Strike the Sun.

June 15, 2012

“Hark ye yet again- the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event- in the living act, the undoubted deed- there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike though the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ’tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.”

-Moby Dick. Chapter 36.

If this hasn’t already been used as the cover of a heavy metal album, it should be.

I’ve never read Moby Dick nor do I plan to in the near future.  A friend sent that to me after we shared a few beers and I told him a few things I’d like to accomplish before I stop competing in weightlifting.  Well, the conversation was more than just that.  I told him about how much I love weightlifting, how it was probably the worst thing to ever happen to me (financially) and how much I’m going to miss it when I can’t do it the way that I’d like to anymore.  It gives me identity.  It gives me something to look forward to everyday.  It’s not even that I think I’m particularly good at it.  I’ve just been doing it for so long that it’s become a part of who I am.  And when the time comes to leave it behind and move onto something else (hopefully something more lucrative) part of me will feel like I’m leaving myself behind.  Another part of me will be relieved.

I love coaching.  I plan on doing it long after my time lifting weights has ended (competitively.  I still plan on getting jacked and swole out of my mind till I die).  But coaching is not what gets me out of bed in the morning.  There is something else that plagues me. 150/180.  It’s a very simple, very mundane, very unimpressive goal.  You might read that and think, “Really? That’s only a little bit more than you’re lifting right now.  A 330 total wouldn’t even guarantee you a spot on the podium.”  True.  But here’s the thing about goals: you have to know that you’re capable of reaching them.  I know with every fiber of my being that my body is capable of snatching 150 and clean and jerking 180.  It is only a matter of timing, keeping my body healthy and adjusting to any changes that I might need to make in training.  I’d rather take a long walk off a short pier than end my competitive training before I see my goals unrealized.

Here’s to chasing after your white whale, no matter what it may be.  And then shooting it with a giant harpoon gun.

-Ben

One Response to “Strike the Sun.”

  1. Joshua Cline said

    Mastodon used a version of this for their Leviathon album. I have a version of this tattooed on my right arm (pics on facebook). The book Moby Dick (read it too) has had a profound effect on my life. Everyone has a white whale dude, some people just stop chasing it and give up. Dont ever stop chasing your white whale, even after you have caught it and stabbed it with a giant harpoon gun.

    When I was 18 I decided to become a professional chef. I wrote down all of the goals that I had that I thought I could achieve by the time I was 30. At 28 I had achieved all of them and then some. At that time I had to rethink what I was doing it for. I then wrote down a new set of goals and am now working on kicking their ass too.

    This song tells the story beautifully.

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