Dave Draper always has something cool to say. Here is his latest column from Oct 29.
We are weightlifters and musclebuilders, strongmen and women, fitness
freaks and health nuts. We train, we lift, we work out, exercise, push
the iron and lift the steel. We eat right and avoid the junk food most
of the time or some of time. We could do better, but we do what we do
and we do what we can.
We do better when we share our little journey and when we are
encouraged. Basic information in training and eating and attitude go a
long way in deepening our understanding of ourselves, our workouts and
the world around us. A weekly reminder that what we do is important,
beneficial and admirable is priceless and uplifting. It is in fact the
reason we meet here each week.
Take me to the iron.
Something like 10 years ago Laree and I started this parade and you
got in step one at a time. Let us at this time introduce you to a
character, an old friend, who will share his experiences with us that
we might continue to live, lift, learn and grow.
Rather, let him introduce himself.
The Bat and his bud have a lot to teach us.
******* ******* *******
The Booze and Cigs Have Got to Go
I took one more drag, a deep one, before I snubbed the butt in an
ashtray I lifted from the Asbury Hilton. They'll never miss it. The
tray's full and my pack of Camels is empty. Story of my life. Same
with the bottle; the more I drink, the less I have. Jack Daniels has
never been in such a hurry with no place to go.
Cigs and booze, this has gotta stop. I miss the gym and protein and a
good pump. I leaned back in my swivel and put my feet up on the
desk... something to contemplate.
The backdoor squeaked. It never squeaks unless someone is opening it.
I was startled. I killed the gooseneck and reached for the drawer
where I keep my revolver. The chair creaked. It never creaks unless I
reach for my revolver. I began to perspire. I never perspire unless
I'm nervous. I wasn't nervous, but it was hot and the overhead fan was
on the blink.
The backdoor was my secret exit leading to Y Street and known only to
my friends. I didn't have any friends, except Marlene and Crazy Joe,
and Marlene was girl.
Crazy Joey Norton slipped into my office like he was playing hide 'n
seek with one of his nasty poolroom creditors, the ones who break pool
sticks over the heads of hustlers who don't pay their debts. I grabbed
my bottle of JD and stashed it next to my pistol. Crazy was crazy and
out of breath.
"Joey, are you nuts?" I said, "It's 3 in the morning, only cats and
crooks are crawling around." He leaned tough against the door and took
a deep breath of relief. I could feel the room empty of oxygen. Craze
was 6'4," 240 and built like a bomb with Howorth's shoulders. He put
his ear to the door and listened hard to still silence. "I gave them
the slip," he said.
Crazy backed away from the door and found a chair in front of my desk.
I didn't want to ask why, who or how many he slipped, but it seemed
like a suitable inquiry. I retrieved my bottle from the gun 'n bottle
drawer and after a long swig I offered him a shot. He did not refuse
"Tell me," I said.
"We're okay till dawn," he said.
Crazy and I go back to the '70s when we lifted weights together at the
Y in downtown Manhattan. Lifters were loners in those days and the
iron was an extraordinary friend, solid, bold and mighty.
That's another way of saying honest and faithful. You got from the
friendship what you put into it. It's the same way today, only the tin
tinkles and muscles are the fool's gold crown of false glory.
We did what you needed to do when you grew up where the world lived on
top of itself. Neither Joey nor I could hurt anyone unless they
absolutely insisted on hurting us. We were good at protection.
Cops for 10 years, our dance with the NYPD came to an end when some
stoners decided to feed junk to kids in the Y Street neighborhood. Any
street was too close to home, but Y Street was where Crazy and me were
born and our gnarly youths unfolded. Some people say unraveled, but I
say unfolded, carefully, by the angels above. Not everybody believes
Six punks, like a pack of rabid dogs, roamed the alleys and edges of
the school grounds grabbing 13- and 14-year-olds to introduce them to
dope and easy money. The dope was wrong and the squirts knew it, but
money was not in abundance, at home or on the street. They knew that,
too. Hard choices were everywhere.
Crazy and me, good cops with ears to the ground, got word of the
devil's deeds and trapped the stinking little mob in their digs in the
basement of a crumbling condemned tenement. What a treat. They yapped
and snarled and tried to run during which time we dismantled a few
teeth, relieved them of their weapons -- two small-caliber revolvers,
knuckles and assorted knives -- and burned their baggy, smelly clothes
in the archaic oil furnace.
Naked and tied together as they were with old clothesline, they
wouldn't get far. In the middle of the circle of boney tattooed and
needle-marked bodies we heaped their weapons, and significant stash,
paraphernalia and cash and IDs in a battered galvanized washbasin.
Reaching the treasure trove or exit was not possible, guaranteed by
the network of ropes and handy dandy duct tape.
Crazy's muffled voice from a payphone across the street at Paco's
Liquors told police of the whereabouts of the wretched creatures,
violent, salivating and bound tightly together in a huddle. It was our
attempt to clean up some rubbish in less than 30 minutes without the
muss and fuss of an entire police force and its attending bureaucracy.
We'd seen that fuss happen over and over again.
Enough is enough, as they say in politics.
Justice sometimes comes in odd-shaped, hand-wrapped packages. There
they sat in a circle, arms and legs entangled apparently by a bunch of
hooded amateurs. Their escapades were undone. They were busted, shamed
and sent away enduring withdrawals for a sufficient term at Riker's
The six creeps were not the first to receive our brand of justice. But
this time Crazy and me got whacked. The precinct commander dug what we
did, but did not dig our "flagrant vigilante tactics, ya dumb-ass
muscleheads." It was one of many questionable good deeds we performed
in the shadows and behind closed doors that could undo the department.
We pushed it. We were discharged without ceremony "before heads begin
to roll, you oversized mugs."
"See ya at the gym on Wednesday," Marlene said as she escorted us from
the rear exit of the precinct. Her voice was hushed, her lips did not
move and she tapped her holstered Glock unconsciously. Her Captain's
badge was crooked.
About the booze and cigarettes. I lied. Promise I'll never lie again.
I confess I was a vegetarian for a month and Joey drinks beer with his
Quiznos. I still eat vegetables... along with thick steaks and low-fat
milk. Gotta be huge and ripped to fight crime. A 357 Magnum helps.