Tag Archives: writing

Dan Brown Is Your Problem Now

Hello, blogosphere. Can you guys do me a favor?

I’ve been asked by the collective Art History community to deliver a message to the English Departments of the world, and I was going to encode it and hide it throughout all the great works of literature in history, just because that seems like a natural way to efficiently tell the world stuff. Secret codes hidden in books. There’s no better ad space on Earth – humanity is crazy about them!

Cosmic ChickenAnyway, the Art History community appeared before me in a dream as a giant, anthropomorphic Spirit Chicken, and it looked like it had been drinking. It was ranting about students showing up in Art History class insisting that everything in The Da Vinci Code is Art History. Or worse, showing up and looking at The Last Supper and pretending to spot the bullshit from The Da Vinci Code themselves!

“Wait a second – that’s a girl!” One of them will announce – cracking the Code with a single glance. See, Tom wouldn’t last long as an Art History teacher, and not just because he doesn’t know shit about it.

But the Cosmic Art History Spirit Chicken does, and here’s how much of a load of crap The Da Vinci Code is. Do you know what Leonardo’s last name was? Well, no, it wasn’t Da Vinci. He’s Leonardo From Vinci, or Leonado of Vinci. They didn’t have surnames back then. So even if it was his Code, that would make it the Leonardo Code. Not the From Vinci Code.

And if an error of such basic information is right there in the title, then what can we surmise about how much this person knows about the topic?

Now Dan Brown has a book out called Inferno and it’s about Dante’s Inferno. I assume there is some kind of Code in it, since they call in world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon to figure it out, with the help of – and I’m just guessing here – a brilliant and beautiful Literary Scholar Chickaroo.

Apparently, according to the Cosmic Art History Chicken, this is a burr up the ass of every Art History scholar in the world, right up there with people who watch the History channel, and then think they just studied history, and also right up there with people who think you can really be a world-renowned symbologist, or even a symbologist. That’s about like saying you’re a cryptozoologist.

I mean – of course you can be whatever you want to be, Billy! You just gotta believe! Except no, they’re not really scholars, just chicks-n-dudes with hilarious business cards.

NelsonSo like I’m saying, they wanted me to send a message to the entire Literary community – I mean, hell, is that what they’re even called? Is the C.A.H.C talking to every single English teacher, Literature Professor, and Librarian in the world?

Better err on the side of safety I guess. Just go ahead and tell everyone you know who teaches literature in any way, that Dan Brown Is Your Problem Now, and that Tom Chalfant Says The Cosmic Art History Chicken thinks it’s funny.


There. Now, Go, Cosmic Art History Chicken – and trouble my people no more.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Writing/blogging


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Daily Prompt: The Very, Very Long Awkward Phase

Going with the old WordPress Daily Prompt here, which is:

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

Photographers, show us GIFT.

And this one’s easy, because I really did get a gift today that was bittersweet and made me nostalgic. Want to see it?

South of the Border 

Yes. I received this gift on Facebook today, although it was really a gift from the guy on the far left to the guy in the white shirt. We were all 17 in the photo except one of us, which makes this photo twenty-five years old. As you probably guessed, I am the one wearing the stolen hat.

Here’s what happened. For some reason, despite being all children, all of our parents allowed us to take a five-day trip down to Myrtle Beach. I forget which one of us was 18, but that was the reason we were able to rent a motel room. Please bear in mind that six years before, my mom wouldn’t let my sister go to Grad Night at Kings Island overnight. At the time this photo was taken, me and basically the same crew had already been on a weekend trip to New York City, where we ran afoul of stolen merchandise vendors, and were nearly arrested in Chinatown.

Napoleon Dynamite and PedroYes, a bit of a parental double standard, but that’s cause I was a big strong guy, right? Who’s going to mess around with a man with his middle school pants still strapped on over tiny, chicken legs, wearing a baggy sweater in May? You should have seen my arms – like bones with panty hose on them.

Who cares. We drove down, checked in, and there was actually a fifth guy with us at first named Jeremy, who went sort of crazy after drinking a ton of alcohol, and brought a strange, self-proclaimed beach bum back to our room. He was an African-American male with long, tightly braided hair who was in his thirties, told us his name was St. George, and who – although ostensibly there because he had promised for no reason to buy Jeremy more alcohol – kept telling us that he could really use some marijuana.

None of us had any marijuana. It’s unlikely any of us had cigarettes. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing down there, but we had just been talking about the urban legend regarding cops, and how they had to say “yes” if you asked if that’s what they were.

Now, I’m not saying that’s a true urban legend, but I am saying that when I asked St. George finally, after he hung around our room for twenty minutes, if he was a cop, he said, “Yeah. I’m a cop. Psshhh.”

Rolling his eyes. Too early, culturally, for him to make a “W” with his hands, but I’m sure he would have.

That’s odd, I thought. A couple of us froze, exchanging looks. I said, “No seriously, say ‘no’ if you’re not a cop. I’m asking you if you’re a cop.”

Undercover Brother SolidSame answer. “Yeah – I’m a cop. Pshhh.”

And Monte and I freaked.

“Hold on,” Monte repeated. “St. George, we’re asking if you are a law enforcement officer. If you are, would you please identify yourself?”

“Pssshhh. Yeah – I’m a cop.”

Like a recording. Holy. Donkey shit.

So we all leapt to our feet and told him, sir, we do not want you in our motel room anymore. Please leave. We have no marijuana, nor any interest in any alcoholic beverages. We are but pilgrims traveling to learn the complex ways of this world, etc. etc. etc.

And St. George left, with Jeremy trailing him and telling him, come on, man, those guys are dicks. You’re not a cop, you’re my new beach bum pal. Let’s go to the liquor store, forget those guys. But alas, St. George was offended, and left.

Well, not completely. A half hour later, we spied him behind the front desk of the motel, making a phone call. That’s what you had to do in 1989, actually find a phone, and do you suppose the motel made a habit of letting beach bums use the phone whenever they wanted?

It didn’t take Jeremy long to find a couple of dudes who were willing to take him to the liquor store and buy him some much-needed liquor in exchange for paying for an extra bottle for them. Awesome – so off they went, and when they came out of the liquor store, there were cops waiting for them, nice and conveniently. Off to jail for Jeremy!

Now, it may alarm you to learn that we did basically nothing to bail him out. I’m not saying we were intoxicated teenage children who had no interest in going near a jail, but let’s just say it didn’t seem like a good idea to go poking around the police station, and let’s just say it seemed to us Jeremy had basically called a cab and asked to be taken there.

Dazed and ConfusedSo – off to the beach. We screwed around for four more hours, and then all crashed back at the room.

Jeremy arrived not long after, very upset. For a moment, I thought he was going to kick my skinny ass, but Mike explained to him that he would be doing no such thing – thanks, Mike! And then we all slept, and Jeremy slipped out in the wee hours of the morning, leaving a note explaining that he was pissed at us (!), that he owed some guys money (!!), and that they would probably be around looking for it and to “deal with them(!!!)”

Actually, it turns out, Mike has been walking around with the Actual Note From This Story in his wallet this whole time. I know, because he scanned it and sent it to me:

Awesome Curse of Future Tom Letter

So, we all sprang into action. The universe began playing hilarious banjo music while we threw all of our crap into the only car we had left, trashed the room like rock stars for no reason other than being idiots (and now that I think about it, that might have been Jeremy’s credit card), and then we screeched out of the parking lot without so much as checking out.

We got lost on the way home – again, we were jackasses, and there were no magic map phones, there were just maps and eyeballs and signs – and at some point we ended up at a tourist trap called South of the Border, which is where the picture up there was taken. Who took the picture? So far, none of us has any idea.

So today’s Mike’s birthday – he’s the actual first kid I met in Kindergarten, and we lived together in college, and the last time I saw him was a couple years ago, when his wife was frowning at me for stomping around their house in bare, filthy, Huckleberry Finn feet – and because I’m so sentimental, I put up a hilarious photo on his timeline from Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Monte followed suit with this one, and so there I was, looking at my own unbelievably awkward, jackass self from the past.

Wasn’t easy walking around high school looking like some kind of Third World freedom fighter, but it could have been worse and as you can probably guess, I’m like, Super Cool now. Note the blogging and the Star Trek knowledge and the long, bald guy hair – Cool City. Ah yes, we all go through an awkward phase, just for some of us, it lasts decades.

Stand By MeVery Stand By Me. Very nostalgic and bittersweet. Normally what I’d say, if I were in a country song or if I were an introspective writer returning to Castle Rock, is something like, “Man, what I wouldn’t give to go back and do that again.”

No thank you, though. It was fun fellas, but let’s go do something in our forties, with our brains working, and preferably, without our old pal Jeremy. Or I guess if he’s also in his forties and not a jackass anymore, Jeremy can come too.


Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Knuckleheads, Writing/blogging


Tags: , , , , , ,

Your Own Personal Trekkie

I mean, I guess that’s what I am. I know a lot of Star Trek stuff off the top of my head, and I do have a Starfleet shirt. I once bartended an entre shift on Halloween dressed like this:

Vulcan Bartender 2So yes, I’m a Trekkie so you don’t have to be, because these days, you could be a perfectly normal person who loves the Star Trek movies for non-dorky reasons. You might just like action movies starring hot people, for example.

I love the new Star Trek movies for both kinds of reasons. Sometimes you hear Trekkies bitching because these last two movies deviate in tone and depth and philosophical ambition from the rest of the franchise, but the way I see it, there’s plenty of old Star Trek out there. Just put a bucket outside before you go to sleep tonight, and by the time you wake up, it will be full of old Star Trek. There’s plenty of that.

But this time around, there’s a lot more for us dorks sprinkled in with all the awesomeness, so just in case you have an actual social life and haven’t seen every episode ever made several times apiece, let me take you on a little tour of the Trekkie stuff from Star Trek Into Darkness.

Khan, for example. Khan Noonien Singh. You might notice that his name sounds a lot like Noonian Soong, the guy who created Data from The Next Generation. It turns out that both characters were named after the same pal of series creator Gene Roddenberry, but then on the most recent series, Star Trek: Enterprise, Noonian Soong’s grandfather Arik showed up (played by Brent Spiner, who also played Data and Noonian Soong) and turned out to be messing around with Augments like Khan.

KHANSo maybe Arik Soong interacted with a later-awakened Khan Noonien Singh, and then told his son about him, and then that guy named one of his kids Noonian. Even the spelling in the credits changes on some of the episodes, sometimes it’s spelled like Khan’s name.

See, in the original Star Trek, Kirk and his crew come across the USS Botany Bay with frozen Augmented Khan and his frozen, Augmented pals in it. This was after the Eugenics Wars, which took place in the 1990s, when superhumans like Khan occupied and ruled one quarter of the world. After that, I think we kicked their asses, but killed a lot of people – that’s why in Star Trek: First Contact, civilization had backslid a little.

So in the movie, it’s Admiral Alexander Marcus (played by Robocop!) who finds the USS Botany Bay, long before Kirk did in the original series. That’s because in the two most recent movies, we’re in an alternate universe created by a time travel paradox, in which the planet Vulcan was destroyed. As Starfleet moved more toward a military mindset similar to America post-9/11, they must have altered their missions to more aggressively chart the area, and so that’s why they found Khan sooner.

Also, when Noonian Soong was screwing around, experimenting with Augments he unleashed some kind of virus on the Klingons,altering their physical appearance, which is why Klingons from the old show appear to be smooth-skinned, while the rest of them – even those in Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the original series – have ridges on their faces and generally more complicated makeup. Yes, they bothered to explain that for us.

Doctor MarcusThe hot, blonde scientist chickaroo? That’s not just the Admiral’s daughter, that’s Dr. Marcus from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She’s the one who has a kid with him and then doesn’t tell him for twenty-odd years. Then she calls him up because mind-controlled Chekhov shows up ordering her to hand over the Genesis device.

Also, did you notice that tribble was pregnant? Do you know how I can tell?

Because all tribbles are pregnant. They’re born pregnant. Dr. McCoy explained that to us way back in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Member? That’s why they were all over the place.

Whale ProbeAlso, there’s a giant, hollow tree-type of probe on the way to Earth still. It’s the one from Star Trek IV, which showed up because it turned out that humpback whales had been communicating with it for centuries, and then they went extinct so it showed up and went all apeshit on Starfleet, like “Where are the whales, guys? Where are the cockadoody whales?!” Except blowing stuff up, too.

So someone’s going to need to go back in time and get some humpback whales. Doesn’t have to be our guys, but since Old Parallel Universe Spock is here, he might want to give someone the old Heads Up-A-Roo. Just two whales are apparently fine. All you gotta do is use the Sun’s gravitational pull as a slingshot, scootch back to the eighties, right before the Eugenics War, which apparently took its toll on the whale population for some reason.

Khan2As for all this talk about who the real bad guy is – the real bad guy is Khan. If you thought Khan wasn’t pure evil at any point, it was because he’s so fucking smart he can reach right out of the fictional world into this one and control your brain. Sure, the Admiral was a jerk and a bad guy. Getting temporarily enslaved by Admiral Marcus doesn’t make Khan a nice guy. Also, he’s Young Khan. Give him about twenty or thirty years. Maroon him on a barely habitable planet for a few years. See what happens.

Also, a Pro Tip for anyone out there with a beautiful and brilliant daughter – she is NOT going to choose your evil plans over the hot, dangerous guy you hate, just because you raised her. Especially if you told her you hate him and he’s off limits. That’s not how it works.

Okay, cool. This Trekkie lesson is over. Go on upstairs and see if your mom will make you a quesadilla.

Just be all like, “MOM! MOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!”




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Robert Heinlein’s The Number Of The Beast

The Number of the BeastToday I’m sitting around in Cleveland for work-related reasons, drove up here this morning, went through some loan documents with someone, and then I had three hours to kill until doing it again. A hard life,I know, so let’s sit around and read this paperback book I borrowered from someone, called The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein.

I’m only about 85 pages into it, but it is the strangest novel I’ve read in a while. It was written in 1980 and it shows – none of the characters can stop talking about sex, and everybody appears to be open to swinging, and even though it’s set in the future where cars fly, there’s not much of an Internet, most things need plugged in, and women are sexually liberated, but mostly aspire to be dutiful wives.

It’s strange – the writing is very convoluted. Long, long paragraphs – sort of typical of paperback science fiction. Sex, sex and long paragraphs. Wonky dialogue and really long technical descriptions of time machines, and even though this one predates Back to the Future by five years, the protagonists build a time machine and mount it in their car so they can travel time and space in it.

They haven’t done that yet though. Traveled through time. They’re just standing around naked, being eighties-style creepy, talking about tax evasion, group sex, and time travel. Okeedokee then.

Here’s the situation. It starts out at a university where a square-jawed American named Zebadiah has just met Deetee, who is the self-described beautiful daughter of a mad scientist. Zeb and Deetee dance a bit, and then decide they should get married. So they go back to her Dad’s house, and he really is a mad scientist, having some history with Zeb, whom he’s invited into town to see his time machine.

Her Dad’s name is Jake and he is married not to Deetee’s mom, but instead to her friend Hilda. Deetee’s mom is dead, and so Hilda stepped up and married him, and everybody’s cool with that. All over the book, they casually banter about trampled sexual taboos. The daughter casually mentions that she’s never had sex with her father but would have been happy to, for instance – gross, Eighties People. Gross.

They all agree that it’s a great idea for Deetee and Zeb to get married, so they go on outside and someone blows up one of their cars, and they all get into Zeb’s car, which flies and which talks and which he calls the Gay Deceiver. I’m not making any of this up, that’s what happens when you have been knocking out classic science fiction books for decades, nobody edits you, not one word.

LibyansWho blew up the car? Well, the Black Hats, we learn. They are aliens who don’t want Jake to invent the time machine. My guess is, they’re aliens or people from Earth’s past who our perverted protagonists are going to screw with later, which will cause them to want to come either forward or back in time to prevent them from building the machine they use to get within screwing-with-them distance.

Black Hats = Libyans, for those of you wanting to speak in Back to the Future terms. Gay Deceiver equals the Delorean, and the Professor equals Jake (who is of course also a professor). Okay, got it?

Cool, so they all pile into the Gay Deceiver, go and get married, and then they head to Jake’s desert hideout which not even the government knows about, and confirm via the Gay Deceiver’s wonky Radio Internet Thing, that everybody thinks they died in the explosion even though there are (presumably) no body parts.

Then they spend the rest of the eighty pages I’ve read having sexual intercourse, discussing sexual intercourse, turning out to be pregnant and drinking wine to celebrate, and mounting the time machine on the dashboard of the Gay Deceiver. They go into incredible detail explaining that there’s no way anyone can find them out there, and then explaining how their time machine works.

Hot Tub Time MachineI don’t know about you, but I prefer not to hear too much about how time machines work. I’m a Flux Capacitor kind of guy. How does it work? It works great, let’s go.

Anyway, they tell me all about it in long, long paragraphs, and I’m just trying to get to the part where they travel through time in it. The reason you’re reading about it is, I’m planning to read the next eighty pages now, but I’m cursed to blog daily about something. Anything. So here you go – a blog post about a creepy time traveling swinger book from the eighties, which is oddly, pretty good and I want to finish now.

I’ll keep you posted.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Synopsis Synopsis

barton finkOne thing I have to finish in order to query agents (which yes, I am late doing, thanks) is write a short synopsis of my novel Coming After God.

It turns out, my book about a grief-stricken physicist who murders God is pretty difficult to summarize. A lot of stuff happens. So I’ve been sitting here for nearly three hours writing it, and it’s not ready yet.

Since the purpose of this blog is to get published, that’s going to count as an excuse not to write much else today. In theory I could write about the synopsis, but I can’t to show it to you, because you’re supposed to include spoilers in those things. I’d be telling you exactly how it ends, which apparently, agents want you to go ahead and do that.

I can, however, tell you what happened the last time I sent out agent queries, for another novel, Pleasant Moon.

The way it works is, you locate five agents who work with your genre. That was easy, Pleasant Moon is a crime novel – lots of agents like those.

So I found five and what I was told was, that normally you’ll get a form letter rejection. Thanks for the query, screw you and your dumb book, g’bye – that sort of thing. They even make you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope so they don’t have to waste postage.

Which is fine, I don’t blame them. The idea is, anything other than the form letter rejection is a good sign. Like sometimes they’ll handwrite a little note on the form letter which sound like polite girls rejecting your request for a date. “I love how it opens but I’m avoiding all first person manuscripts right now.” Etc.

AgentsAgain – cool. Nobody’s bagging on agents, they’re busy and nice and Tom doesn’t want any trouble with them.

But if one of them writes something like that, then cling to it like Gollum’s Ring, because it’s precious.

Most precious of all, of course, would be if they ask for the full manuscript. They read the five or ten or thirty pages you sent them, depending on what they requested, and then they ask for the rest. That’s the goal. And although sending out five at a time is pretty normal, if you query fifty agents and none of them have ever asked for the full manuscript, then that means your book’s probably not getting published.

So like I said, I sent out five, and I got one handwritten note – she loved “how snappy this is but I have a problem with casual violence.” Rough, because I think the protagonists kill about eleven cops and five civilians – it’s Crime Noire, dig?

And then two of the five asked to see the full manuscript! Pretty cool, right?

No, because I hadn’t been truthful about how long the book was. At 566 pages, it was too long for a first novel, they both told me, and they were both a little annoyed that I had tried to be slick about its length. I extra super promise not to do that again.

Anyway, then I never queried anyone else again. Instead, I just started writing something else, which is WAY more fun than marketing something you’ve already completed, but you don’t get published by writing novel after novel and then hiding them from any possibility of rejection. Hi, I’m forty years old.

Cool, now we’re trying again, with Coming After God, a newer, shorter, more blasphemous sci-fi novel. I’ll keep you posted.


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Writing/blogging


Tags: , , , ,

The Introspective Double Standard Double Standard Post

MobRemember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut, and we all marched up to his eerie, mountaintop castle with pitchforks and torches for a while? Good times, I know. I have a little scrap-book.

The defense that conservatives unified behind – and which in a way, lost the election for them – was to declare that The Liberals Have A Double Standard. After all, Bill Maher calls women “sluts” sometimes, and you aren’t yelling at him.

It may have lost the election for them because it avoided the topic. They suddenly wanted to talk about Bill Maher instead of addressing the fact that it wasn’t just Rush who was the problem. There was an element of the whole party being perceived as out of touch or indifferent to women at best, hostile at worst.

Here’s how they always sounded – “Yes, Rush shouldn’t have said that. But Bill Maher says that, and you aren’t mad at him. The Liberals Have A Double Standard.”

Then shockingly, they would add “I still don’t see why I should have to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control.”

I mean, forget that if that’s the definition of paying for something, then you very clearly want Sandra Fluke to pay for your babies, or rather for your lack of birth control. Forget that saying such a thing suggests that you have no understanding at all of how insurance works.

ZappIt’s a little sandwich of disrespect, starting with a very token acknowledgment that Rush Is Bad, a change of subject suggesting it’s bad but everybody does it so no big deal, then a REPEATED VERSION OF RUSH’S SHITTY LOGIC!

I don’t think the ladies liked that very much.

However, the real reason Republicans unified around the defense was that it was accurate. Liberals very definitely have a double standard. If you are standing around espousing liberal views, supporting a liberal cause, and then occasionally you’re a sexist prick, we’re going to yell at you.

But not nearly like we would if you are normally standing around espousing sexist views, supporting a sexist cause, and then you say something not only sexist, but demonstrably false and damaging to women.

Of course, not all liberals are the same. Certain factions of liberals hate Bill Maher 24/7. Certain factions get mad really easily, certain factions don’t give a shit. I’m sure conservatives are the same way.

ChappelleAnd to be fair, the reason no one was going after Bill Maher in the way they went after Rush Limbaugh was that folks already went after him in that manner, after 9/11. He lost his show because people didn’t like something he said, they raised a stink, threatened boycotts and his advertisers freaked. He had to go to a subscription service, where people pay for content that’s for the most part unaffected by sponsors.

But it’s true, liberals have a double standard. So do conservatives. It’s pretty inevitable. Sarah Silverman can crack jokes about Jewish people. Mel Gibson ought to steer clear. It’s a double standard, but we’re going to go ahead, I think, as a society, and keep it.

I suppose we could sit here for a few hours, make a list of relevant distinctions between Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh, between Sarah Silverman and Mel Gibson, show that they aren’t truly analogous. But political discussions don’t move like that. No one has the patience for a microscope. It’s better to just concede the double standard.

And right about now, it would be nice if conservatives would also concede the double standard.

warAdmit, for instance, that there were identical questions surrounding 9/11 to those surrounding Benghazi. If you think that we should have been as mad at Maher as we were at Limbaugh, then I think you should be 750 times as mad about 9/11 as you are about Benghazi, but quite the opposite, conservatives were appalled that anyone would question the Commander In Chief on the heels of such heinous terrorist attacks. It emboldens the enemy, we were told.

Suddenly the President runs the IRS. Suddenly it’s his responsibility, because he’s the boss. But when it’s Abu Graib, shit – that wasn’t Bush’s fault. He can’t be everywhere. And he can spend money we don’t have, while Obama gets his travel expenses audited. Hundreds of billions of dollars we don’t have on a WMD-less War? Coolsville. Hundreds of billions of dollars trying to fix the economy Bush crashed into the ground? You can’t spend money we don’t have, Obama!

Constant, pervasive double standards.

Which is cool, we all have them. What they really are is irrelevant. Either you’ve got a valid argument or you don’t. Doesn’t matter rhetorically whether or not you used it last year.

What the double standard brings into question is your motives. Why are you outraged now but you weren’t then? The most likely possibility is, you aren’t outraged. You are just affecting your outrage for other purposes. Or, you’ve purchased the outrage from your television, believing it to be real.

A time for us all to look inward, I suppose.


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Tommy C Workout

WorkoutThe first thing we need to do is put on our running shorts, that way there’s no question that we’re going to work out. I wear the stretchy kind, but they have a sort of outer, non-stretchy layer so you don’t look so silly and leggy, and I like to put my socks on from last night, since they’re going to be filthy pretty soon anyway.

But the last thing we want to do is go off all half-cocked, run straight out the door like a Nike commercial. As a general rule, if you are working out for an hour, it should take you about three.

Like we have to have coffee, and coffee makes you pee and dehydrates you so first we drink a quart of water, then three cups of coffee while we Facebook in our running shorts. What we’re doing here is limbering up – go ahead and wiggle your toes a little, that counts as stretching.

After about three cups of coffee, it’s starting to feel like time to get out the door. Here’s a Pro Tip – make sure you check very thoroughly as to whether or not you have to go Number Two. If you have to go Number Two while you are running, you’re either going to stop running, or you’re going to go Number Two. I guess the good news is, wherever you are, you’re very likely to run home at that point so if you’re just starting out..

No, that’s gross. Now let’s eat an egg. No bread, no toast, no taters – just an egg. You can go ahead and cook it, we’re not Rocky Balboa. Sometimes if it’s the middle of the day by the time I get around to it, I eat a couple handfuls of peanuts instead. Something about the protein, I don’t know, that’s what works. Maybe a banana. No whiskey, even if it’s after noon.

Cool, now we stretch a little bit, then it’s out the door. Just push that procrastinating voice off to the side, tell it, Screw You, Voice, We’re Going Running Right Now And –

Oh my God – look at this bunny!

Bunny on Walk

I think it’s some kind of cute little Mama Bunny! It’s got a little mouthful of grass, so it must be building a nest someplace! Look how close the cute little bunny is letting me get to it!

All right, I agree, let’s head back in and get some carrots and chop them up for the bunny, and we’d better name the bunny. How about Abraham? Sure, that sounds good. Here are some carrots, Abraham. Sorry about your Dude’s Name, if you’re really a mama.

And no, that’s not my Creeper Van there, good question. Now, let’s get in the car and drive to the park.

The whole way, we’ll grumble about running, because we hate to run. You know what the problem is? It’s all the women on Facebook freaking out about the way women are oversexualized and how unrealistic the body types are in ads, and then ten minutes later they post a picture of shirtless Johnny Depp or a hunky fireman or something, with the caption “YUM YUM.”

You know, little boys feel insecure about their body types just like little girls and forty year-old bloggers. Just sayin’.

Anywho, the trick is to grab two handfuls of your beer belly and remind yourself that you aren’t supposed to be able to do that. Don’t crash your car though, wait until you are at the park to remind yourself about your belly.

Cool, now we have to be very strategic about where we park the car, because I don’t like to run past the car at all once I’ve started. It doesn’t matter if I’ve gone three miles or three hundred feet, if I run past my car at any point, a voice in my head will say, “Hey, look, it’s the car! Let’s get back in that car, Tom. We can drive away and eat cake somewhere and apologize to our belly for trying to kill it.”

A lot of doctors will tell you to ignore voices in your head, especially if they are talking to you directly. Psshhhhh. Doctors.

So we run over a little bridge to another track, run around that one a few times, and never go back over the bridge until it’s really time to get in the car. At some point, we’ll encounter what’s known as The Wall.

The Wall is like a barricade in your mind which tells your body that you can’t run anymore. Most athletes will tell you that the key to distance running is to train yourself to Run Through The Wall.

Kool AidBut that’s dumb. Don’t run through The Wall. You’re not the Kool Aid Man. When you hit The Wall, you stop. That voice in your head is your brain, and it’s a lot smarter than your legs. It knows what it’s talking about.

Now, go home and do push ups for exactly one episode of John Stewart. Look in the mirror and suck your gut up into your chest cavity. Give yourself a thumbs up and a big smile.

Cool. Now just do that every other day, unless it rains or it’s too hot, too cold, you’re too busy, you don’t feel like it, or Greeno’s in town. You’ll be in Tommy C Shape in no time!



Tags: , , , , , , , ,