Friday, September 8, 2017

Watts' 13 Precepts for Mega-Happiness

See how happy?

1. Ride a heavy steel bike:

(Just so we all remember that this is still a "cycling blog" (such as it was) )

Preferably something made of 4130 chromoly. Sure... it can be nicer, if that's within your means. Columbus tubing. Tru Temper. Reynolds 853. It can be handmade in the USofA by Waterford. By Weaver. By Moth Attack. By Rick Hunter. By your friend who fancies himself a "builder."
Or it can be made... wherever. Taiwan. By Surly. By All City. By Ritchey.
It can be an old Bridgestone. A Univega. A Torpado.
Whatever it is, just ride it.

Ride it... all the fucking time.

Who gives a shit if some carbon frame is 2 to 3 pounds lighter?  Look at yourself. Seriously... look at yourself. You're concerned about two fucking pounds of frame weight? Are... are you shitting me? 
Look, it doesn't matter. Because regardless of where you go in your life... one day you'll realize... that no bike you ever owned rode as well as that heavy ass steel frame.
You'll realize... that no bike was ever that much fun to ride.
You'll realize... that you were never stronger than when you rode the shit out of that bike.
You'll realize... that you were never happier than when you were lost as fuck on that bike.
You'll realize... that no steel frame ever told you you were "full of shit." Ever bailed on you. Ever told you "there was nothing else to talk about." Ever slept with some 30-banana-a-day gobbling idiot after telling you not to come over one night because she "wasn't feeling well."

And you'll wish... you had it back.

2) Ride farther than you think you can:

Because you can. I know... it's a long way. But it really isn't. I mean...yeah, it is. And it's going to hurt. Maybe a lot. Probably. But you've got this shit. I mean it.
You... Me... We've all just all been conditioned to forget that.
No, you might not be the fastest. Who gives a shit? Let the morons duke that shit out up front. You worry about you.
Pack food. Bring money. Bring a phone.
But trust me... you can ride that far. You can. I don't care if you're staring down the barrel of 10, 20, 50, 100, or 300 miles. You've got this shit.
It might not be pretty. It rarely is. I mean... come on... admit it: even at your prettiest, you're a nightmare.
Take breaks. Look around. Look inside. Talk to yourself. Cry.

And when you're done... after you've willingly put yourself through something harder than you thought possible... you'll know. Know that beyond what you just went through, there's real suffering. Suffering the likes of which you will hopefully never know. Real fucking shit... and not just some bike-ride you did one day.
But you'll have gotten a glimpse into a larger world. And hopefully you'll have grown as a result of that. Realized how small you and your stupid bullshit problems are in the scheme of it all.

I mean... unless you're fucking terrible.

3) Travel when you're broke as fuck:

When you can barely make rent. When the power is in danger of being shut off. When you can barely maintain.
When all of your peers are buying boats and renting beach houses in the Outer Banks... and you just got the first NSF notice of the month.

Travel when you're supposed to be putting money in an IRA so that when you're old you can finally see the Rhine River... on a Viking cruise with other old people.
No. Fuck that. Travel now. Because chances are... you're going to die long before you make that happen. Cancer from second hand smoke your parents immersed you in. From the asbestos siding of the house you grew up in. The siding you used to carve your initials (along with the word "fart") into with a knife. From years of not wearing sunscreen. From that cellphone you keep in your pocket... next to your testicles... your uterus.
From some dipshit who was too busy typing "lol" at some other dipshit's rape joke to pay attention while driving... and plowed into you with their Wrangler (complete with a "It's a Jeep thing. You wouldn't understand" sticker.)
And imagine how fucking stupid you're going to feel having put off going to Iceland because "the timing wasn't right."

Flights are expensive, I know. So is one week's worth of shitty, overpriced lattes...
One week of eating $12 white-person bulgogi tacos every day for lunch.

So is a car payment.

If those are the things you want... then by all means, keep on keeping on.
But, to quote the ever-challenging Dead Prez:

"Would you rather have a Lexus or justice?
A dream, or some substance?
A Beamer, a necklace, or freedom?"

Which reminds me....

4) Don't Buy a Car:

See this thing?

I fucking hate it.
Yeah, it gets good gas mileage. Yeah, it has little to no mechanical issues. Yeah, when it has the outdoorsy roof rack on it, it can "Fit" two adults, two kids, three dogs, two bikes, and a cargo box that carries all the gear you need.
But... I just hate it.

Truth be known, I hate all cars.
And not just because they represent our innate laziness as a species. Or how they keep killing us. Or how fuckboys yell "Hey baby girl" at me as they drive by when I'm on a run.
But because they just. Fucking. Bore me.
When I was a kid and we'd play with our Hotwheels... and my friends would all covet the Lamborghinis. The Land Rovers. The Porches. The Mustangs. I could give two shits. As far as I could discern, those cars looked almost exactly like my Mom's beige GM. You know... the one with the seats that faced backward.
The only toy cars I wanted to play with had jet engines or shark fins. Lazer cannons mounted to the top.

I bought the Fit post divorce...When I had this idea that I needed to "adult." To "get my shit together." That somehow, this practical but stylish yuppie hatchback would help galvanize that. Like buying a standing desk at Ikea. Once I had that, I'd have everything I needed to effectively buckle down and work!
This is what adults do, right? Make practical decisions? In impractical ways?

But this car...  it just isn't me.
In fact, it's about one-thousand percent less me than the Ford Windstar I had before that. The one I still have, parked behind the shop. The one I bought when I couldn't find the car I was actively lusting after: A Toyota Previa.
Talk about sexy.

"Oh hey, ladies."
The point is... I'm no happier having bought this stupid fucking adult car than I was before.

Don't buy a car.
If you're going to buy anything, buy a bike. Or a van. One you can live in when you intentionally use your house as firewood.
Or just keep driving that stained ass, hubcap missing Toyota Corolla into the fucking ground.

5) Don't get married:

You see them everywhere. Fighting about everything. About who forgot the boppy at the neighborhood cookout. About who doesn't know how to work the clutch in the car. About who doesn't know what size shoes their  child wears. About who packed the passports in the wrong pocket of the bag. About who doesn't know how to fold fitted sheets. About who bought the wrong brand of Stevia at Whole Foods. About who's had to deal with their own offspring "all day" and how it's "your turn!"
About anything....

Fucking. Spouses.

Maybe... they really do love each other. In a way.
But they certainly don't like each other. Not anymore. To be quite honest... I'm pretty sure they fucking hate each other.

Marriage... changes everything. Whether you believe it or not. I don't know why. It just does.
Maybe... it creates some sense of ownership. Of entitlement. Makes people into other people.
In any case, it definitely creates resentment. Either from feeling "trapped"... or from feeling let down.

I'm not saying not to fall in love. And I'm not saying not to commit to loving a person with everything you have. I'm just saying... that marriage, as an institution... no longer has any relevance. (Unless you've been denied the privilege all your life... and I get that.)
In too many ways... I feel like it's just a copout. A way of forcing an issue. Creating a reason to stay together...
Instead of just fucking doing it.

Turning best friends... into spouses. Which is a toxic fucking thing to be.

Also... if this is you?
In any way....
Whether it's physical... verbal... or mental...
Fuck you.
Fuck you so fucking hard.

7) Have an Affair:

There are two kinds of people in the world:
Those who've had an affair...

And those who haven't... yet.

Whether because they haven't met that person... or whether because the opportunity hasn't been afforded to them.

The sanctimonious fuckers who judge everyone who has? The ones who stand on some high horse of how they'd never do that. How they'd "never go outside of a marriage that way"...
They're full of shit. I'm not calling them liars...  I'm calling them FUCKING liars.

Like homophobic republicans with their male prostitutes.

I assure you... you would. You already have. In too many ways to count. Review your vows... and think about it. Really think about it. All the times you've treated the other person like shit. All the times you've belittled them. Lorded something over them. Manipulated them. Failed to be the person you promised to be.

Crashing into someone else? Yeah... it sucks to be on the wrong end of that. (And I've been on all of them.)
But it's just a part of the equation. You don't get to turn it into more.

I won't pretend to know where you are in your own relationship. Whether everything is golden. Or if it's on the rivet...
But, if the stars aligned such... you would.

And one day... maybe you'll feel dead inside. And you'll hit a breaking point.
Look for ways to sabotage everything.

Or... you'll meet someone. When you don't mean to. Someone amazing. And something will click.
Or for the first time in too long... you'll feel... alive. Dare I even say... happy.

As you should.

And maybe... it will end. You'll realize that's not what you want. Not who you are. You'll realize you just crossed a line you never want to cross again. And you'll end it. Stop responding. Never look back.

But maybe it won't. Maybe it will snap you out of something. Some fugue. And you'll realize... that you want more.

You'll get caught, by the way. (You always do, in case you're wondering.) And you'll hurt people. And likely... you'll get hurt.
But there are two kinds of people in an affair:
Those who don't understand how you could hurt them like this...
And those who want to know what they did wrong. What they did to push you away...
Which one are you?

In any case,  I assure you... you will never know true happiness until you're on your knees in the middle of the street... scrubbing the spray paint that spells your name, along with the words "cheat" and "liar" off the asphalt.

Talk about bliss!

8) Get Divorced:

No happy marriage ever ended in divorce.

And if you're unhappy in the marriage... it's worth it.
It is.

If your soon to be ex isn't a shitty, manipulative person who can't see past their own ass...
...the kind who threatens custody for no reason other than to hurt you
...the kind who threatens to make it difficult for no reason other than some misplaced sense of entitlement
... the kind who is so blinded by their own myopic pain that they can't see anyone else's, much less yours... much less their own children's...'s worth it.

And even then.

I'm quite fortunate, in that my ex and I are, in many ways, the poster-children for how it can be. How it should be. When it could have gone very differently.
That's not to say it wasn't hard. Or that we weren't both angry. Or sad. Or that we didn't say hurtful things. We did.
But ultimately... we both saw past that. Saw our kid. Saw ourselves. Saw each other.
And realized how it could be. How it should be.

You don't go hang out with your ex-inlaws down in the Florida Keys for Spring Break?

My ex and I are very different. To see us now, you would probably never think that we were once married, much less a couple.  We were young. Both bookish. Both introverted in our own ways. I will forever love her for forcing Jane Austen on me. For introducing me to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. For getting me to truly appreciate Dickens.
We laughed. Danced. Had fun.
But as we grew, our paths... our interests... our expectations of life... just diverged. Quite a bit.
It took too long to realize that.

Post divorce, there's no bitterness. There's still scar tissue, I suppose. But who among you doesn't have scars. Scars... are sexy. heh.
We don't pick at those wounds.

Meanwhile, I watch other people... how they can't even manage the most base level of civility during their split...
How they totally shut down communicating...
How they use their kids as shields and ammunition against each other...
How they try to take things they don't deserve...
How regardless of how badly the other might have fucked up, can't see how badly they've fucked up. Or how badly they're fucking up right now...

Acting like Fucking. Spouses.

Yeah, you'll lose friends. But if you think about it, you'll probably realize that they kind of sucked anyway.

My one word of caution: if you have children, just try to get divorced somewhere you actually want to be. Because otherwise, you might find yourself living in salle d'attente: The waiting room.

9) Reject god: 

It's beyond bizarre to me that in spite of how much we've advanced as a species... how much we've learned about the natural world... about the nature of reality... exponentially our understanding and ideas about the world have grown...
our ideas about "god" have not.

I mean... they have... but very slowly. And within a very narrow confine.
As if we're terrified of letting go of certain notions about who we are in the universe. As if... we might find out... that we're really quite insignificant. And that it means nothing.

Our ideas about god... are still very much mired in a time when we were completely, and dare I say, malignantly ignorant about the world and how it worked. When we knew nothing about matter. About atoms. When we had no understanding of illness or germs. Of geology. Biology.
So mired...that in order for us to move forward, I can't help but feel like those ideas...  have to just die. Like a controlled burn. One that eliminates all of the strangling brush.
Or maybe a flood. (Wouldn't that be something?)
Then... we can revisit. See how we feel. See if those stories still resonate. See what our heads tell us when they aren't bogged down in the detritus of thousands of years of historically inaccurate bullshit.
So many of us grew up tangled in those webs. In the same way we grew up tangled in the various prejudices of our families. Our social circles.
But once you break free... your world grows. Exponentially.

I hate the fucking word, but religion... needs to be "unlearned."


10) Oral sex. Lots of it:

This should be a no brainer.
Oral sex... is about giving and receiving. In ways that other sex isn't.
Intercourse, regardless of position, and regardless as to how much you may "give"... is always about taking.
Oral sex is about paying attention... to someone else.

Do that.
Do that a lot.

(Are you doing it? I'm watching.)

11) Talk shit about people:

What's that Eleanor Roosevelt quote?
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss places; small minds discuss people."
She's right. But she didn't take into account that whatever the fuck people think they are... they are, ultimately, just ideas. Whether your own ideas about them... or their own ideas about you... or our own ideas about us.
Tear those fuckers down. Drag them through the mud.
Just understand... that when you do... when you're talking shit about the sycophantic fan-boys... about tyrants and visionless coat-tail riders... about smug little fuckers who can't see past their own duck butts...'re just talking about yourself. About some facet of you.
That everyone is just a mirror. And that when you see something inside of them that you despise, it's a reflection of something inside you that you hate.
Whether it's pettiness. Jealousy. A need to be liked. Selfishness. Insincerity.
How they treat people.
It's all you.

Unless you're really so fucking vapid that you can't see that.

12) Have an adult enemy:

It's strange. To know that someone out there hates you. Not only do they not like you.... But they legitimately hate you. Maybe even... as much as you hate them. Or maybe even... as much as you hate you.
To know that someone sees red when your name comes up in conversation. When they see it in a magazine.
That they intentionally avoid looking at you. That when they do... it's daggers. To know that their friends, who have no context with you at all, save someone else's beef... keep tabs on what you're doing.
To know that to someone else... you represent everything fucked up about this world.

Don't shrug that shit off.

Think about it. Really think about it. Think about what they see when they look at you. About why.
And think about whether or not that's who you want to be. Whether or not that's who you are.

13) Try to die:

I can't promise that your head will be any clearer. Or that you'll have any more of an idea how to cope with life. Or that you won't always struggle with that feeling... of wanting to disappear.
But you'll have some perspective.
That's something.

Super Secret Bonus Precept:
Tell people you love them. All the time.

Late addition:
Some of you may have noticed that I omitted #6. It wasn't intentional. Last minute editing gone awry, followed by the absence of proofreading. What? It's a fucking blog... not a thesis. 
In any case... here you go. In case you really cared.

6) Punch yourself in the face:

Or, as I like to think of it... hit the reset button. 
Those times when you feel everything starting to slide out of focus. When you can't get your head right. When you find yourself running down a hallway of slamming doors. When you feel the lightning start to arc in your skull. 
Pull your fist back... and let go. 
Maybe avoid your nose. It's messy. Lots of blood. The high potential for breakage. 
Avoid your temple. It's delicate. The intended "reset" might become a "shutdown." 
Mouth is ok. Just try not to knock a tooth out. 
Cheek and eye socket are preferable. Just be ready to explain your shiner to people. Be ready to tell a girl that you'd prefer she not touch your tender face for a bit. In the same way... you'd prefer she not touch your wrists. 
You know?

And there you have it. #6. Totally worth it.


  1. Worth the read . . . . and the punch

    1. Which one did you go with, Dimitri? Cheek? Orbital? Temple? I forgot to include the good old forehead-punch. Just be careful with those knuckles... You know?

  2. Interesting, but I disagree with a lot of it. Except #1.
    I hate carbon. Period.
    I can't wait to see your next post!

    1. Disagreeing... is unacceptable. Prepare to be assimilated.

  3. Replies
    1. Awww... Fuck you I love you too! Wait a minute... Who is this? Is this my adult enemy?

  4. So many raw feels. I like it. I hate it. I love it. Fuck it.

  5. I may likely be printing this out for my sons to read. I wish I could have read it 30 years ago, but also wish could've paid attention. Nonetheless, I will be riding further and scoring a steel hard tail to replace my beloved deceased/outdated Surly in the not too distant future. Keep up the great work and thanx.