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October 5, 2001
Ripples in the Water

Suddenly, and without reason, I grew weaker, despite keeping a very productive and smart training schedule through September, 2001. Try as I might, I couldn't reverse the trend. I thought it was the cold I caught when the family was there, but the week of rest should've made me stronger. It didn't. No matter how much I did what I had to do to get where I wanted to go, the stuff that I did didn't do what I wanted it to do--I was done
The likely explanation is that my body clock, which always made me come on strong the same time every year, was shutting me down for the winter. I was energetic and motivated but hadn't trained hard past the second week of September in 11 years. The nail in the coffin was when my Commander, Lt. Colonel Schalch, in light of the September 11, terrorist attacks, required we be able to return to work within 24 hours of a recall. My necessary evil, the Air Force, forced me to give up what I unnecessarily loved to do. The fastest flight to Okinawa, Japan was 26 hours. I drafted an appeal, but that didn't work. I canceled my dream of returning to race the 2001 Tour de Okinawa. Wahhh!!!

I met a few women in 2001, but nothing came of it. Most women turned out to be hiding something, lying about something, and that really bothered me. Deception was the norm with women, even Christian women, and I'd grown weary of trusting. There was also a consistent lack of backbone, being demanding, shallow, gold digging, and having the personality of a large rock. I've dated rocks before and let me tell ya, they're a hard act to follow. One quick way to spot someone speaking out of two sides of her mouth is when she brags about being fiercely independent, and then has an income requirement for the guy she dates. The nice word for a woman who dates for money is gold digger---but there's a better name I'll save for later.

Poster child for President Obama's ABORTION YES! campaignGladly accepted to an all-blind school when the seeing-eye schools all rejected him
Cathy Reiner, high school pal, suggested I try singles websites, and since I spent most of my spare time resting from riding, in my house, too tired to go out and meet anyone, it sounded like a winner. Ever tried to meet anyone in a bar?
I had some problems writing a profile though--they loved walks along the beach, I love walks perpendicular to the beach, they wanted someone to grow old with, I wanted someone to witness my death, and I looked as good in high-heels and a skirt as I did in jeans and a T-shirt too. I thought finding a soul mate meant stacking men's shoes on top of women's shoes, and that safe sex was a cheap way to add to your lockable storage space when two attractive, consenting safes were locked in a dark office alone to let manufacturing take its course. When I told--no--WARNED a lady that I was weird, she'd say,"Oh, don't worry! We're all nuts here!" But after a few weeks she'd say,"You know Mike, you were right--you really are weird", and the look on her face wasn't delight, but closer to the expression Elvis gave when singing Hound Dog. There were a lot of disconnects, and it didn't help that in order to gloss over the fact that I couldn't father children (I'm a reproductive culdesac), I tried to show what a blessing this was by creating composite photos of what me and my ex wife's children might look like. Here are four I still have. Miimii and I had agreed on a boy's name, and I had a girl's name in mind, and so--meet Bingo and Syphyllis. Mirror,mirror on the--hey, wait, come back!  I'm not finished yet!Your Momma is so ugly--you two could be twins
Still, out of all the mating calls and lifting of my brightly color feathers towards the focus of my affection, this particular profile seemed to work the best, and was the only one to receive multiples replies. Scary part is, most of it is true:

I'm a little boy trapped in a 35-year-old body. I'm in the military (United States) and live alone in a tiny house with a tiny garage and a mid-size car (her name is Alexandria) and I try to keep the bugs out of the house but they keep making up new schemes to get inside. Last week 150 mosquitoes tried to deliver a pizza. They might have fooled me if they hadn't kept running into my porch light. It keeps getting worse--buzzing hang-up phone calls, unsolicited mail about lengthening my stinger--they turn on my sprinklers and make pools of water to lay their eggs. (at the time I had such fierce battles with mosquitoes that I wrote an almost-true poem about it called I Killed a Frog) . I am a Christian man, and although I donít talk about the Lord all the time, I feel Him and think of Him. I consider myself a problem child of God because Heís always shaking his head when he sees how I stumble through life. Either that or He created me for His own amusement. Do you ever feel some days that the Lord is just bored and is using you for entertainment? I race bicycles (one at a time), write poetry, sing to myself, and I love women because they are Godís most beautiful creation (this was before I bought a dog). I am very kind and gentle...a little confusing and silly and stick my foot in my mouth a lot, but kind and gentle, and shy. I love good conversation, and I believe true love (I used to be stupid enough to believe true love existed) begins with this, so if you lost your tongue in a blender accident, don't bother calling me. I love cats (they're lousy conversationalists). I love animals. A horse licked my hand once at Busch Gardens. I was so thrilled I asked for her number. It took me hours to write it down because I kept losing track of which stomp she was on (she gave a licking and kept on kicking). What a night mare! Too complicated...we decided to be friends. Trying to type a message to an unseen audience that doesn't respond is like trying to create a water-sculpture. Just doing lawn work today. It's nice. Planting flowers, pouring bleach on ant colonies and running after wasps with tire foam and WD-40 (all true) . Hey, do you know why dogs in Korea don't bark? They don't want to give away their position. I think I've filled my 120 words. I'll end with a few grunts and annoying facial expressions. Thanks!

I also added some things on about showing some 'hot' photos of myself from 1965, and minor variations. Hard to believe, but I was a super nice guy, back then. I do need to state here, though, that there is no truth to the rumor that I squirted tire fix-it foam into my ex-wife's mouth to frustrate her nag orifice.

I received well over 100 responses on that profile, but one response, in early October, clearly stood out for me. Actually, she contacted me first. It went like this,

"Hello, Mr. :-) Wow, I didn't know that they charge for this membership now...hmmm, OK, first month is free, so this E-mail is considered as "free" ... am I getting a "hot picture of yours from 1965" for free too? Little about me. I live in Virginia Beach with a black & white goofy dog and 'too independent, cat-like' dog(he is on the picture of mine The answer for 'In your family, who are you known as?' would be "the creative rebel" If you want to have a little joy of writing & receiving mails at the end of the day, and wouldn't mind if she is not Christian but sort of Buddhist :-} and her English isn't the primary language, my e-mail address is....."

I later found out her name was Seko. I sent an email back and she replied once, and then I didn't hear from her. This is the picture she sent. I liked her message. I liked the way I felt when I read it and when I saw her with her Yorkie in her arms. There was a genuineness, a lack of being full of herself, a sweetness, as well as sophistication and intelligence. Yes, I could tell that by the way she typed. I wanted to know more about her.

One in a hundred you

Amy C. Howard