other than the better the retainer, Web-site, Facebook, and Myspace work, the more I show up on those televisions, then the more the Web-site and Facebook and Myspace will work, then the more Ill be on those televisions, then the more pens and markers and paper clips Ill need, then the more Ill need the Web-site, Facebook and Myspace to work, and so on. Total cost to maintain? Who knows? It started in 1989 in the little studio apartment on 76th street between West End and Riverside, and now my professional life has blown into a grand delight, far exceeding the loftiest set of sights. In fact, I didnt set sights, the grand delight in actuality came from simply putting one foot in front of the other. Here I am, if not middle age, surely within a sniff of it, having decided to ratchet up my business, even though keeping it at the point it is now would seem a rather smart, restful, safer choice. Safe doesnt get you four TVs in a house Al Gore would scoff at, and it wont afford you membership to a fluffy towel laden spa, and it doesnt buy expensive tasty meals or all the peanut M n Ms you can crunch at the theatre. Safe wont pay stickers on laptops and PCs and cell phones, and safe cant secure retainers. What good is safe then? When you look into your past, do the times seem like they were as important and fun as the times youre presently having? Mine do. I can, but wont, but wish I could play it safe and settle, but I want to keep pushing to see who knows. I think its human nature to strive up and ahead. My dad decided to settle at 88 years. Thats when hed say, I can help you today Russ, but not for as long as I used to. Thats when he acknowledged the need to be satisfied. He lasted six more years. Maybe if we settle, and at some point we may, we begin the long, sometimes slow, oft times fast decline. I dont want to find out if thats true so at 47 years Im ramping up an already over ramped pace. Just the same though wouldnt it be fun to get back to old iron radiator sit-ups, and the days when a weekend movie seemed extravagant?

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