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War Mode

By: Devan Robinson

"When you have to shoot, shoot.  Don't talk." -Tuco from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.


My Dad would never give us the answers.  It would drive my brothers and I nuts.

Can't you just tell us what to do?

We thought it was so strange and counterintuitive.  Mark Robinson was an apex-predator roaming the plains of capitalism and we had him pegged.  We knew there was no better animal to learn from.  The luckiest kids on Earth.  Dad had an intensely curious & competitive mind paired with the stomach of a riverboat gambler; that rare combination that compounds.  All three of us completely adored the man.

Come on old man, can't you point us in the right direction?  Give us a hint?

The older I get I see the wisdom in how he was raising us.  His idea was that we had to be able to make our own decisions.  He wouldn't give us the answer because often there isn't one.  Right answers exist in quizzes.  Once you're past quizzes we're all playing poker against the universe.  That's where the game lies.

He was helping us build our mental latticework instead.  The latticework that only comes from a web of mistakes and victories and curiosity.  Pull the thread of curiosity and just let it unravel on it's own.  When in doubt just keep pulling the thread; it's your instinct guiding you to the answers you're looking for.


War Mode

I can't help myself; I'm a spaghetti-western junkie.

After a few gloriously-fun months of complete-remission my cancer nemesis has reemerged.  I hate to break it: relapse.  Last week I noticed I was looking jaundiced so I had it checked out: my liver was swelling, being agitated by the cancer.

Let's cut to the chase: How am I doing?  I'm fine, really.  Obviously I wasn't thrilled at the news but I always knew it would come back eventually.   

Some cancers, if you're lucky, can be dealt with swiftly and decisively.  Most others are brutal wars of attrition that never really go away.  In this group cancer is a stray bullet stalking you wherever you go.  Hence the word remission, not cured.

It never bothered me much; I'm an Epictetus-man through and through.  Issues out of my control don't dwell in my mind too long; it's unwise and pointless.  I control what I can personally control and that's it.  I don't make payments on debts I don't owe.

I'm going to be honest though: a relapse this quickly is, uh...not ideal.  By any measure.

But here's the dichotomy: funny enough, I've been sleeping like a baby.  It's that faulty Robinson-confidence again.  I simply believe I will win in the end and my instinct is screaming the obstacle is the wayWhen the only way out is through, you push.  I know I can take it.

I caught you

See, here's the thing: cancer made a tactical-error this time.  He ambushed me the first go around.  It was a good ambush too.  Before I even knew what was happening I was in intense-pain, being fed through a feeding tube, and down 40+ lbs in a month.  Not to mention the shell-shock of my new reality.

This time I caught him first.  I spotted him.  It's a small detail but an important one.  I knew the fight would come back eventually and I'm more than ready to brawl.  The past few months have been full of family fun, eating big, and slapping muscle back on.  The happy-warrior is energized.  This time I have the high-ground.

No pain.  

No shellshock.  

No ambush.  

Cancer flinched.  I never did.  I beat him down to remission once and I'll do it again.  I will find a way to win.

It's high-stakes poker against the devil himself but I have a fighting hand this time.

Thanks for the latticework old man.  This decision's easy,

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