If you’ve been reading the blog, you already know my neighbor, James, thinks I’m crazy for doing Ironman. Well, today, he popped his head through the bushes and offered some pre-race advice.
I told him things were going well and we’re only 23 days out from the race. He said, “Aww, dayum! I know what’s up. I went thru that exact same thing back in the day when I was gettin’ ready for my concert.”
“Oh, hell yeah, I used to tap dance for the church team.”
“No shit, and it was some shit! We drove that rusty ass van all the way to Savannah for the church championships.”
“Okay Mike, I see how hard u been workin. Let me outline some shit, cuz I’ve been right where you at right now, and this is how ya next 23 days gonna work.”
Day 23 – That’s today, bro. You all out here mowin the lawn with your bike gloves, but your mind… see, your mind ain’t even here. You lookin’ off in the damn clouds and ya dog, Mattie, want some food.
Day 22 – Gonna be a lot like today, but u got a whole weekend to think about shit. You gonna wish u could mow the lawn again, but that’s neither here or then, so u gotta keep your ass straight to the ground, u hear what I’m sayin?
Day 21 – You gonna be hungover as hell cause one of ya swimmin friends got a birthday party or some shit and I know u ain’t listenin’ to what I’m tellin you right now. You gonna be all depressed and thinkin u need to get your head together, but Man, I’m tellin u, all u need to do is put on them tight shorts and ride that damn bike just like I would drag my ass outta bed and dance. You feel me?
Day 20 – Mondays are a trip, man. It aint easy to get up and dance. But you gotta dance! Grab that little Speedo u got, then get your ass in a lake and dance with the barracudas!
Day 19 – I know u hear what I’m sayin, but it ain’t sinkin in… look at u chewin on them little energy candy packs like they gonna help u mow the lawn faster. Listen up!
Day 18 – Man, it gonna be mid-week and u gonna have some doubts, but u can’t let that shit up in you. We all had our doubts, but keep ya eye on the prize. Shine them damn shoes or eat you a salad to keep ya weight down. You gotta be light, man. You can’t dance all day if u got a big ass at night.
Day 17 – My lil James Jr. gonna come out that door right there and start yellin, “Mr. Mike, Mr. Mike,” and you gonna be like, “Damn, James Jr. out here screamin ‘Mr. Mike’ again.” And you gonna be right, but he just wanna say what up. Take a minute to say he a good kid.
Day 16 – Man, you start forgettin’ what day it even is. Could be Thursday or might be Tuesday. Don’t matta. You know what TIME it is. It time to put on that big ole’ watch and run your little white ass down the block a few times.
Day 15 – When I was in my prime, I’d watch me some Sammy Davis Jr. and dance right in front of the T-V all damn night. Rollin’ that shit back on VHS until my mom spanked my ass with my own damn belt. Aint that some shit? Tap dancin with my boy, Sammy, and mom breakin’ bad on my ass. The point is, you gotta get ya passion right. I was so deep in my dance I didn’t even feel that belt, unless she got me with that buckle, then I would eject that tape, head straight bed and ice my feet.
Day 14 – You gonna think I’m full of corn, but when you two weeks away from ya dance, you gotta forget all the moves. Sit back with your friends and just talk about shit u don’t care about. Hell, my boy Mincie talked out both sides his mouth bout that damn Flipper show and I just shook my head and ate biscuits. Sound crazy, but he kept it real and real is what it is.
Day 13 – Okay, now I’m gonna tell u somethin, but it ain’t what you hope. You gonna start worryin’ bout everything. Like nightmare and dream shit that straight out a Stephen King movie. Like u tryin to spot that swim buoy but ain’t got no eyes or u runnin’ on hot burnin’ coals or u forgot ya swim cap. But that just ya mind fuckin wit u. I had a dream once and I was dancin’ on my damn hands. Ain’t that some Jackabilly?
Day 12 – Not gonna lie. Day 12 ain’t for nothin’ but lettin’ your nerves calm down from that Stephen King shit. Nothin else u can do, really.
Day 11 – Man, I started thinkin’ bout my dance routine and couldn’t remember a damn step. You prolly gonna think u can’t run a straight line or u gonna put that tight ass wetsuit on backwards. Mike, look at me. Don’t take that shit personal! You can do what you think you can’t do no matta what you think that is, or isn’t or might be. Like Mincie used to say, “Lotta times, it is what it isn’t.”
Day 10 – This when u gotta make amends wit ya mom for whippin u wit that belt. She done forgot that shit a long time ago, but it gotta clear ya head if u wanna show up on that stage. She was just doin what she thought u needed and I damn well deserved a belt sometimes, and for real, I didn’t know Sammy and he didn’t know me, so I really can’t figure out why I was so hyped on that dude. It really come down to who you know and takin’ care of them first. Like yaself, Mike!
Day 9 – Them Mayans used to talk about single digit numbers like they was somethin real important and those cats had it just about right. Am I lyin? Made a damn sun dial and didn’t even know what the sun was. And ate fresh food and ran all damn night. See, that’s what you need, Mike. Eat you some fresh food and quit runnin ya mouth.
Day 8 – Bro, we was rehearsin’ like it was no tomorrow. They had them speakers on so loud I started doin some crazy ass dance nobody eva seen before. The coach came over and said, “What the hell kinda dance you doin, James?” I said, “I don’t know coach.” He said, “Well, go ahead and save that for ya girlfriend, cause it don’t make no damn sense to me and it sure ain’t got nothin to do with the show.” You with me, Mike?
“I think so.”
Day 7 – They say 7 is a lucky number, but when you 7 days out from ya dance, that superstition get all crazy up in ya head. I was wearin the same socks all week and momma was like, “Damn, boy, I bought u some new socks and you gotta go stinkin up the house cause you worried bout your tap dancin.” She was right, cuz my feet stunk like the trunk of your damn car, Mike. Ain’t no pair of socks gonna win that race. Change that shit up.
Day 6 – I think I told you about day 6 before when we was both on our weed eaters out front. Day 6 is some shit cause you start thinkin’ bout runnin’ away and hidin’ in dumpsters or at ya Grandma’s crib. Ain’t gonna work. You gotta get ya head straight and start hearin’ the music right. They warmin’ up the symphony and your ears betta get used to them sour notes.
Day 5 – Man, I never slept so good in my life. I mean, I surrendered myself to the concert like I was in AA turnin’ my wrongdoings over to God. It felt good, too. My body was light and I was movin’ like that one white dancer dude, Fred Stair and whatnot.
Day 4– I was hearin’ them church bells in my head like u gonna start hearin’ that cannon shot. Bam! Over n over. Drivin’ down the road, and cannons gonna be poppin’ all up under that runnin’ visor u got. That gonna be a good time to stop thinkin’ bout cannons.
Day 3 – That doubt gonna be creepin’ and u just gotta remember one thing. Ain’t no time to be doubtin’ on yaself. Man, I kept lookin’ at my dancin’ shoes and I swear they looked too big. Like clown shoes n shit. I thought I WAS a clown and started tellin’ bad jokes, but people was like, “Damn, quit bein’ a clown,” and I decided that was a good idea.
Day 2– Okay. You one day from the dance, so what you gonna do? I thought so. You gonna get you some damn rest. Don’t be messin’ with that sight seein’ or shoppin’ for souvenirs. Get you a Flipper box set and wear it out. Get you thinkin’ bout the water and nice fish with happy little noses.
Day 1 – Mike, you my boy, but this one’s on you.