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flights and fancies (and footlocks)

I flew in again (you are probably as tired of hearing about it as I am of doing it) to Houston Saturday and worked out for 4 hours in wrestling and unarmed combat for the class Gene and I will be teaching at the deal next weekend. It was even more brutal than last week, I was tossed around and pulling all my joints out and whatnot. We did some ground wrestling again at the end and I wrestled a visiting guy who's probably 30-45 pounds lighter than me but very experienced and skilled, and another guy who's pretty new but probably 350 pounds. I expected to beat the light guy easily and lose to the big guy but unexpectedly I beat the big guy in like 20 seconds with a really hard choke from behind and beat the small guy after a few rough minutes with a footlock as he was choking me from behind. That smaller guy is an excellent swordsman and a like sparring with him. I cleaned his clock when we sparred in boxing some time ago and thought I'd do as well on the ground, but he's stronger than he looks. Anyway I love that stuff, it's good to really exert yourself once in awhile against somebody who's trying to beat you, because it really makes all the regular daily bullshit seem so much less important.

The flight back was atrocious, possibly the worst ever in my tenure above the clouds. Some ethnic family of maybe 4 or 5 children, all below 7 years, had somehow divined exactly what I hate most about air travel, cobbled that nightmare into a three and a half hour play, and performed it flawlessly in coach class just behind me. Kicks, whines, screams, tattles, erupting infants and 'organic' stinks, assailed me from pre-takeoff until post-landing. I've mentioned how I get wound up after working out and I like to visualize mauling incidental annoyances in a fit of cathartic, rectifying justice, to scores of applause from bystanders (like in '80s movies). But I was so worn out and frankly unable to turn my neck much that I just put in my headphones and listened to my audiobook (there's a briefer history of time available for those of us whose pretense of intellectualism can be carried on only so long) that I just yielded and even the smacking of the crustachioed teenager next to me as he ate his mommy's popcorn didn't get more than a brief glare from me, although that was mostly because they were kicking his seat more than mine.

I drove home and dropped dead. And then went to work the next day.