My favorite Esquire magazine feature is called “What I’ve Learned.”
It’s not written by a magazine staffer. it’s written by famous non-staffers. Guys like Dennis Hopper, Robert De Nero, Jeff Bezos, and Rodney Dangerfield.
I thought that Esquire would ask me to write for that feature, especially since Monday was my birthday and all. But so far the phone hasn’t rung.
Unitl they do, I’m going to update and republish my own feature on my birthday. So here’s the 2011 installment of …
“What I’ve Learned, “ by Tony Ludlow
Best advice my mother ever gave me: “Son, you can do anything or be anything you want … if you put your mind to it.”
Worst advice my mother ever gave me: Basically everything she told me about girls was wrong, wrong, wrong. Sorry mom, but “be nice, be sweet, be complimentary, give them gifts” was a little flawed. Besides, bein’ sweet feels icky.
My grandfather told me that it was unnecessary to tell others “how smart you are, how much money you have, or what you’ve accomplished in life.” They’ll know without you telling them. And if they don’t know, declaring it will only bore them.
What he told me about being smart: the person who speaks last, or not at all, is the smartest person in the room. You’ve got two ears and one mouth. Do the math.
What he told me about money: the love of it is evil. Obsession over it will ruin your life. Opulence and extravagance are sins. Live below your means. Pay off your credit card bill at the end of the month. Be a good tipper.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
What he told me about accomplishments: accumulate them for your own benefit because no one is going to be that interested in hearing about them.
Most profound thing I was told at 18: “Your country has provided you with 18 years of freedom, opportunity, security, and happiness … now it’s time to give something back. Join the Marine Corps or the Peace Corps, but find a way to serve your country and your fellow man.”
What the Marine Corps taught me: the meaning of self discipline, perseverance, courage, pride, leadership, honor, and the power of humor. My academic vitae will not be on my headstone, but “Marine” will be.
For my sons and the players I coached I composed a list of 50 Things Gentleman Should Be. Here are 10 of those that I shared with the MUS student body last year.
1. A Gentleman stands up to greet a woman, an older person, or a superior. When in doubt, get to your feet.
2. A Gentleman dresses appropriately for the occasion. When in doubt, dress up.
3. A Gentleman reads books. He knows that the written word feeds his mind, gives him pleasure, and helps to make him a more interesting man.
4. A Gentleman places great value on honor and loyalty.
5. A Gentleman’s handshake is as good as his word and his word is as good as a signed contract.
6. A Gentleman is confident without being arrogant.
7. A Gentleman can say “I’m sorry, I was wrong” and mean it.
8. A Gentleman knows the names of those who serve them – the janitor, the clerk, the salesperson – and treats them respectfully and without condescension.
9. A Gentleman doesn’t stare, leer, or gawk at an attractive woman. Act like you’ve seen one before.
10. A Gentleman doesn’t scratch, yawn, spit, or make “body noises” in public.
Women who are confident and clever are the most attractive women I know! And if they like to smile and if they have a great laugh … that’s the best!
If I’ve been dating a woman for a couple of months and she “out of the blue” doesn’t want to see me anymore, (like THAT’S ever happened!) it was probably something I did. If she was attracted to me at one point and then suddenly wasn’t, then I probably did something to kill the attraction.
(Next week I’m going to tell single women why they’re single. Stay tuned! I’ll probably start getting death threats!)
Attraction is not a choice. But it can be sabotaged or assassinated.
I don’t trust extremes, political, religious, or social activist.
I don’t trust people with agendas. They usually just want my money.
I don’t trust people who don’t have many friends, especially not many long term friends.
I don’t trust people whose friends all come from one gene pool and one ethnic color.
I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs and I don’t trust the people who aren’t liked by dogs.
There is no accounting for taste (“WHAT does she see in THAT guy?” has been asked since the Stone Age).
The true measure of a man has nothing to do with bank accounts or possessions.
Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt, a second opportunity, and a chance to be forgiven.
A great smile, like a great laugh, all come from the heart! I can’t think of anything better than those two things.
I’ve learned the difference between style and substance. Good conversation trumps good looks every single time!
I’ve learned to define “enough.” It’s different from settling.
When I meet someone for the first time, I fully expect to like them. New people start out with an “A” in my book.
I’ve learned that the attitude someone has, the way they process the world around them, the spirit that they use to engage life, and the energy they exude everyday are more important than looks, money, beauty, or education. A good attitude will compensate for a lack in those four things. Beautiful, rich, and educated will never compensate for someone who’s boring, foul, or negative.
Knowing who you are is the most important knowledge you’ll acquire. I am not my khakis, my bank account, my car, my house, my status, my age, my job, or my family name. It took me a long time to figure that out.
Everyone has these three things in limited supply and they must be respected and treated with care: time, energy, and money. Don’t waste anyone’s or your own.
I’ve made many mistakes and I have many regrets … but not even God can change the past, so forgive yourself and move on, as best as you can … and purpose to do better.
Find out what the right thing is to do, and then do that.
RIVER PIRATES SETTNG SAIL – SIGN UP NOW!!
WHITEWATER RAFTING VOYAGE IN AUGUST
The River Pirates of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP set sail on August 27th! Wanna join the crew?
Would you like to go to the Ocoee River and do some whitewater rafting?
We’ve taken groups in the past to the Ocoee and had LOTS of fun! You don’t have to be experienced at all. Beginners have the best stories to tell!
If you’d like to go, call Ocoee Outdoors (our outfitter), mention my name for the group, and then let me know that you’ll be part of the crew! Ocoee Outdoors is 1-800-533-7767. You can find more details on the website blog called “Whitewater Rafing.”
I GOTTA GUY!!!
I like to share the names of people I do business with and trust so that if you need services that they offer you’ll know someone trustworthy to contact.
1. Margaret Caffey.
Thinking about a trip to Walt Disney World, Universal to see Harry Potter, or maybe a Disney Cruise – Margaret Caffey has turned her passion for all things Disney into a career and is now a travel agent with MEI & Mouse Fan Travel. For all your Disney travel planning or just to ask a question call Margaret at 901-828-6354. Also please take a second to ‘like’ her Facebook page at Mouse Fan Margaret. (https://www.facebook.com/login/setashome.php?ref=login#!/pages/Mouse-Fan-Margaret/130316623686981).
PS – I hear she knows a lot about all the cruise lines too! Margret is MY personal Disney trip planner! No one, and I mean NO ONE, knows more about Disney than Mags!
2. Randal Rhea, Attorney at Law. Our own “heavy hitter!” Tickets, criminal matters, divorces, and such. 901-299-0596
3. Richard Bourland – “Your Boot Camp Handyman” – Home Improvement, Carpentry, Custom Bunk Beds and other Woodworking Services, email@example.com, 901.826-6695. www.midsouthbunkbeds.com
You can see a much longer and detailed list of people I refer on the USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website blog page. Once on the blog page use the search window, keyword “Buddy,” and it’ll take you to that page.
If you drop my name, you might get a discount. But for sure you’ll get their sympathy and prayers!
If you’d like to be listed here in “I GOTTA GUY” just let me know!
UNEMPLOYED PERSON’S DISCOUNT
If you’ve been a Boot Camper in the past and you are currently unemployed, you can get a special discount. Email me for the details. Seriously! Email me! NOW! And don’t be embarrassed. I will make you an offer that you can’t refuse. Seriously.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FIRE DEPARTMENT DISCOUNTS
Police Officers, Sheriff’s Deputies, and Memphis Firefighters qualify for a special discount! It’s the least I can do to ensure that our law enforcement officers and firefighters are fit for their job!! Pass the word!
BOGA tomorrow morning at 0530.
NEXT TUESDAY, AUGUST 2 (the 12 year anniversary of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP) M-16 WORKOUT AT 0530 AT CUMC!
SGT. TONY’S HALF MARATHON TRAINING!
It’s getting close.
Training for the St. Jude Half Marathon begins on Saturday, September 4. My training program is perfect for the first time half marathoner as well as the half marathon veteran!
Can you do this?
If by the end of August you can run 3 miles without stopping in under 35 min, you’ll be ready to begin training. This assumes that you’re doing an hour of continuous cardio on the weekends. There’s 5 weeks to get ready! Not sure? Let’s talk.
Training is open to all.
Cost for the three month program is $75 for members of USMC Fitness Boot Camp and $120 for non-boot campers.
Anytime the heat index is 100 or above we’ll go inside.
If the conditions warrant it, the evening class may also be found on the courtyard inside the day school area.
NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES
If you’re part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP together, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!
AUGUST IS ANNIVERSARY MONTH!
Next week we celebrate 12 years of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP!!!
To mark the occasion we’ll have a come and go party at Old Venice Italian Restaurant on Tuesday evening, August 9th from 6 to 8:30. Pizza’s are on me, drinks are on you! You and your significant other(s) are welcome!!
Have you been away from USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP for a while? Comfortable in Turdeville, are ya? Wanna come back? C’mon then!! I won’t bite you! I promise!
I know how it is. You miss a day or two … and then it’s been a week or two … and then it’s a month or two …
Get back on track. Come back to the Quarterdeck! No matter how long you’ve been away, you do NOT have to pay the initiation fee again!
PAYING THE PIED PIPER … a message from the Accounting Dept.
Just a reminder that payment is generally expected on the first of each month, but always appreciated whenever it shows up! Check your records and see if you’re due. Don’t make me send Vinnie, Bobby, and Lazy Eyed Lenny to collect! Thanks everyone!
Cash is fine, or course. And checks are easiest for me. And you can also pay online on the website (www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com)
Additionally, if you would be so kind as to write in the “memo” section of your check, or the memo section of the online pay section, what month(s) the check is for, I’d really appreciate it. “Services rendered,” “Torture,” “Abuse,” “Pool cleaning,” and “For marijuana” are all very funny … but a month stated would be helpful too!
If you prefer to pay in cash, let me ask you to put the money in an envelope with your name and month(s) you’re paying for on the outside of the envelope? This will hopefully ensure that my bookkeeping is accurate. Thank you very much!
BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!
Facebook has now reached a major milestone: 500 million users!
That’s the population of the US, Japan, and Germany combined! Half a BILLION people are on Facebook.
In the world of cyber-marketing, Facebook usage can’t be ignored.
So here’s our experiment.
Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!
For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update, up to $20 off for any given month!
Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name.
You can also use “Places” on Facebook or Foursquare linked to your Facebook account to “check in” and you’ll get the same discount!
Use your own wording and personality, just include the specifics.
So log on and get started today!
WANT TO LOSE 10 to 15 POUNDS BY THE END OF AUGUST?
Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!
You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/
BOGA tomorrow at CUMC @ 0530. BOGA is one half hard core boot camp fitness and one half power yoga … BO-GA!
TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASS
The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes meet at St. Mary’s track. These are cardio (walking/jogging/running) workouts and they begin at 5:45 PM.
St. Mary’s is at the corner of Walnut Grove and Perkins.
A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.
What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?
To your optimum health and fitness!
SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!
Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145