Friday 5 for April 29: In Memoriam

Squeezed April 29, 2011

Like Mitchell at Friday5.org, I too knew Ryan Suenaga. I won’t rehash my tribute here, but I do want to add that in Gene Park’s excellent Storify story done as part of his obituary for Ryan, my contribution is the picture of Mount Olomana located just after the jump (credited under my nom d’Internet, pineapplejuice). It’s in his honor that I take this week’s questions on:

1. If you were suddenly unable to make any excuses, what could you realistically do today to address whatever in your life is keeping you from being healthy and happy?

I think I’ve reached a time in my life where I’m probably the happiest that I’ve been in a while. That is to say, nothing’s thrown me completely off balance. Physically, I’ve gone from being significantly underweight, to ideal, to being slight overweight, at least as far as BMI is concerned. But I have run eleven marathons and counting. There’s room for improvement in both departments, of course.

I’ve found that my magic formula for staying happy is remembering that whatever happens to me, God has a higher plan. To the extent I try to force things and stray from that sweet spot, that’s when I feel tension, unhappiness, feelings of deprivation, etc. I’ve gone through a lot…abandoned a career path that I thought I was meant for, lost family members and friends along the way. But I know that there’s a plan at work here, and just pray each day for the strength to keep the faith and do what I was meant to do.

2. What are your feelings about professional wrestling?

I watch it every so often but not as much as before. These days, at least in the WWE, it’s become less about athleticism (your off-the-top-rope maneuvers and finishing), and more like a bad soap opera.

3. What is the brightest, most colorful article of clothing you actually wear once in a while?

My normal clothing is pretty subdued—I tend toward earth tones, reds, browns, tans, and beiges. Occasionally blues and blacks when the occasion calls for it. My most colorful clothes in my wardrobe, though, are my finisher shirts for the Honolulu Marathon. Sometimes they’re tasteful, understated maroons, yellows, blues, and such. But the shirt I have for the 2009 marathon is a microfiber shirt that is—I swear I am not making this up—fluorescent chartreuse. And yes, I do wear it to work from time to time.

4. What’s something you do, not because you want to or because someone’s compelling you, but because it’s the right thing to do?

Actually, this is not something that I do, but something that I choose not to do. Yes, I know alcohol is American culture’s widely accepted social lubricant. But my father’s side of the family has an unfortunate history with it—problems with drinking to excess, leading to liver problems. Soon after I lost my father at age 16 to complications from his treatment for a liver condition, I made the decision that whatever happened to my grandfather, my uncle, and my dad, would not happen to me. I am probably one of the only people in America who went to a mainstream college and avoided alcohol entirely, and not for religious reasons.

And twenty years later, I’m still true to my promise. This has put me in awkward positions at times—my good friend’s bachelor party, for instance. I have been in confrontations where I’ve had to resist—strongly—efforts to get me to drink. And it has limited, somewhat, my options for social interaction. I don’t feel entirely comfortable in a place when others are indulging (and maybe overindulging) in alcohol. It’s like being a vegetarian in a steak house. But if I have to, I find ways to cope.

(Edit: Clarifying that last paragraph—restaurants are OK. Bars and nightclubs, though, make me feel like a fish out of water.)

(Speaking of vegetarianism, I have great respect for vegetarians and wouldn’t even think of pressuring them to try my filet mignon. Most others I know are of like mind. Sometimes I wonder why teetotalers don’t get the same level of respect. But that’s another entry.)

Still, I know that my decision to be a teetotaler will mean that I may live longer and avoid the problems that come with drinking to excess. That’s a good outcome in itself.

5. What’s a food you’ll keep eating until it either runs out or someone stops bringing it to the table?

Put a King Arthur’s Supreme pizza from Round Table Pizza on the table, and I’ll keep eating it until it’s gone or I’m stuffed. It’s that good.

One Response to “Friday 5 for April 29: In Memoriam”

  1. Alice Says:

    I, too, don’t drink alcohol, mainly for health reasons. I want to feel and look younger 15 years from now. So I’m another American who avoided alcohol altogether.

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