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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, January 07, 2005

Friday Factoid

I used to be a top model and a top fencer... Posted by Hello

Part of my New Year's resolution was to release personal information about myself. Not anything like my name, social security number, or home address. I don't need people who don't know me arguing over trivia like my personal life.

This blog is supposed to be about ideas, idearrs for those of you in the North-East.

Some twenty, or so, years ago, I was wicked with a blade. Traipse around Europe doing the World Cup. I fell into the modeling gig because what is an American 'WetBack' gonna' do to make a living?

I made commercials. I walked the catwalk for the likes of Versace, Gucci, Trussardi, et al. You could see my likeness in the cardboard inserts for pajama and underwear packaging at Euromarche, the equivalent of Walmart. A professional coathanger, nothing more.

That was twenty years ago and - 30 pounds ago. And of all the wonderful people and assholes I knew back then - not one of then has a blog...

Update: in the comments John asks if I still fence at all. My response was way too large for the comments page.

The short answer is yes, no, maybe.

Just last night I had my old coach over trying to get me help him with his fencing school and to go for a masters license.

My problem is I once competed on the highest levels, trained with World Cup champions, and medalled in tournaments with hundreds of entries. Most of this was in Europe where fencing is treated as a real sport. As a martial art it is the only one I know of where you can totally surrender to spirit of combat and feel free that no one will get hurt.

Returning to local competitions where the turnout was the same handful of fencers, I lost the zeal that drove me to compete. The local jealousies, the petty loyalties to style, and the politics of personalities drove me away. Maybe I felt like a big fish in a small pond. Maybe I felt that this was beneath me. Maybe I was an asshole.

Over the last 25 years I have competed, coached, refereed, organized competitions, been part of the local league, and even video taped with large screen projection of youth tournaments. Yet most of my medals are in a trunk, albeit I have few swords and a mask as a wall decoration.

This last year I have dreamed about fencing. Never about the actual combat but rather about registering for an important competition and trying to get there in time. While active in the sport I never dreamed about it except once when I was nineteen.

It was a dark and stormy night (hey, I didn’t write the dream) and an armed man, dressed in black and very, very pre-emptive bald, entered the room of what could only be called a rustic inn. And he says to me, “ So, you think you are the Champion.”

I am armed with a knitting needle (a fucking knitting needle?) and wound the attacking man in the wrist, the elbow, and the shoulder. After showing such great fencing technique and point control, he grapples with me whereupon I proceed to saw off his head with a fucking knitting needle, before we both plunge through the plate glass window.

The next scene in the dream sequence is searching for my body, lantern held high, during a dark and stormy night in the bluffs below the inn with a broken window.

Weird, huh? Thank God I don’t have many dreams of this sort.

I have never really fantasized about seeking a libertarian justice in the court of last resort - not in my nature. For some that might contradict my choice of using Scaramouche as a pen name. Although, I do understand the concept of dueling having written papers in high school and college on the matter, I am sure I could kick Zell Miller’s ass if it came to swords.

Sometimes I wish I stuck to pole vaulting….

John, I don't think you want the long answer.