In the week leading up to Memorial Day, I reached out to some friends who were veterans of the Navy and the Marines. I was hoping they’d know how F3 could help a vet or a family that had lost someone in service of the country. They made some calls, but nothing surfaced. Saigon Sam and I had a brief text exchange about this on Thursday. He mentioned Bloomer’s efforts to connect with a local Gold Star family. Bravo, Bloomer. Let’s hope that comes to fruition. But in the interim, I had come up empty. Or so it seemed. For what I was searching for was waiting at the Farm.
Three F3ers – Check Please, Wrangler and I – were joined Saturday morning by six residents of the Farm, including two FNGs. One of them had served in the Navy, and had gone on to start his own trucking company. He had been blessed with grandchildren. He was a man who had much. Until he lost it.
The insidious nature of crack stems from its means of absorption. When inhaled, the cocaine vapor hits the brain quickly, producing an intense and immediate high, though one that is short-lived. The need to take more and more doses to prolong the effect can initiate a cycle of bingeing and crashing, putting the user at greater risk of dependence.
This FNG became addicted to crack. He told himself he could quit when he wanted to. But he couldn’t. His addiction consumed him. He was alive but lost that which made up his life – his family, his business. This man who had once been responsible for torpedoes on a US Navy ship – torpedoes, for Christ’s sake – found himself reduced to rummaging for food in the dumpster of a Burger King at three in the morning.
Yet for all he has lost, and for all he still struggles with, he is now endowed with potentially life-changing understanding. Someone who for too long allowed an addiction to fester and then rampage behind duplicitous self-denial now possesses the clarity – indeed, the gift – of self-awareness. This is an extraordinary blessing. By the fact that we have conscious awareness we are an improving species; we advance by learning from our mistakes. That desire to improve and to help others is animate within him. He wants to write a book about his experience and share those lessons as a motivational speaker. This is an incredible opportunity for this man and for those who could benefit from him. Who could possibly hold greater authority to enlighten at-risk youth about the perils of addiction?
I told him I had been a magazine writer and editor and would work with him on his book. I encouraged him to write. Write every day. One sentence. One page. Whatever. Just f’ing write. His eyes lit up. He knows his hellish experience could be salvation for others.
Time will reveal what comes of this. Pray for him and his quest. Maybe, just maybe, with some help from us, and with strength from God above, he can become what he aspires to be. Based on the belief that his future will be brighter than his recent past – that the comeback will be stronger than the setback – we dubbed him Comeback. Welcome, Comeback.
Our other FNG, a young guy who has the build an NFL All-Pro safety would be envious of, was dubbed Soccer Baby. Welcome Soccer Baby! Nice guy. Quick to smile. Another guy, OCD, has a playful sense of humor like that of our own Yard Sale. A twenty-something named Murder Bunny seems to be as competitive as Prunetang. It goes on.
On June 12th, we’ll converge at the Farm to present the men their F3 shirts. Come on out. You’ll ‘get some,’ as we say, and plenty more.
Seven stations, with five exercises per station. Twenty seconds of work per exercise followed by ten seconds of rest. Move onto the next station after completing all five exercises at the current station. Each station had an exercise that targeted legs, core, upper body and aerobic, with the fifth exercise featuring a coupon of some sort, a cinderblock for man makers. Quality mumblechatter ensued, including prolonged lamentations that Check Please somehow escaped being dubbed Mr. Mom. On a serious note, it’s a lot of fun to watch CP interact with the men at the Farm. It seems like he was made for this.
Wrangler neatly closed it out with some yoga.
COT / BOM
FNGs named, prayers named, plans discussed for the June 12th convergence (possibly a cook-out after the workout.) I am honored, grateful and humbled to have led this group of men on this day.