Living With a SEAL
Living With a SEAL

Living With a SEAL

I like routine. And routine can be good, especially when it comes to working out. But routine can also be a rut. Many of us live our lives on autopilot. We do the same thing every day; wake up, go to work, come home, have dinner. Repeat. I found myself drifting in that direction. It was as if my cruise control settings had been set and I wasn’t improving. I wanted to get off it; I wanted to shake things up in a big way. (Location 31)

He just sat there all by himself in a folding chair with his arms crossed waiting for the race to start. No stretching, no prep, no fancy shoes, and no teammates. No smiling. He just sat quietly with a don’t-fuck-with-me expression on his face. His supplies for twenty-four hours: one box of crackers and water. That’s it. (Location 91)

The guy was a cross between a gladiator and the G.I. Joe action hero my son has, but life size. He looked indestructible. Battle tested. Dangerous. Alone. Determined. (Location 94)

“I’m trained to disappear. You won’t EVER even know when I’m here.” (Location 136)

“It’s fourteen degrees outside,” I say. “To you it’s fourteen degrees ’cause you’re telling yourself it’s fourteen degrees!” (Location 142)

“The temperature is what you think it is, bro, not what your computer thinks it is. If you think it’s fourteen degrees, then it’s fourteen degrees. Personally, I’m looking at it like it’s in the mid-fifties.” (Location 146)

“Well, then, what’s the strategy in the heat?” “In extreme heat, it’s a totally different mind-set, bro. You have to get medieval. Embrace it! Grind it out. Think about how others are suffering. Enjoy the pain.” (Location 158)

I like to sit back and enjoy the pain. I earned it. —SEAL (Location 205)

SEAL just sits there, staring straight ahead. He doesn’t move off the chair. He doesn’t go to the bathroom. I’m not even sure he blinks. He’s just staring. (Location 403)

SEAL throws a banana at me and says, “Fuel up.” I have only eaten airport food all day and I’m starving. I’d love to order in Josie’s, the local health food restaurant, but that’s not on SEAL’s menu. His specials tonight are tossed bananas and running miles. (Location 413)

“When you think you’re done, you’re only at forty percent of what your body is capable of doing. That’s just the limit that we put on ourselves.” (Location 582)

His room doesn’t need cleaning—ever! Military corners, you could bounce a quarter off the bed after he makes it, all his gear is stowed. I mean, the bedroom looks like it’s right out of a boot camp. (Location 598)

According to SEAL, if my driver, Smith, was a minute late, it was because he didn’t study the routes correctly. If there was traffic, Smith should have anticipated the accident. In looking back on it now, I’m not sure SEAL was wrong. He was taught that if you have a job to do, you do it with 120 percent effort. I have been operating under the assumption that if someone that works for me does something 80 percent of the way I would do it, that’s enough. SEAL is teaching me that we can all do so much more. (Location 606)

“Your runs are too predictable,” SEAL says as he stares at me stone-faced. “Predictable?” “Yeah, motherfucker… predictable. It’s like your legs know what’s coming next. It’s making shit too comfy. Your body is used to your bullshit jogging routine. Gear up and meet me in five; we’re doing intervals.” (Location 812)

About one mile into the run, I have to pee so bad it hurts. If I could cross my legs, I would. I ask SEAL if we can pull over. “SEAL, man, I gotta pee… BAD.” “NOW? In the middle of the fucking run? On my time? Why didn’t you plan your piss BEFORE the run? What the fuck do you think you’re doing pissing now when this is run time? This isn’t piss time.” (Location 961)

I point at the tent. “That’s a tent.” “OHHHH! It’s a tent,” I say. “Yep!” “I know it’s a fucking tent, but why?” “’Cause I’m gonna sleep in it tonight.” “You’re gonna sleep in a tent? In a bedroom? On Central Park West?” “Yes.” “Can I ask why?” “Oxygen deprivation.” “Huh?” “This tent deprives you of oxygen.” SEAL zips himself in and says, “I’m training too, dude. Kill the lights.” (Location 1126)

“How are your driving skills?” “I’m well trained.” We start driving back to the city. SEAL apparently is a defensive driver. I note that he even uses the turn signal to pull out of the driveway. (Location 1384)

SEAL has about ten pills in his hand, and he throws them all back in his mouth in one giant handful. He then takes a swig of water and opens his mouth. (Location 1405)

SEAL believes push-ups are the single best exercise for strength. He also believes proper form is the key. You get more out of ten push-ups the right way than thirty done improperly. Proper form: back straight, ass up slightly, neck straight (don’t drop your neck). Go down and break ninety degrees with elbows, and make sure your chest hits the floor. Go all the way up (until arm is fully extended). (Location 1538)

SEAL would laugh at how simple his life was and how complicated mine was. I would have a call list for the day, a schedule, my bag, appointments, calendars, and such, and he would literally grab his military card and $50, and that was all he needed for the day. That was his whole existence. He didn’t have a car, a house, or anything to tie him down. If I fly someplace for a weekend, I always have to check my bag. He showed up at my house with a backpack. For thirty-plus days. One backpack. We have closets full of shit we never use, millions of pictures we took that we never look at, stacks of files that collect dust. He’s a master at keeping it simple, and I have to say his simplicity looks attractive to me. I sort of want what he has, but I still want what I have. (Location 1684)