Sergeant Tony's Blog

FLIPPY FLOPPIES — Newsletter for 4/15/09

Wednesday, Apr. 15th 2009 10:59 AM

Once upon a time there was an elephant and four blind men.

The blind men wanted to know what an elephant was like, so their caretakers took them up to the elephant so that they could touch it.

The first man was taken to the front of the giant beast, where he grabbed the elephant’s trunk and immediately declared to his friends, “The elephant is like a mighty snake!”

The second man, with his hands holding the elephant’s leg, said “Oh no, you’re mistaken, the elephant is like a tree!”

The third blind man, with both of his hands on the side of the animal, protested “You are both wrong, the elephant is like a massive wall!”

The fourth man, totally confused by what he heard his friends say, shouted out “NO! NO! NO! What is wrong with you three, the elephant is like a rope!” while holding the elephants tail.

I’ll bet you’ve heard this parable before. It illustrates the error of assuming that the whole of a thing can be understood by knowing only a fraction of a thing.

Have you ever been misunderstood, criticized, and wrongfully punished? This happened a LOT when I was young (see last week’s story!). My kid sister — I love my kid sister! — was also my first audience and my first victim. But she was a pretty good actress too. She and I would get into an argument and she’d run off to our mother and start crying fake tears on the way. My mother would immediately assume that I had done something wrong and punish me. No trial. No evidence. Only my sister’s crocodile tears to convict me. One Friday afternoon I got grounded for the entire weekend because of those fake tears. Thanks a lot, sis.

Don’t feel too sorry for me. (Not that any of you would!) But I got even with my sister. A LOT! Once when she went off to summer camp she came back to find that I’d turned her Barbie Dream House into Bordello Barbie’s Chicken Ranch. My G.I. Joes, all sailors and Marines, in with the fleet, were partying with her Malibu Barbies. Brown-chicken-brown-cow.

Oh, yes. I got punished for that one. BIG TIME! But it was SO worth it! My mother didn’t think Boogie Nights was that funny. Whatever, mom.

A literary device used for centuries — found in books, ancient stories, and modern screenplays — has the innocent hero misunderstood, wrongfully accused, and often unjustly punished. The audience knows the truth, yet understands the circumstantial evidence that has led others to come to the wrong conclusion. The audience is drawn into the hero’s struggle to be vindicated and absolved. We pull for the wrongfully accused and hope that he will get justice and be found innocent. We also want the accusers to feel sorry and ashamed.

Greek tragedies, Shakespearian tragedies, and movies like “Mystic River,” have no vindication and no absolution. At the end there is only hopelessness and error.

The teaching point from these stories is this: we know the truth yet we know why the hero is misunderstood — and we relate to both! We are guilty of the same mistake. We take 10% of a story and fabricate the other 90%. And here’s the evil of it. If we like the person in question, we assume the other 90% is good or benign. If we don’t like the person, we assume the other 90% is malicious.

And we jack this up all the time.

There is an elephant in front of you today.

Be patient.

You may be holding the tail.

Be slow to presume the whole. Be quick to assume the best. The odds of you knowing 100% of anything about another person is zero and none. Especially since you struggle to know yourself or why you do the things that you do.

Every major religion has a teaching of reciprocity. The golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” it says in Matthew 7.

Add this Shinto teaching to your dealings with others today: “The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form”



If you see an ad on Facebook for USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, do NOT click on it!

Facebook charges me for every click on that ad! That’s how Facebook makes its money! One of you told me that you click on it EVERY TIME!!



Many of you took the short version of the Jung-Myers-Briggs personality survey when you joined USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP.

If you’ve not taken the survey you should! It’s very interesting. The above link will take you there. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to take. Not only does it help in your understanding of yourself, but it can give you guidance into other things like your career choices.



Tomorrow morning the 0530 class will meet at the University of Memphis for our Mt. Fuji workout! Meet in the parking lot in front of the parking garage on Zach Curlin. Bring your dumbbells!

There will be no 0530 workout at Christ Methodist.



Your training is complete! You are now a Half Marathon Jedi!

Your only running between now and then should be short distance tempo runs or easy runs of no more than 3 to 5 miles.

Boot Campers will be running half marathons in Nashville, St. Louis, and Louisville! How cool is that?!

There will be no organized run this coming Saturday. Good luck to you all! Be sure to email me your post race stories!



I try to promote and patronize Boot Campers in their businesses. I am also a member of a business networking group (BNI – Business Networking International) that meets weekly to promote one another’s businesses.

Every week I’ll be introducing you to three businesses, either owned by one of you guys or one of my BNI buddies. Maybe you’re not a business owner, but you work on commission and would like to be mentioned, please send me your info!

Today’s Big Three are:

1. Dr. Amy Moffatt (Boot Camper — slacker) MobileVet Memphis — bringing the clinic to you! A fully equipped clinic on wheels for wellness care, routine surgeries, dentistry, bloodwork and more. She has been practicing veterinary medicine in Memphis since 2002 and went mobile in November 2008. Evening and weekend appointments available. $10 off your first trip fee if you mention Boot Camp! 901-569-3683

2. Will Levy (Boot Camper) Oak Hall — Special Promotion: Buy one, get the second at half price SALE! Call Will or go into the store and let him help you get something awesome for spring! 6150 Poplar Ave # 146
Memphis, TN 38119 (901) 761-3580

3. Art Johnson (Boot Camper — on leave) — Savvy Spirit — personalized, high quality, but simple brochure-style web site design.


If you knew that you only had one hour to live, and could only speak to 10 people, who would they be? They’re the ones who count the most!

To your continued good health and fitness,


Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
4888 Southern Ave
Memphis, TN 38117

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