Defective Personality…

“My greatness is the sum of all my personality defects.  Well, most of them anyway.”  Me

Personality defect #1:  Growing Up Cohen…

This I know:  My mother and father loved me very much.  My childhood was safe, and my opportunities were numerous.  I was never threatened, abused, or otherwise compromised as a child.  I was taught right from wrong, good from bad, truth from dishonesty, and to say please and thank you to everything that moved.  And for all of this I was loved, housed, fed well, and given 50 cents per week.

My childhood might not quite have been the Ozzie and Harriet show, but it more closely resembled the TV life of the 1950s than it did the Ozzie and Sharon show.  Still, from an early age I developed a strong desire to withdraw from my family, from my social peers, and spend a great deal of time in self-imposed isolation.

It wasn’t enough to be alone though, I had to be moving while I was alone.  I would ride my bike, skateboard, swim, dive in the pool, shoot baskets, or just walk for hours at a time, and could not be any happier for my introverted exertions.  At an early age, solitary exercise was my house of worship, and remains my sanctuary to this day.


Still the best way I know to be alone…

The two go well together for me; solitary and exercise. Give me one without the other, and they will each be appreciated.  Give me both, and they become trans-formative medicine.

Personality defect #2: Mass Appeal…

I can’t remember the first time I really took notice of a person’s musculature.  Maybe I was 12 or so.  It might have been a football player on TV, a bodybuilder, a guy swinging a sledge hammer on a road crew, I’m not sure.  I do know this; that from a very early age, the sight of lean, well formed, larger than normal muscles on a person compelled me – male or female.

Not just on people either.  As a child I would stare for hours at pictures of Seattle Slew and other race horses of the era.  The lean musculature of racehorses had a gravity my eyes could not resist.  My mom couldn’t get me out of the primate exhibit at the zoo either – the width of a gorilla’s back, and the squareness of his chest was something I wanted too.  There has always been something about the ornamental quality of large muscles in motion which has captivated me.

Triceps are a little weak, but LOVE his chest....

Triceps are a little weak, but LOVE his chest….

At some point, maybe near middle school, I made this connection; that I possessed the ability to go from just looking at and admiring muscle, to becoming the muscle.  On this realization, the course of my life began to take shape.  Personality defects #1 and #2 were about merge into the pathway expressway on which I would haul through the rest of my life.

Personality defect #3:  Hardworking In All The Wrong Places…

As my desire to create muscle on myself increased, I required more and more time in isolation to work on the muscle project.  My requirement for solitary exercise would now consume me.

By the time high school came along, it had gotten in the way of my solitary exercise.  I was so involved, as both the sculptor, and the sculpture, that I released myself from high school on my own recognizance.

Drop out.  Chalk up.  Lift.

Too cool for school...

Too cool for school…

Solitary exercise, in the form of weightlifting, had become my single biggest priority.  Oh, and there were also the sprint workouts which I began to do 2-3 times per week, which I enjoyed much for the challenge, and the conditioning, but also for the solitude.

As my adult life would further unfold, solitary exercise would expand to include running, cycling, surfing, kayaking, and more.  The older I got, the more important my medicinal movement became. It also became my livelihood.

Personality defect #4:  The World Begins With Me…

It is this defect, #4, that enabled defects #1 and #2 to become defect #3.  I put myself first in most situations – for most of my life.  I think science may have it wrong.  From my vantage point, the universe is didn’t actually begin until the day I was born – and that’s how I have lived for most of my life.

I like to think that I’m no longer as selfish as I was for the first 5 decades of my life.  I now recognize that there are 7 billion persons on Earth not named Roy Cohen.  With this realization, I think it’s fair to say that I have become a pretty giving person of my time, of my money, of my heart, and of myself.

My solitary exercise is still the largest part of my life, though I now include others more frequently as I partake in the joy of wearing myself down – wanting to share the experience.  In running, hiking, lifting, and cycling with others, I have learned to be more malleable in my exercise ways, and am finding new life from my movements, and fostered new friendships that have enriched my life.

Personality defect #5:  Reconciling Utility vs. Fulfillment…

As I have written before, it’s my belief that the car with the most, and the hardest miles on it will likely go to the junkyard first.  Of course maintenance, quality of fuel, and quality of miles are factors, but using the body to excess is not necessarily a recipe for a ripe old age.  Still, I push hard, and I push daily.

I won’t know until much  later in life whether all my personality defects, and my lust for movement have served me well, or will have beaten me down.  It will probably be a little of each, but that’s how life is.

Going equine one more time.   Seattle Slew-perman...

Going equine one more time. Seattle Slew-perman…

Of course these are not all my personality defects, only the ones which serve this essay.  I’m not a bright man, but I’m guessing I have a personality defect or two that I’m not willing to advertise.  So for those who truly know me, PLEASE feel free this week to drop them into the comments section and help fuel the conversation.  Be well.  rc


Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.
Oh, and there is this from the Grande Roses, enjoy…

31 responses

  1. Pictures of Dave Draper’s 18″ guns in the comic books aroused thoughts of total muscular domination in more than a few young lads of your and my generation. I think that the salient point is that you evidently figured out early on that people mostly just got in the way of your solitary pursuit of muscle mass. What do you think was the trade off? Do people still mostly just get in the way?

    • Love that question Robert. People get in the way of everything I do, and do so all day long. Funny though, Everything I do, I am doing for them. At least that’s how it feels most days…

    • Thanks Dawn. You’re way too sweet. I really hope you stop in when you’re in town some time. Would be an honor to break bread with you –except we’ll have to do it without bread…

  2. Too funny; I don’t remember you playing much football, basketball or hockey (fence wrecking doesn’t count!) with us yet you’re probably the fittest of the old gang these days! Ever think you missed out on your calling in a team sport?

    • Actually Doug, I played them all. By the time your path and mine intersected, I had been kicked off all the teams. I played hockey at Alpine Ice Center through the 5th or 6th grade, then got beat up by a kid named Evan DeMuth one night, and never went back.

      Then I fell in with a bunch guys who drank competitively — believe they were called the Acabars, yes…?

      • The “Ack Ackabars” actually…by the way, Mike Hollstein is staying with us tomorrow night. Hope no one “loses” their car! 🙂

      • You gotta love an unofficial drinking team. First one to pass out wins. Reflecting on young Mr. Gilbert (then) taking off his shirt and puking into it at someone’s house — so he wouldn’t get the carpet dirty. That man has class!

  3. I agree with Tamara – always learning too so the learning about yourself is important too!

    Funny, I knew I was shy as a kid & very insecure YET I joined group school activities/sports to try to fit in & be liked… did this thru high school & was scared shitless every time I was up there in front of people cause I never learned to like myself – total opposite of your “defect: which I wish I had more of…

    After college – just work & school – I started into the more me working out alone thing EXCEPT for when I took aerobic classes & worked out with a person before my bodybuilding contests BUT to me, it was still me alone & not with others.. I still prefer that today. I did do 5ks for a bit but it was more me against me…

    I agree with the too much thing too – bodybuilding showed me that part As much as I liked it & was scared shitless at the same time when I got on stage, I did learn that the eat alot to gain & diet to extreme was not for me. I know you are doing that BUT I also know you understand it & this competition this year is for you personally…

    Crap too wordy! I think that all this led up for you to learn Roy – isn’t that what it is about – learn from your mistakes… 🙂

  4. i feel like i need to go to a self help group, stand up and say, “hi. my name is debra. and i am a cohen.” i can relate to the desire for isolation and quiet and it’s a real struggle for me as a single mom to get any personal space (both in body and in my head). anyhow, well written and is the Hollstein referred to in post above the one from longmeadow??

    • Thanks Cohen, ehr, Deb. Genetically and spiritually joined, we are. Much appreciate your taking the time, I know you keep pretty private.

      The age old question; are we seeking solitude to escape from something, or to escape to something else. Probably a bit of both for me.

      And this was a different Hollstein.

  5. Finding that balance between selfish and selfless seems to be a challenge for most of us. Like the leaning tower of Pisa, we often have too much lean in one direction or the other.

    Try not to tip over, brother 🙂

  6. I had a sister who weighed close to 300 lbs. and once pile drove me through a dictionary stand. I think that large people, or should I say size, whether fat or muscular, is often merely a way of controlling real estate. Nobody fucks with the big guy, or girl for that matter.

    Is it unfair to wonder if the body building pursuit is merely a way of creating personal distance? Forgive the gross generalization but please break down the self obsessed narcissistic personality disorder one more time…Of course my own ncp disorder just took a different left turn off the freeway.

    I have noticed that gym rats and hair stylists often share the same love for the quick furtive glance at the closest mirror. Harder habit to break then texting in the car. Is it healthy?

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