Posted On October 15, 2015 By In Miscellaneous, Ramblings

Born on the 5th of July: Part 31


Serial 000000042

Record 31: Monterey, Sunday, July 5th, 2015. Day.

Old John does his crossfit exercises on the wharf’s edge. He does them at sunup, not only for
the sake of adding a, yes, hint of drama to the retelling of his daily crossfit undertaking, but, he
will tell you, because he is infatuated with the sun, and its location relative to him mid-burpee.
When asked why the sun is so arresting to him, he will tell you to think of a world with no natural
light. A world artificially lit in gray-blue drab fluorescence, under which all of our friends and
frenemies shine pale and sickly and look wilting despite the like bunch of times they tell you that
“Yeah, last weekend was dope,” and you know for a fact that they’re lying. Old John, he’ll tell
you to think of being outside with no plants. “Try breathing,” he might say. Or he’ll tell you to, go
ahead and try to get a tan. Soak in some Vitamin D. “Just you try it.” He’ll challenge you. “Just
you try and get a proper tan without a sun in the sky.” He’ll say, of course forgetting that there
are numerous spray tan sites cluttered haphazardly in the dead-fish-smelling nooks and pockets
of this city where he lives and where he does crossfit and where there is a sun and yes spray
tans still exist because, Old John will tell you, they are pretend, and everyone is pretend now.

On weekday mornings at approximately 5:50-ish a.m. Old John (having researched the precise
time the sun will rise on his iPhone and iPad the night prior) rises from his queen-sized aero
mattress that, blown to hard-surfaced capacity (the way Old John likes it), is quarantined in his
eldest and only sister’s living room, replete with 75-inch, 3D capable HD curved flatscreen
television, an IKEA HEMNES coffee table with no decor aside from his eldest/only sister’s
Macbook Air, an Urban Outfitters record player, and a fireplace. If you ask Old John the question
“Why?” in reference to his current, on-the-brink-of squalid living accommodation, he will tell you
that, yes, sometimes career ventures have a way of denying your request of compliance, no
matter how dogged your will, and that, also, the reason for his undying commitment to two-a-
day crossfit sessions does have something to do with the endorphin rush associated with
exercising – a rush that, he admits, is necessary to allay the total ton of emotional trauma
affiliated with the realization that you are not good enough, and never will be. He’ll tell you, Old
John will, that crossfit, and like his (Old John’s) obsession with it, is why he still carries air about
in his lungs. It’s why he rides his sister’s bicycle in the rain. It’s why he rouses conversation in
elevators. It’s why, yes, he will have another cold beer with his pretty good pals at the bar. Why
he eats only real organic foodstuffs. Why he does his sister’s dishes. Why he has hobbies that
excite him. Why he hugs things that aren’t living breathing things. Why he no longer questions
the why of things and instead is lost up in his head cavity analyzing pull ups and air squats.

It’s 6:04 a.m. (most days, and completely approximately) when Old John is out on the wharf in
his Under Armor and jogging in place, his eyes cast out over the water, his gaze like a laser and
penetrating through blanched, low hung clouds toward a dot of denticulate grey that crags and
smolders in an oyster-tinged, pre-sunrise sky. The mountain, Old John likes to think, is worthy of
his early morning admiration, and, yes, it merits his laser gaze worship, it (the mountain) being a
godlike idol which he, Old John, reveres for its splendor and as a very tangible representation of
like tough times and overcoming adversity. Old John will bow at the distant mountain crag, a
wholly physical expression of his devotion, and will, upon fixing his torso again upright, tilts his
head back and just stares and stares until you know well here comes the sun. Old John’s heart
goes a-leap and the rapture he feels inside his chest center is warm and spreading lickety-split
to his appendages. His jogging, it picks up momentum, to the point where he might just very
well be running, and without the slightest hesitation or what they call ‘a second thought’ Old
John’s arms go from pump pump pumping to a kind of elevated, curved geography, to and fro,
up and down, as his legs go from bent/spread to straight/straight — jumping jacks, to the
layman, or, yes, anyone unfamiliar with crossfit. He does these (jumping jacks) with the acutely
controlled energy of a marathon runner, for precisely 15 seconds, a stopwatch open on his
iPhone, timing him, and which rests on the wharf’s splayed wood. Old John then elegantly
transitions into his high knee raises going in his head: left, right, left, right, until the iPhone
stopwatch reads 00:30.00, at which point he totally zens out and begins yoga but like you know
without wearing yoga pants since yoga pants aren’t for gentlemen (and yes Old John is a
fucking righteous gentleman), though, he will tell you, Old John will, that an adequate number of
his crossfit compatriots, the man ones, are more than fond of rubbery synthetic matter. He’s met
these fond-of-stretchy-cropped-and/or-fitted-yoga-pants-that-ahem-can-also-be-used-for-like-
martial-arts men in cities in the United States, you know such as Seattle, Santa Fe, and Tulsa,
among others, where he lived way back when he was ’employed’ and was sent out to cities to
do work for his ’employer.’ In each of these cities, Old John took it upon himself to take like
copious amounts of iPhone pictures and subsequently upload the pictures to his Instagram
where OldJohnCrossFitGuy (Old John) has upward of, not to brag, 3,000 followers and a
fucking shit ton of LIKES. He only actually, really knows 14 of these followers by their real actual

Old John inhales profoundly, his eyes closed in what outwardly looks like meditative rumination,
but is really just the face he thinks he’s supposed to make when he breathes in deeply. The sun,
now, is set against the grey sky (that is blue-ing), and is almost just smack above Old John’s
head, where he likes it most. He’ll tell you, Old John will, that when the sun’s igneous beams
pulverize the apex of his (now-balding-but-don’t-fucking-talk-about-it) head, God or the-
something-like-God is shining his/her/its spotlight on him, and, jobs be darned, he’s the star of
this sunny earth show and you can watch him do some exercises on the wharf and not have to
pay $13.50 or anything because his show is free and Old John is not pretend thank you very
much. It’s like, Old John will tell you, his consistently sunburned head is raging and captivated
with passion and purpose and a total chain-breaking transcendental fucking reason for being.
And it is with this sense of hot purpose that Old John does more push-ups, more burpees, more
lunges. And it is during these sweat-deluged junctures that Old John’s muscles gain mass, and
dispel any and (you know hopefully) all fat that has, in the past, squashed Old John down to the
ground, the proverbial ‘weight of the world’ just too goddamn considerable and unrelenting and
burdensome that his limbs would tremble and he would gush sweat in his bed at night, his mind
fractured and fizzing at the edges, teeming with ruptured and once coherent thoughts,
fragments of plans and hopes, all aboard a Titanic ship, sinking for a cold-water floor. And now,
as in, today, even, Old John will tell you, these stresses, these sweat-nights, they come back,
but only when Old John neglects his rigorous crossfit regimen. It’s when the urge to ‘take-a-day-
off’ so overwhelms him that he indulges in gluten foods, hormone meats, and other non-protein-
shake meals that his seemingly undying exercise ambition deflates, and he eats and eats and
sweats like a bitch in his sleep, except that he can’t sleep, his eyelids stay just slightly ajar, and
he stares at his sister’s fireplace in a sleep-deprived, obfuscated widescreen, reproaching
himself internally and wishing he could bash his head into the fucking wall if it wouldn’t wake his
sister. “Stop smashing up my wall!” Old John’s sister would shout, and Old John would
apologize and shower the blood from his head.

Old John, now, has his arms at wingspan, his head centered, and is lifting his knees high in a
move he has termed, fittingly, ‘knee-highs.’ He withholds every urge to glance at his iPhone. To
see the time ticking away. The final seconds of his arduous workout dissipating, slowly, because
like the final seconds are always the slowest and all inches of Old John’s body are stretched
and searing. Old John closes his eyes in a wince-way – a way that suggests an inner dialogue
that might go something like: “We’re almost there, goddammit.” And he lifts each knee higher
and with some extra OOMPH, crushing his quadriceps into his abdomen in a TAKE THAT
technique that sends Old John chest out and proud when the stopwatch finally goes a-buzz and
he wants to collapse to the wharf ground and thank all heavens that he’s survived another
laborious crossfit workout morning, but instead he locks his fingers behind his head, and
breathes in and out. These breaths are slow and measured, each one massaging Old John’s
chest insides in a way that makes him think of hugs and fireplace warmth. He opens his eyes,
Old John does, and, like a cliche, wipes the “sweat” from his “brow” and again gazes toward the
mountain that he respects so. The sun has burned through the clouds, and is now a halo over
the crag, burnishing the jags and rivets that make it identifiably the mountain that Old John
admires in the morning sunlight. Old John admires the mountain-crag so much that he even
bows (as he’s doing now) in its direction. A low bow, at that. Old John’s nose nearly grazes the
fragmented wharf wood. With his back straight and upright again, he says, audibly: “Thank you
for this morning.” He says this both to the mountain, and to the sun.

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Will is the Co-Founder and CEO of Taken Films. He holds an MFA in Film Production from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He wrote a book that you haven't read. It's called 'My Blood Feet.'