"Good garden tools are like best friends –

Not easy to find, but if you have them, they will last a lifetime."


Enigmatic Verbal Self-Defense


30 March 2006, On Abusive Bulletin Boards


Hi Richard,

I felt frightened, embarrassed, confused, apprehensive, but still empowered recently when I encountered someone who said "To Jim R. Have you considered medication?" I responded with "—As If," and reported the incident to the editorial staff at the online newspaper I had written some commentary for.

I say frightened because the subject is the "asbestos factory" Federal Building where I used to work. When I wrote in about it being a "sick" (as in, it causes illness such as respiratory problems), someone wrote back and included the comments I gave above.

It appears that the editors took matters in hand immediately and deleted the statement about medication from that individual's commentary. Getting back to being frightened, I thought immediately that it was a person that I used to work with ... and so did my wife and daughter when I told them.

"—As If" seems to have worked as a non-escalating two-word response. Now I am faced with « responding / not responding » to someone else who may not like my use of quotation marks. "I" "really" "don't understand you" "half of the time" is their statement following my last contribution. So, I am confused, is the person trying to tell me not to use so many quotation marks? Or, are they using quotation marks excessively? Can you help me on these concerns please? By the way, anyone who is interested can follow the dialogue at www.buffalorising.com, click on "city" and go to the discussion about the Federal building.



Hi Jim,

My connection is too slow to follow anything over at www.buffalorising.com. I gave it sixty seconds. I would try to be very old-fashioned about online "forums," say, by going back to the attitudes of the 1920s: Those were the days when people were smart enough not to say anything.


"To Jim R. Have you considered medication?"

—As if.
—The party generation.

"I" "really" "don't understand you" "half of the time"

—God knows!
—Not while you're asleep.


When you recognize two possible interpretations in the way someone expressed themselves, go for the worse one, whether they "meant it" or "not." They just like to attack people with interesting things.

I've been pouring a lot of energy into a new web page this last ten days, and intend to add a link to your website tonight. It's over at TheBlackPool.com "Ad-free Website Directory." Your site doesn't have ads, right?



5 October 2005, When They Leave You "High and Dry."


Hi Richard,

I felt quite embarrassed tonight when a student kept repeating, "$15? ... $15?" Students who wished to purchase a DVD of the Tai Chi movements had read and signed a form that included, "The cost of the DVD is $15." Another student was there, and I was getting quite embarrassed, but on the second "$15?" said, "Oh, yeah," in a quiet voice and immediately followed it with an emphatic, "It goes to pay for my food and gasoline." The other student nodded her head at that. He read the form, he signed the form 2 weeks ago, but tonight, he then said, "I have to go to the bank." I felt like saying, "No shit!" because now he wanted sympathy, but I handed him the DVD and said, "Pay me at next time." No student has stiffed me in 11 years there, but I can just imagine.

In the first class I said, "Don't hold your shoulders in a tense manner, the way they taught me in the Marines." No one in the class said anything except this guy who came up after class and said, "You were in the Marines?" I said, "As if?" and followed it with, "I was a seagoing bellhop." That apparently did not register with him because he continued without batting an eye, "I was wounded here, I was wounded there," to which I quickly said, "Ouch! ... What does your Doctor say about it?" He ignored that and continued with a story about Vietnam. I eventually went home ....

Then tonight, he said, "Here is my email address, [something, something with a number] ... That is my call sign and that is the number of my helicopter." By this time all I could mutter is a weak ... "Oh" ... I eventually went home.

Now I think he reminds me of someone that worked at the "asbestos factory" [where I used to work] who would tell you every day that he was in Vietnam. Yep, every day. The funny thing is the confusion that comes with dealing with those statements, because in both cases both of those guys seem to take great pleasure in embarrassing anyone they talk to, but somehow you shouldn't mind, because 1.) they are only kidding, 2.) you should be able to take a joke and 3.) they were in Vietnam. Oh, and did I say, he had a collection of pictures of ears that he would show frequently, and also said, "If someone pulls a gun on me, I'm so fast I can be across the room to put my finger in the end of the barrel so it won't fire?" "No shit? ... I'd kick in a quarter to see that ... Can you do it now?"



Hi Jim,

Lots of people bought a bad act, delivering lines that leave you high and dry, no? I think it's really funny you said, "I was a seagoing bellhop," and intend to steal it for the taxi1010.com database.

Let's look at this entire situation from (1.) the General Manager's point of view, (2.) the Floor Manager's point of view, and (3.) the Night Manager's point of view.

In initial conversations with a random person from the public, (1.) the General Manager (inside yourself) might have an aspiration to "Put your attention on wanting that person to have a better life," handing this decree to (2.) the Floor Manager (inside yourself).

Well, for some reason, things get awfully tricky awfully fast (from the Floor Manager's point of view). One person is saying, "$15? ... $15?" another person is saying, "You were in the Marines?" and the memory of another person is saying something like, "If some guy pulls a gun on me, I can put my finger in the barrel quicker than he can pull the trigger!"

It's very mysterious. With some people you can go on and on talking about anything and everything, to your mutual delight. You're giving each other gifts, brought to the surface by insight, grace and intelligence.

With other people you get the vague idea they're totally ignoring your side of things with their "gifts." You begin to ask yourself, "Should I?" "Would I like that?" "Why are they saying that?" in a sincere effort to have a life you believe in, not a life someone else tells you to have.

It all depends on what someone gives you. What if they're giving you a hard time, or something you don't like? I love the idea of doing nothing, fading to nothing, and eventually going home! Then on the way back, the Floor Manager (inside yourself) can divide the general problem of being left high and dry into two worlds: The world of your experiences, (which they know little about), and the world of their experiences, (which for the moment, don't draw you out).

The Floor Manager might be very interested in the following Verbal Tools for responding to less-than-helpful comments relating to your life: —Could be, —Very believable, and —Much worse!

The Floor Manager might like these tools for responding to poorly worked out comments about their life: —Oh, great! —At least, —Do less.

Upon going home, (3.) the Night Manager (inside yourself) might learn a lot by restocking inventory on a regular basis, creating lists of ongoing interactions that leave you high and dry.



"$15? ... $15?" [reading aloud from your syllabus]

—Could be.
—Which isn't so bad for a while.

"I have to go to the bank." [If I'm going to buy your CD]

—Very believable.
—Everyone does.

"You were in the Marines?"

—Much worse!
—I was a seagoing bellhop.



"I was wounded here, I was wounded there."

—Oh, great!
—So do you think you'll live?

"Here is my email address, [something, something with a number] ... That is my call sign and that is the number of my helicopter."

—At least.
—You should make a sign for over your door: Regression Entrance.

"I was in Vietnam ... If some guy pulls a gun on me, I can put my finger in the barrel quicker than he can pull the trigger!"

—Do less.
—Sometimes I wish I was a loud pushy person so you could hate me.


For my own part, I'm trying to arrange things in Verbal Tools Contents so these things are easier to grasp and teach, as opposed to what's in taxi1010.com, which is for developing the basic database and fleshing out ingenious codewords from particular verbal attacks.

For instance, look up the codeword, "[prices]", in brackets, which takes you to stargate12, I believe. Then over there at Verbal Tools Contents, check out 14. Reaching Out, (page 066) and 61. The Mathematician (page 301). Don't bother going into the meat of Verbal Tools, because, for now, I'm simply letting life help me associate the most useful Table of Contents!



21 September 2005, Dealing with "The Brush Off."


Hi Richard,

I've been wondering about the rude "social skills" called the "brush off" and "beating around the bush" lately.

The reason is, I think I have been subject to both of them, but I'm just not sure. I decided that I would like to teach the Tai Chi at a couple of Karate Schools and contacted them.

In one case the person said, "I'll call you back" and never did. In another, the person e-mailed me back and said: "Hey Big Jim, I am interested in speaking with you and am right in the middle of something. I WILL get back to you and we can have a sit down. This is weird ... I just mentioned your name to someone about a month ago!"

Of course, I have not heard further from either party. Now in both cases I feel confused and hurt but also I feel as though they are saying "you should take a hint." Could you help me with this, please?

Thanks, Jim


Hi Jim,

People operate from different levels inside themselves, most of it unconscious. One level, which you could see associated with sensations, or emotions from the chest, has to do with dog-eat-dog commerce. —Are you going to help them make any money? they ask, without much warmth, cutting themselves off from other aspects of themselves. This is "the brush off," in which they're literally forgetting their own lives, pretending so hard to be "good, special, right, and important" that they're actually the opposite.

Another level, which you could see associated with sensations, or appetites arising from the belly, has to do with unlocking the "glass key of friendship," which if you don't turn hard enough, doesn't open, and which if you turn too hard, breaks. Here people regress, as with childhood friends, go drinking or to ball games together, and easily forget, cutting themselves off from careless promises. This is "the beating around the bush," in which they're forgetting they're in any way responsible for their own lives.

A third level, associated with intuition, or a sensation between the eyes, has to do with consciousness, or "bringing it all together." Here's the idea: Do you want to identify with feelings inside yourself which are reactions to other people, or do you want to identify with other people? Understanding is the gate, waiting to see what happens is the lock, and patience is the key.

Personally, I think you're better off not being associated with those Karate Schools, anyway. It's better to fail utterly in an earnest attempt to be on your own, "outside the box," than to be the slave of "boxers."

Check out our new motto at the top of taxi1010 - Street Smarts!

P.S., There's a restaurant I like where the people like me, and I like the people, where I used to leave off a stack of business cards. They went like hotcakes! Only later did I learn, through a careful and direct question, that they were carefully removing my "VerbalTools.com" business cards right after I'd gone, with my big tip!



21 April 2005, Dealing with Someone Off on a Toot


Hi Richard!

I felt a little bit of adrenaline today but I quenched it by sensing my breath and saying the word "thought," "thought," "thought." I had found myself under personal (ad hominem and abusive ad hominem) attack from doing my job as both moderator and student in my discussion group. I had made the point that someone (no names just the word someone) was insisting on talking about subjects that had no bearing on what the discussion group was about.

I had by means of discussion stated that going in that direction would be counterproductive for students' progress. A student (who was The student) wrote in and started in on a series of personal attacks that in so many words centered around use of the word, "you," "You" said this, "Your perceptions are incorrect" and so on. He might as well have said, "You started WW II," because he did not address any of the assertions I raised in my discussion. "You have made many unfair assertions," "You have made many untrue assertions," "You accused me of having a bad signature," "Have I committed a crime?" and that was repeated 4 times at different intervals. "Your comments made me raise my eyebrows," "You do realize that some of us have better things to do," "Your perception of things is not quite correct."

I rewrote the letter as a reply and inserted spaces after each of the paragraphs where he had used the word You followed by a personal attack, and after "Have I committed a crime?" After each of those paragraphs I inserted the word "ouch." At the end of the reply, I wrote a last "ouch" and said "I'm sorry you feel that way."

Thank you so much for answering my request for a bridge and "thoughts of a bad child." I did exactly as you had stated and I believe I know "what happened when I was talking to someone." [Down below, 12 April 2005] It came to me in one of those half-awake, half-asleep moments on rising. I had been talking to another kid in a play area and a kid from another block came up behind me, shoved me full strength into a wire fence. Of course, what reason could one give for doing something like that? I couldn't break my fall, so my face – namely, upper lip – took the whole brunt of the shove/fall. My upper lip is mangled to this day. I didn't know how to explain it to my parents because I was a kid, and so I told them I did it playing football. So, yes, someone coming up behind me and touching me bothers quite a bit. Thank you for the insight, suggestions and empathy. –Jim


Hi Jim!

When people start ranting, I don't think there's much you can do about it, except get back to yourself. Find a good book. Enjoy yourself. I can respond to all those attacks without much trouble, though the responses are for my benefit, not theirs. I wouldn't try to communicate to that student at all, because they're in way too much pain – buried and overrun by energy, to a point they can't even feel, or even know about – and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Saying OUCH! is good, and once is enough.

Then hide! Take a little vacation inside yourself. Go to Mexico! I think you hit it on the button when you realized they were repeatedly and identically attacking some unidentified "thought" in the forum (Not you! They can't even see you!), simply varying their words, so just for the fun of it, I'm putting every single one of those attacks at stargate01.htm, right at the very beginning of taxi1010.com, if there's such as a thing as a beginning, if there's such a thing as a stargate.



12 April 2005, My Real Self Spilled Out


Hi Richard!

Could you please give me some suggestions for Bridges and "thoughts of a bad child" when one is being insulted physically. I'm speaking of jabs, pokes, prods, bumps, pushes, leans, assists, hot breath on your neck, lightly touching and I don't think I can exhaust the list.

I recently got immediately angry (no adrenaline rush) when someone jabbed my arm with their finger. She said "GIMMEEEEE A PENCIL." I was in line at the Credit Union, TALKING to the cashier and telling her how much each check should be that I have to send to the "Taxman."

I barely turned my head and said, "Going up?" The "human" that was standing there stood vacantly staring at the pencil that the Credit Union Manager had kindly given her. Oh, did I mention her jaw was hanging loosely ... ?

I'm afraid I couldn't resist the "thoughts of a bad child" that I had when I got outside. As I was starting my car, she walked by. I rolled the window and said: "Hey, next time, jab YOURSELF in the ASS, and you'll get the pencil faster." Again, the jaw dropped ... as I slowly drove away.

I know I shouldn't make things up but I have been thinking about this physical aspect for some time, and what I said kind of spilled out. Can you help me with this? Thank you. –Jim


Dear Jim:

I am really proud of you! Probably all your efforts in Tai Chi, in teaching Tai Chi, in Non-escalating Verbal Self-defense, and in teaching Non-escalating Verbal Self-defense have been revolving about a memory you don't even know you have. When you say, "what I said kind of spilled out," that's the real you! That's IT! Something happened to you as a child, maybe in kindergarten, maybe at a friend's house, or at someone's birthday party ... and you buried it, because you thought you had done something bad.

Because it's buried in you, and you don't even know about the memory, another part of you is using an enormous amount of energy to "keep the lid on." It's keeping the memory buried in your tissues. You don't have to keep the lid on now. Ask yourself, just before you go to sleep at night, "What happened when I was talking to somebody?" Say to yourself, "You're not bad. I know a lot of things now. I can say, "BACK OFF!" I can lie in wait and scream, "Yeah, yeah ... THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!" I know how to defend myself physically and mentally. I am your friend ... What happened when I was talking to somebody?"

If you make contact with that part of you, the memory might seem like a white memory, yet you'll begin to see what you've kept hidden. You might be very surprised what you discover ... what you didn't have the understanding to deal with then. You were just a little kid.



4 April 2005, It's Bigger that You


Hi Richard!

I'm not sure if IT falls under the subject of feedback or IT falls under the category of humor but here goes:

I submitted this to a "Discussion Group" of which I am the moderator. Someone had said they "received a correction" on a Tai Chi movement and I asked what the name of the movement was. They said, "parting hands," to which I responded I was not familiar with that name and went through a list of things I thought it might be. I also said, "I don't see the name 'parting hands' on any major list of Tai Chi movements." Their response was: "Just try to see IT" ...

(This is meant as humor and since IT seemed to be a "sore subject" with someone, I never asked him what IT was). The use of the word IT borders on the mystical which is also one of way of looking at IT.

Another way to realize things is to realize the best way to read "IT" is simply to read "it."

(True Story) I once had a Tai Chi teacher, I'll call him the "General." After every movement I would do, he would say "you don't get IT." Sometimes I'd visit his office at the University where I would take classes, he'd light a cigarette, lean back in his chair, and with a bored expression on his face say, "OK, show me IT." Then I'd begin the form, which as I recall was either Chen or Yang Style depending on his mood, and as I'd raise my hands, he'd interrupt and say, "You just don't get IT." He'd also take great pains during conversation to point out in no uncertain terms things like, "You know Jim, you talk a good game, but you just don't get IT."

I had the opportunity on one occasion to talk about Tai Chi to a group of Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists and Social Workers at the local VA Hospital. Then the object was to start a class, which I did. I had been asked by a friend of mine and fellow Tai Chi student (who was a Psychologist) to talk at the Hospital. The Hospital was interested in Tai Chi as a therapy method for Veterans who suffered from P.T.S.D., or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I mentioned this to the General, and he hurriedly lit a cigarette and said, "What are YOU going to say, maybe I should do IT."

Well anyway, I ended up doing IT and he didn't mention IT the next time we met. I've never forgotten IT, although I have always wondered what IT was, that prompted him to not ask me about IT. To this day, and to my last breath, I figure I'll never know what IT is. I have him to thank however, because I have grown because of IT. I don't know if my Tai Chi would be better and if he still might not say, "You still don't have IT." I often wanted to ask him, "Will IT ever get easier?" Kind of like that old TV episode of Leave it to Beaver where the "Beav" (What a name to be saddled with) asks his Father: "Dad, does IT ever get easier?" Maybe he should have asked, "Say, Dad, the name Beaver, where did I get IT?" Oh I forgot, The General did mention IT, he asked "Did they pay you for IT?" "Why do you ask me about IT?" I wanted to ask but never did, I wanted to ask things like, "Is IT against the law to accept money for IT?" "Did YOU ever get paid for doing IT?" "But don't you think I had to do IT because a friend asked me a favor?" Then I wanted to say all in a rush and let him sort IT out: "Well I did IT," "Even though they didn't get IT," "I loved doing IT." Then to finish I'd say: "I know, take IT out on me, I can take IT," coupled with "But to tell you the truth you Mon General, I've had IT up to here." After all that though, I'd still be afraid he'd say: "JUST LEARN (substitute any word for learn) IT." Like I say I have grown and NOW I'd say: "EVERYTHING ELSE" in response, and I'd gently close the door to his office as I left.



Hi Buffalo Jim!

There's an idea in mysticism that you don't have to find IT; IT will find you.

People who talk a lot are sometimes accused of "throwing pearls before swine," or "throwing pearls of wisdom out on the sidewalk," as opposed to keeping your mouth shut, absorbing a slight amount of nourishment, and allowing something inside you to grow.

So, let's say you're around the General ... Quiet your mind, listen attentively, and notice your breathing. Sense your genitals, or your hand, and hold your breath. Then say to yourself, "I wish ... to live!" Then wait for something inside to answer.

Gurdjieff used to say, "Breath is everything," and would show his students, by way of example, how to "breathe in without breathing out." It's just something you notice. Gurdjieff is dead now. All these ways, Tao, Tai Chi, Buddhism, the fourth way, are husks, or forms. My own teacher, David Daniels, says, "Religion is just a form – Over the years many diverse peoples have made many diverse ways for many diverse minds."

Your ingenious way of slowing down is to have quiet meetings with the General, then write on the Internet, sharing real experiences with others, and sensing yourself.

"Turn everything upside down and you will see the truth," Ouspensky used to say, repeating Gurdjieff. It's funny. If you look down at your own body, you can see your genitals at the top of your field of vision. With your right leg and right arm on one side, your left leg and left arm on the other, you can also see a triangle formed by your genitals at the top, with your two nipples at the base. Okay, so look at a picture of the Enneagram. And turn it upside down. Get it?



8 March 2005, This Girl at School is Bugging Me


heyy,there is this girl at school she is bugging me,everytime i walk by her at school she calls me a fat whore and im not even fat i need a really good come back to say to her bcuz i am really not that good with them so if u have ideas email me a odjunkie@####.com



Hi, everytime-i-walk-by!

"The self should use alternatives that transcend those of the other, rather than confirming the anticipations of the other who intends to escalate the conflict." –Dr. Key Sun.

My favorite strategy is to replace intense, sometimes vague or confusing, preverbal feelings with words. So instead of feeling devastated, for instance, you can casually respond to the other person by saying the words, "It's devastating."

By saying those words, you're communicating a certain transcendent truth, which is that you actually aren't devastated ... You're a live person, who only gets tense when you're around that other person, or when you're thinking about them ... That's what they really want you to do, is think about them all the time, or a lot. So ... let's teach them how to become a fat whore!

After saying, "It's devastating," you cryptically add ... "You have to do it when it's wet." .... as if you're giving them an initiation.

If they say, "Whaaaaa?" simply repeat the advice ... "You have to do it when it's wet."

They say, "Fat whore!" ... Then you pretend you're Mae West, and say, "It's devastating."

They say, "Fat whore!" ... Then you pretend you're Drew Barrymore, and say, "You have to do it when it's wet."

In this way, the other person can learn how to become ... a fat whore, though I would never tell them that directly, that that's the advice you're giving them. Just say, "It's devastating," or "KEEP GOING!" or "It's all in your mind," or "I just made twenty dollars!" or "David Daniels was so funny his beard tickled his nose."

Just between you and me, you've got a lot of friends ... all over the world.



2 March 2005, The Ideas of Dr. Key Sun


Hi Richard!

I'd like to pass along a compliment from a "high-flying college professor who is down to earth." Dr. Key Sun of Central Washington University passed along a nice compliment about taxi1010.com to me. I had communicated to Dr. Sun via email and he passed on the compliment. The subject of concern was a request of mine to quote and reprint a couple of his articles. The articles are concerned with the Asian Philosophy of Taoism and Conflict Resolution and How to Overcome Without Fighting. Dr. Sun is also involved with Chinese Healing Disciplines such as Tai Chi. I have built a family website for photos of my family and told Dr. Sun about another website that I have planned to build. The website concerns itself with bridging the philosophy of Tai Chi and "real life conflicts." He gave me permission to use any part or all of the articles on my website.

You can read the articles at:

Win Without Fighting: The Tao of Conflict Resolution and Mental Health, by Key Sun (Evergreen Monthly, June 1998)

How to Overcome without Fighting: An Introduction to The Taoist Approach to Conflict Resolution by Key Sun, Department of Law and Justice, Central Washington University (First published in the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 15(2), 161-171, 1995. © 1995 American Psychological Association)

Dr. Sun said: "PS. I like the www.taxi1010.com site. It is very thoughtful and unique!"



Hi, Jim, Thanks a million!

In my own shorthand, Dr. Sun's articles describe, Tao = alternatives, Te = understanding. You can only get understanding by being exposed to alternatives, or choices. People have interactions with (1.) Nature, (2.) other people, and (3.) cover-ups of hidden memories, inside ourselves. We're all seeking harmony with others, harmony with Nature, and in regards to harmony with ourselves, Yin = force that justifies an action (ideals, wishes, instincts); Yang = self-attack, derived from emotional workarounds of invisible memories, or memories we don't even know exist, maybe the true extent of pain we felt, as a child, at the loss of a dog, or the fear we felt when we found something unexpected as a child, or the emotional castration we suffered from the actions of an imbecilic, aggressive parent, all of which we buried and totally forgot.

Finally, Sun Tzu's The Art of War suggests you can "make a move that invalidates the aggressor's expectations."

There are two ways to look at things: You can see (1.) the overview, and you can see (2.) the floor manager's point of view.

Dr. Sun concludes Win Without Fighting with, "It is easy to learn Taoist psychology if you just remember 'A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet.' (Lao Tzu, Chapter 64)" This is clearly the floor manager's point of view.

In How to Overcome Without Fighting, Dr. Sun connects deep Eastern philosophical truths with modern culture, and expresses the ideas of Taoism in powerful ways. These ideas, ideals, and suggestions are part of the overview.

Reading, or hearing about, certain aspects of an overview, can lead to severe misunderstandings. For instance, let's say someone is being aggressive, and you decide to "counter" that aggression by maintaining an outward calm, supported by an inner peace. Or put another way, you're going to try to act like water.

Trying to act like water, with suppleness, and all those "good" thoughts, is entirely different from knowing exactly what you could say to the other person if you chose to, and keeping your mouth shut. This is pretty much the Way of the Bad Child, which is not even hinted at in Taoist philosophy.

The Way of the Bad Child begins from the floor manager's point of view, and if the floor manager knows what he's doing, pulls along the overview pretty much by accident.

Then if you're lucky, you find out what's really bothering you, from something you buried as a child, becoming totally invisible to you. Going back to those memories, unlocking them is not so easy, because your entire emotional system crystallized in such a way as to cover them up. With cracks. Spiritual development begins with finding those cracks, and filling them with gold.

Ultimately, your relation with the hidden world of enlightenment, beneath your own emotional system, may have very much to do with your ability to step aside, then make contact once again, with everything you could perceive, and even do, as an infant, then buried, though this time through the eyes of an adult, standing by the side of reason.



28 January 2005, On Conversations That Freeze Us


Hi Richard!

Nasty weather which in the case of snow and ice means anything over an inch brings out the bully in quite a few people. In Buffalo you think it would go without saying to drive carefully because we see our share of it each year. My wife and I were petrified (adrenaline level at emergency levels) to see a school bus come up from our rear and almost side swipe our car to get past. The scenario however wasn't good to begin with since the roads were slick with over 4 inches of fresh snow, an ice and snow bank to my right which had closed off the right lane, leaving only one (the one I was in), lots of traffic and this "bus driver" beeping her horn and barreling past because I had slowed down to merge. I thought of "Ever hopeful" as she passed me hoping she would be apologetic and look over chagrined. She was staring straight ahead as though intent on creating further mayhem. My wife said, "Bus 155, 838-9000, We Care Transportation."

I called when I dropped my wife off at work. The nice gentleman who answered said he was extremely sorry for what happened and "You did the right thing by calling, Sir." I said "Ever hopeful" and he chuckled. He said, "We send someone out to follow buses when we get complaints of this nature." I said, "Thank You." It's funny because before it happened I had been talking about the stress level of people in general. I had said to my wife however that I was learning with each Tai Chi class to say "Ever hopeful." I see the overall stress level reflected in the way my beginning students hold their bodies, the tension in the back, especially in the shoulders ... frozen. I was telling my wife that at least we can each do a little bit to improve things by making "small gestures" toward other people toward having a nice life for ourselves. I try to do my share each week by seeing my Tai Chi instruction as that "drop of fresh water in the ocean that can make a difference someday." I continued that whether they "get it" is not the point, but the point is "some small part of them (the Yin in the Yang of things) that our small gestures reach."

We had been talking about stress because I was shocked (mildly surprised) but the adrenaline rush must have fooled me when I heard one of the neighbors say: "Does this ever end?" I knew he was referring to the amount of snow we had been getting, but I was so shocked that any one of the neighbors would actually speak without saying something truly nasty that I didn't know what to say other than: "Hi," he replied "How are you?" I said fine, but we were both there and silent 5 minutes later and I said "Ever hopeful" in a cheery tone. He grumbled and said, "Yeah, but I was still shoveling at midnight after I got off of work." Again I was shocked (I'm allowing myself to be tricked) and did not know what to say other than to smile, which I'm sure he saw a little of from across the street, end of story. Later however, I did think that "Ouch" might have been appropriate. I did however get to use "So much" 6 times from twice opening the door at the coffee shop with no "Thank you" from anyone and 4 times on the road as I let people in ahead of me at driveways near red lights, since they did not wave, I said, "So much!" I did not feel adrenaline rushes before or after each of the 2-word responses. It does seem funny in retrospect that even the seemingly most innocuous of conversation from a neighbor could freeze us but it seems to happen a lot, unless we can use some sort of simple 2-word response that "nails it." That, in contrast to how it "tricks us" and the adrenaline rush that happens when someone says something truly bombastic, "as if" our adrenaline rush is well deserved ... Ha. My idea is that the more I return to this website, the more I understand YOUR ideas. My idea is telling anyone who "surfs in" here that their belief (self-efficacy) that someone (you) cares enough to help them is what got them here. They solidify those self efficacious beliefs by coming back again and again and again. I'm telling my Tai Chi students the same thing and repeating it when they take a "glass half empty approach" toward learning. My idea is that "persistence" is the glue that holds down those "beliefs." I'm sending a little money, thank you for the good service.



Hi Jim!

You sent three feedback forms, and frankly, I'm only going to include the one above. I'm kind of busy with other things, and I'm not, as you suggested in the other two, "someone who's teaching people to fish." I am a cab driver and know very little about fishing, though I like boats.

A friend of mine has a five-year-old girl, and I've watched when adults talk about her, then to her, in her presence. The adults intermingle truth, gossip, fantasy, and bizarre sermons in almost random ways, at times leaving Estrella speechless, drinking it all in.

Not harmful in its own right, it's just what's going on.

So it occurs to me, that's what neighbors are doing, too!

Now, I'm actually working on two distinct projects: The first, essentially complete, is research on "a minimal number of responses" to flesh out rhetorical bottlenecks, that is, to elucidate their hidden meaning, and add enough warmth, humor and understanding to bluster through them enough to regain my humanity. It's called, "making mistakes in the process of learning without alienating too many people." My teacher calls it "making the preverbal part of you conscious" by replacing vague, unspoken fears with words. When you use certain two-word responses, they replace little shots of adrenaline, and eventually lead you backward in your own life to the underlying memories you "buried, completely forgot, and replaced with tensions" you now carry as an adult.

I think you call "struggling to keep the lid on," stress.

My second project, in its infancy, is presenting taxi1010.com in a completely different light, suitable for teaching. You can see it taking shape in VerbalTools.com Contents, with ongoing changes in red.

There's a particular line I'd like you to see there, entitled "33. Corner Thugs," presumably beginning at page 161.

The responses listed on that line are "Crazy, huh?" "I'll bet," "Very strict," and "There's hope."

Notice how they can be used with neighbors uttering truth, rumors, fantasy, and advice: The second they say something true, you can say, "Crazy, huh?" as sort of an affable confirmation.

When they shift to a rumor, or to a fantasy (often difficult to spot, because people blend it in so skillfully), you can sort of pull back into your tortoise shell, then drily say, "I'll bet."

The next thing apt to pop out of their mouth will be some sort of cock-eyed advice, often delivered as a "hint," to which you can admonish all concerned with, "Very strict."

And the catchall, or escape, from all other neighborhood utterances might well be, "There's hope."

Now Estrella, on the other hand, is just a five-year-old little girl! "How did you get to be so pretty?"

—Crazy, huh?

"She's going to be starting a new school next fall, with all the big kids!"

—I'll bet.

"I like the way she plays with her doll."

—Very strict.

"Are you going to put her in the dollhouse when we go?"

—There's hope.



21 January 2005, On E-mail and Friendship


Hi Richard:

I decided to live the dreams as well as dreaming the life and did something about it. My dreams one early half-awake morning were of a symbol, long forgotten now but I remember that it equated to making myself more accessible to people. With that however comes a price, you get mail in the bulk mail box that maybe you shouldn't open. I made a website for family and friends to visit in order to view family photos, sign a guestbook and keep in touch with one another. I had to reset my spam settings for one day in order to get the first message back that someone had signed the guestbook. I got a message in the bulk mail that said: "(my name).net, is yours right?" When I saw this, I was immediately intimidated and deleted the message without opening it. Then, I became chagrined because I thought of you and said to myself: "Jim, you are an ostrich for putting your head in the sand, Richard might have opened it and responded back to the person with a two word bridge." Now I'm thinking this is a conundrum and it has me puzzled but perhaps truly being puzzled is not a bad place to be. I find myself also saying to myself that "it may be the price I have to pay in order to make myself more accessible" and that thought intimidates me once more. On the other hand (I ask myself), "Isn't that why they have bulk mail, to deal with things you may not want to read, or even open for that matter?" I mean, how many penis enlarger, grow your hair back, please send me money in Kenya e-mails should one read in order to be more accessible? Then again, the symbolism in the dream said become more accessible, but it didn't specify to who. I'm sending you a little money, I hope it can go toward this wonderful business that you are in of making people's lives better through helping them rediscover the dreams they had as kids but forgot as adults.



Hi Jim! Small world in being of use to people, and money is nice! ... Thanks a million!

Never open any e-mail whatsoever unless you know in advance what it is. You're not missing anything. If I inadvertently open spam, I immediately unplug my modem or computer to hold down its electronic activity.

Modern spam has invisible traceback features, so they know when you open it! Even if you get off someone's list, they sell your name to another list. Play dead. If someone wants to get in touch with you, they'll telephone, write you a letter, or knock on your door. Even then, if you don't know who it is, play possum! Becoming accessible to a friend has to do with being alive and being in warm contact with yourself, or your work ... in an instant! ... and from that, all things flow.

E-mail is piss and a waste of time, as empty as reading a list of ingredients off crumpled sugar packets, even if it's from someone you know. If they ask, "Did you get my e-mail?" say, "Who cares? ... I'm so old anyway, what's the difference?" E-mail is like the party next door ... They're just pretending to have fun ... If they were having fun, they'd be playing possum.



15 January 2005, From Someone Who Smells


Well, I want to know what you recommend for someone being constantly insulted by multiple people, children and adults, on a daily basis. I have a medical disorder that causes body odor sometimes. I seem to have it under control at this point. But people's memories are long. People appear to hate me with great zeal and glee. They love looking at various personal parts of my body and saying uggh and yuck. They know my car and yell uggh and yuck, to make sure I hear them, every time they see me. This is not just one person, this is multiple, anonymous, random people as I go through my day. I am tired of it to the point that I fear my own violence. I'm so tired that I really don't know what to do. I have come a long way and am no longer suicidal.

However, after all the work I've done internally to get over it, I just feel worn out and weary now. I don't know if I can take it every day for the next year, 2 years, endlessly. The insulters don't die, they multiply and multiply. This frightens me, the way every time I go out it seems more and more people are sneering at me and being demeaning. Because the rumor mill is working extremely well as usual. I really need some help here. I find your advice has taken me farther in my quest for inner peace in the midst of this. Thank you. This is right down my alley. A genuine need. Please help me if you can.

It's the multiple, anonymous people. The insult, though expected, just angers me that they think they have this right to me. ALL OF THEM. I once said it's just the culture, Americans hate B.O. But not everybody does this, though I think everyone secretly despises me. I'm really screwed up inside about this. Part of this is I just don't understand the reality of this situation. I don't know how you would go about answering this. Or how I would get your response. But hopefully I'll find it on the site or find some other way to contact you. Please help me.



Dear Rose Petal,

It's really shocking how many people are mean and sadistic. I like smells. I study them. I like skunk smells, hot tar smells, and smells of old people who get in my taxicab who've peed all over themselves, without knowing it, and who're going to a restaurant.

I never wear deodorant, and in the last year, have stopped taking a bath or shower every day. I wear the same clothes for weeks at a time, because I've learned smells change.

Usually concentrated, or hidden smells, cause people the most problem. They become way too concentrated, so that a single whiff of them bring about almost involuntary stomach contractions and repulsion! So I try to keep all my smells out in the open, not a secret. I never mix smells with artificial dampeners, such as perfumes, or air-fresheners, because they bring about psychological effects in me and other people which are way worse, like adding powerful perfume to a rose petal. Echhh!

With time, all smells evolve. If you have stinky feet when you're young, you usually end up with feet with no smell at all! If you have nervous perspiration, you grow right through it, or out of it, and end up with invisible smells that attract people! You don't want to try to control smells!

Let smells breathe. What's natural in a living person, is never an unpleasant smell, unless it's way too concentrated, too secret, or too covered up.

Then these smells become almost unconscious triggers to mean and sadistic people, who themselves have been covering up their vicious hatred toward other people, keeping it way too concentrated, too secret, or too covered up ... who just keep going around in anonymous circles.

Catching a whiff of their own humanity in the air, they pop a cork! It's what they're like on the inside, all the time. The rotting sewers inside their own minds have just overflowed, giving you a glimpse of something that has nothing to do with your medical condition, or efforts to have a nice life.

It's sad, isn't it? They'll probably meet their match in Dead Horse, Alaska.

It's better to just be a person, stick with the part of you that's alive, and don't hide what will help you.


"Uggh!" [Catching a whiff of a surprising body odor]

—Very common.
—It's really shocking how many people are mean and sadistic.

"Yuck!" [Catching a whiff of a psychological secret]

—Wicked, huh?
—That part of you is alive.


These are the things people carry around like burdens ... and they're like puffs.



11 January 2005, Triangulated Feedback from Md


Introduction: We welcome all triangulated feedback. For more, see mail.htmRichard



(1.) a real sensation, such as hurt, anger, or fear.

I felt miffed (a little angry).

(2.) exactly what words were said.

Speaking about me; (Addressed to everyone but me) "Whenever I talk to him he just always smiles." Another chimes in with his own remark. The message being, "I don't offer much, kinda a dummy.."

(3.) and the place where they were said.

In a meeting with several coworkers.

I am finding your site very intriguing! I found after Googling for 'comebacks'. Please help with any feedback or resources - I am a good writer but a timid speaker :-|

Many blessings to you... –Md


Thanks a million, Md!

Most intelligent people keep their mouth closed during "meetings with coworkers," simply to observe and find out which ones are mean, sadistic, or really crazy. You don't have to "contribute" in public forums. You're not on the David Letterman Show.

There's a deep part of the mind that doesn't work as fast as the give-and-take banter of ordinary life, something akin to floating down the river on a dreamboat. You can nourish this part of yourself, so you can do creative things, even out and among surprisingly mean and sadistic people.

The taxi1010.com project is designed to nourish this deep part of yourself, bring you into contact with it, and help it grow. When you went out in search of a comeback to, "Whenever I talk to him, he just always smiles," I recognized, or remembered, myself floating down the river.

The comeback you are searching for isn't a comeback to the group of people who are sitting around sneering at each other, it's a comeback to yourself, to the part of you that is young and remembers, before the dings and dents you get after your boat becomes a car, and you take it out on the highway, and have a wreck.

Out there at the conference table you encounter stormy weather, and remember you're not on a highway, you're on a ship, and there's a shipwreck ... You find a lifeboat, and dive for pearls.

When I looked at the keyword index at taxi1010.com, and examined each word in turn of "Whenever I talk to him, he just always smiles," I kept my mind empty, looking at each of the stargates 60, 88, 51, 82, 3, 37, and 22, and on my way out of the house, one of the taxi1010.com verbal bridges appeared on a thin stream of invisible bubbles in the back of my mind ... It was "Either way," and the critical part of myself nodded in affirmation.

I looked further at the kinds of attacks and responses which are already in stargate37.htm, and realized "Whenever I talk to him, he just always smiles," has a kind of resonance with other attacks ... and responses ... already there, and decided to add your contribution somewhere in their midst.

"Either way" is an interesting response, because it implies choice. We can choose to stay on the riverboat, smiling, or we can come into the world of the riverboat thieves, scoundrels, and unfed dogs and offer them a tidbit of nourishment, something they won't quite understand on the surface, though they'll leave you alone. The idea is to pretend you're the mother or father of little children playing with imaginary Jack-in-the-boxes, or watching imaginary cartoon programs on TV. That's their level. They see the Jack-in-the-box smiling, or the cartoon character smiling, and say to their imaginary mom, "Whenever I talk to him, he just always smiles."

Now you're the worse scoundrel of them all, because you lazily drawl, "Either way," adding, "Get some comic books to keep you up," which suddenly jerks them into reality. You gave something "right back," though not what they might have expected. On some level they know they're in an imaginary world.

Of course, not quite believing you said, "Get some comic books to keep you up," they'll almost certainly come over the top with another imaginary "attack."

Then without batting an eye you can respond, "I have other difficulties."


"Whenever I talk to him, he just always smiles."

—Either way.
—Get some comic books to keep you up ... I have other difficulties.


In the imaginary world of meetings, projects, and clowns, anyone who's real can choose to, though doesn't have to, put on a performance.



6 January 2005, from Jim ... Out with the Sleep Walkers


Hi Richard!

The class will not be running this semester because of low enrollment. Two people signed up (minimum is 7) and one called with an exclamation: "I wanted to sign up for verbal self defense, but I'm not going to sign up until he tells me what KIND of questions he's going to ask me when he calls." A statement from a potential student who was talking to the school staff while I was on the phone about another concern. The person the caller was speaking to was transferred to me and said: "Jim, I have someone on the phone who does not want to take the course until you speak to her about her concern." I did not know what to say, except to remind the staff to tell her that the course was due to be cancelled because we did not have enough enrollment.

"I've never heard of anything like that." A statement by a Radio Shack employee to my question about PC serial port connections to VGA connections on a Satellite receiver. His statement had been preceded by numerous "What?" "Huh?" to another employee. At his statement I said too much by turning on my heel and saying, "I don't want to argue about it," and left. I felt an adrenaline surge on this one as I got in the car. I had thought of saying "Too bad," but I felt that would have been too sarcastic. So then I beat myself up by saying, "So what's wrong with being fresh to people you think are being mean, even if you are not sure they are being mean?" Ahhh yes, they still get to me, but I'm learning, hee, hee.

"She's not open yet." A statement from a cashier at Wegman's as I was merely APPROACHING the service desk to ask where the ice melter was located. It was 7 A.M. and I felt irritated and I said, "I need to know where the ice melter is located." "Oh, well I can help you with that." I said, "Thank you."

"Can I help you, honey?" "Yes, I'd like to buy a calendar [singular]." "How MANY would you like, honey?" "Just one I think." "Are you from around here, honey?" I engaged the person in conversation and said that my parents had lived not too far, but seeing that she was not reciprocating, I felt chagrined that I had acquiesced to her questions. Questions from the owner of a print shop that sells a great historic calendar.

Thanks, Jim.


Dear Jim,

I've found something people can relate to! Handing them my card for VerbalTools.com, I say, "It's preparation for hostile interviews! ... for instance, just before you're going to be interviewed on 60 Minutes! ... and at the other end of the spectrum, what to do when you encounter sleep walkers!"

Most people can vividly imagine themselves being interviewed on 60 Minutes, so at least they'll be prepared!


"I wanted to sign up for verbal self defense, but I'm not going to sign up until he tells me what KIND of questions he's going to ask me when he calls."

—Tough customer.
—See who can decide to have fun.

"Jim, I have someone on the phone who does not want to take the course until you speak to her about her concern."

—Tough customer.
—Living in a city of more than 600,000 people gives you some kind of immunity.

"What? ... Huh?" [Asides to another employee]

—There's hope.
—He's exaggerating.

"I've never heard of anything like that."

—Until now!
—I'm just introducing the idea.

"She's not open yet."

—Too early!
—I like the way you're crouching quietly.

"Can I help you, honey?"

—As if.
—This is the secret of life: other people's children.

["I'd like to buy a calendar."] "How MANY would you like, honey?"

—Beautiful, huh?
—I like a quiet girl.

"Are you from around here, honey?"

—As if.


While we have fun with the sleep walkers!



10 December 2004, "What the Bleep Do We Know?"


Hi Richard:

Climbing the ladder and putting up the Christmas lights on the house in Buffalo I noticed someone glaring at me in the living room window as they exited their SUV. Ah, the friend or relative of the people next door, who deal in intimidation. So, seeing the person with no neck exiting his car and glaring prompted me to say, "CAN'T WAIT" from the comfort of my front yard, behind the fence. I noticed the glaring change to a look of puzzlement. To tell the truth, I was feeling scared because he was with another person who was glaring as well. For about 10 minutes afterward, I said, "Ever hopeful" to myself, I felt better and thought that there might be change in their behavior someday.

Strange, but shortly right after that, I was immediately amused to see someone in a BMW pull up in front. He said, "Excuse me, but do you live there?" I said, "Who's asking?" with a smile. He seemed taken aback and paused and then said: "I'm asking because I'm interested in buying the house down the block, and I'd like to ask you how the neighborhood is." I responded, "Just fine." He then said (which I later thought was snide), "Thank you, it will be nice having you as a neighbor." I said, "No problem" as I headed into the house. I felt the remark was snide at best and I think he is either a Realtor or slum lord wanting to buy property "for a song" because the property he wants is no "peach." I could be wrong but it just didn't feel right, gut-wise that is. In any event, it was the second time I've been outside and someone has pulled up asking me about some other house. Last week, someone in a tow truck pulled up and asked: "Excuse me, are the people in that house [across the street] home?" To tell the truth, I have no way of knowing but I felt apprehensive and said, "Who's asking?" One of the guys said, "We are here to pick up their car." (REPO?). I responded with "Nobody Knows." The guy responded with what could only be a sarcastic "Thanks" and I said "No Problem."

The class has disappeared, no doubt for the holidays. I have agreed with the school to teach once again in January, 2005. The same goes for the Tai Chi classes, the thought of which makes me happy. It is always nice to start up new classes. This year I've invited a new friend, Stephen Hwa to do a workshop on the first night. We both studied with the same people and he touches on a facet of the Tai Chi, I'm just beginning to explore with him. My daughter told my wife, "Dad finally is beginning to relax from that nonsense that took place at work." I went with her to see What the Bleep Do We Know? and have now seen it three times. Finally, something that touches on what I read and have thought about since reading the Tao of Physics in the 70's. On the third time, my daughter and I did witness people get up and storm out during the first 5 minutes. I had read of people doing this in the reviews. I have no problem with anything that the movie had to say. On the contrary, it stimulated me to rethink a great deal about stuff I had put on the back burner. Meaning of life, religion, quantum physics, meditation, emotions, etc., lots of insight stuff, lots to think about, lots to spur more reading.

Happy Holidays in the Living Room Window, I Guess, in Buffalo,



Hi Jim!

I told David Daniels something about What the Bleep Do We Know? and he asked if anyone had mentioned anything at all about something being buried inside a person from childhood ... that understands sensation ... speaks in a language of symbols. Much later, lying in bed after a sleep marathon, I groggily wrote the words (at its insistence): "Dream, Sensation, Memory, Tension" on an index card, then fell asleep once more.


[Stranger glaring at you]

—What's missing?
—Social banalities!

"Excuse me, but do you live there?"

—All along.
—Top to bottom.

"I'm asking because I'm interested in buying the house down the block, and I'd like to ask you how the neighborhood is."

—Oh, huge!
—They're upper echelon.

"Thank you, it will be nice having you as a neighbor." [Sarcastically]

—Very nice.
—It's like a place to hide your money.

"Excuse me, are the people in that house [across the street] home?"

—Sight unseen.
—They're multimillionaires, so the hide out.

"We are here to pick up their car."

—THAT's why.
—This is like levels of rich people.

"Thanks." [Sarcastically]

—Nobody knows their address.

"Dad finally is beginning to relax from that nonsense that took place at work."

—Little challenges.
—Maybe they'll offshore their family.




6 December 2004, from Jim


Hi Richard:

The insight you have developed along with developing "non escalating verbal self defense" is astounding. Yes,it is easy to forget that people are simply trying to express the things that have troubled them since childhood and fudge it up because they haven't learned a way to express it. Now they are learning it and your point about "grappling, cajoling, teasing and spoiling" is well taken, good stuff.

By the way if you haven't seen it take a look at The Terminal with Tom Hanks. That is only a glimpse however into what Customs and Border Protection harbors at the "higher ranks" and "lower ranks" as well. People at Customs asked me what I was going to do when I retire. That is why I said "I'm planning to regain things like compassion, kindness, charity, love, etc. when I retire because they have been buried."

In looking for ways to stick up for myself at Customs, I buried the important things along with the insults and other nonsense. In learning and teaching how to express what has happened to me "preverbally" as well it comes out as being picky with the very people I am trying to help. My thoughts will turn to your sage advice when I am with the class. Thanks for the insight.



2 December 2004, "Cashier Theater at Home Depot"


Hi Richard:

I have to relate this series of insults because it is a first for me. It happened at Home Depot as I was checking out, I was dumbfounded, and I literally was rendered speechless.

I approached the cashier with my cart and said, "Hi, are you open for cashing out?"

The cashier studiously ignored me, looking upwards toward the second coming of Jesus no doubt. I had no response at the time except to repeat what I had said, but the bridge that I looked up later would be: "What's missing?"

She came out of her rapture and said: "I'll take your money." "That'll help." (I could only think) because as soon as she said that, the other cashier came over and they take up the middle of a conversation: "Even though she is a little fat, she has a nice shape," ("Hard times," I found later). "Well, her shape is not the problem, he is," ("But better!" I found later). "Yeah, he is, and he's not much to look at ... I think all she has is a self-esteem problem," ("Maybe not," I found later), all the while ignoring me as the customer. They are so absorbed, she doesn't notice I used my debit card (not a credit card), and she mistakenly hands me the receipt to sign, then looks exasperatedly at me, realizes it is her mistake, offering no apology merely looks away without a thank you. WOW!



Hi Jim!

Hmmm. There's theater here - It's really a piece of drama - and putting aside questions of who's tricking who into wanting to control the entire world, let's dive right in!

When a stranger meets you with total silence, they're really pretending you're dead - that you don't even exist - and It's murder! (They're too angry to admit it, much less, understand their own dramatic background and childhood experiences). So let's move right over to stargate50, which deals with this kind of theatrical silence. One way to respond is by simply uttering, Bad, huh? addressing nothing in particular.

Then she pretends to wake up and says, "I'll take your money," and I would continue with the theme of being bad, saying, REALLY bad, from stargate56, adding, "That's what they all do," as backup, placing you firmly in reality.

Now she moves back to total ignoring (by striking up a conversation with another clerk) and it's kind of tricky. How can you effectively join in without getting too weird? Well, Why bother? Let's just get weird! ... diving headlong into stargate03.

Okay, now we're back again, and she's staring at us with an exasperated look. Let's go back to stargate50 and utter, Many more! the way a drunk might offer a toast for a job well done!

In response, she looks away without so much as a Thank You. There's a little vaudeville routine that works like this: You say, "Thank you ..." to a teenage boy, and he responds with a surly, "Uh-huh" or "Yeah." At this point, with perfect timing, you add, "... So much!" So, by extension, when someone doesn't say Thank You when you might reasonably expect it, you might add, "So much!" - as no more than a slight gesture - at stargate26.



["Hi, are you open for cashing out?"] [Theatrical silence, gazing to the heavens]

—Bad, huh?
—Hold your ears if you don't want to hear this.

"I'll take your money."

—REALLY bad.
—That's what they're all doing.

"Even though she is a little fat, she has a nice shape." [An aside to a friend]

—Why bother?
—Notice they come here less and less.

"Well, her shape is not the problem, he is." [Ongoing dialogue with a friend]

—As if.
—What do I care?

"Yeah, he is, and he's not much to look at ... I think all she has is a self-esteem problem." [More digression with a friend]

—I hope.
—Understanding it is a lot better.

[Someone looking exasperatedly at you]

—Many more!
—It was just a really weird time ... your people ... in Sweden.

[Someone looking away without a Thank You]

—So much!
—That's good to say.


Notice in this entire production, the only keyword we're responding to is when she actually talked to you. She said, "I'll take your money," and we're responding to the keyword "money." Otherwise, since she's not talking to you directly, we're responding to psychological handles: "silence," "aside," "dialogue," "digression," "exasperatedly," and "away."



1 December 2004, "When I Start to Itch."


Hi Richard:

The class is truly interesting in light of what you and I have discussed about people either being "themselves" or being "their Mother." Perhaps if they read this they will get more of an idea that we need to confine ourselves to asking essential questions. Oops, I meant to say we ALL need to confine ourselves to asking essential questions. The person that I thought was a "sleeper" is at least concerned with asking essential questions and seems interested in "being themselves." Others insist on going back in time and "grappling" with events and the "personalities" that have filled their lives. I find myself exasperated at the times when I say: "Tell me what the person said to you, word for word." They say: "Well that's what I'm saying," then they continue talking around what happened with no specifics whatsoever, going on for an extended period about WHAT happened not WHAT WAS SAID. If those personalities have given them heartache, trouble, a hard time, etc., the students want to hang onto the negative emotions of what happened. They do this class after class as if to say "this person I know is beyond two-word responses, so obviously these two-word responses don't work."

Other students go on about how rotten people make them feel. In this regard, the students cannot recall what people said to them, they "bury" it. That in spite of my repeated urgings to try to recall and even write down EXACTLY what has been said to them WORD for WORD. They are still "grappling" with events, emotions, the idea of two-word responses, me, etc. and don't want to let go in order to learn. It's like the Zen story: "A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

Until I interject and make a point of directing things back to asking essential questions the monologues continue. They are trying to use the class as therapy and I am persistent in not letting it become therapy and I always direct it back to essential questions. I occasionally tell them exactly what someone said to me and explain that it provides an example of how they should proceed with using the two-word responses like a martial artist would use a technique. Occasionally one of them has taken on the role of a "cajoler" toward me in addition to continuing with monologues. It seems to befit the role of the "grappler" to also take on the role of "cajoler" and tease or "dis" the teacher. He says: "Maybe ... it will happen if JIM does it." I said: "unbelievable" which nailed it.

After I use a two-word response to some "tease" or "a spoiler" giving me my "comeuppance" we always get back to asking essential questions. That lasts for awhile then the "grappler" starts grappling once again with some personality that has crossed their path, I can see the "slippery slope" beckoning me from a distance. Of course if you ask them "what did the personality specifically say?" they just shrug it off in some fashion. Seemingly, they not only want to hang onto and grapple with negative emotions and events but they want to use me as a surrogate to grapple with those things. When I won't grapple, they resort to cajoling or spoiling. WOW. I'm sending a little money, so please watch out for it and I hope it can help in some way. Thanks again for everything.



As an afterthought, I meant to say "unbelievable, huh?" and not just "unbelievable" to the person in the class who made the comment: "Maybe ... it will happen if JIM does it." My use was not entirely correct but I'm learning all the time, especially from my mistakes.

For instance, I felt cheerful when someone said "Are you only going to have three people here tonight?" in regard to the Tai Chi class. I immediately said, "You're safe." He said, "From what?" to which I responded, "Much worse!" and we both had a great laugh. I was thinking of something a student had said to me just last week when I had made the point that we often have to do Tai Chi when we don't feel like it, not just when we feel like it. I had said "it's like learning to be happy when we are unhappy." That went off like a bomb with someone who said, "Have you learned to be happy when you are unhappy?" I said, "Ever hopeful," which seemed to nail it. On the way out they said sarcastically, "I didn't come here to be happy, I came here to be fit," and I said "That's it," which seemed to nail it. I must say as an aside, that's a hoot because they have missed 5 classes out of 10 scheduled, 3 of which they took in Vegas. To coin an expression: "it's like putting a drop of fresh water in the ocean," considering they only come once a week as it is. They lie so bad, cause they are the "COMPLAINERS." They don't come to get fit, they come to have a fit.



Hi Jim!

The people in your classes are learning the same things you're learning. For openers, they're admitting they feel bad, which is a pretty big thing. They couldn't tell their parents how bad they felt, or were punished for feeling bad.

Their emotional systems were frozen, and now they're unthawing. What they're really working on is how to express preverbal experiences. If you don't express it when you're little, it'll come out when you're older, and you're helping them. At first it's grappling, cajoling, teasing and spoiling!

Here are some things you can tell them: "This is good to know, isn't it? I think I'll put an ad in the paper, How To Complain."

"Better now than never."

"The worst is over."

"There's no reason."

"No worse?"

I've always thought it would be fun to work backwards with Non-escalating Verbal Self-Defense. I'd make games, with concrete responses the game pieces. (1.) I'd write a different short response on separate 4x6-inch index cards, and give one or two cards to each student. For instance, "Why bother?" "Next time!" "How's that?" "So far." "A natural." "Of course!" "You never know." (2.) I'd ask each student what attack, question, or hackneyed throwaway phrase might best be handled by one of their "game pieces." (3.) I'd put the students in teams, and challenge each team, by pooling their "game pieces," to respond to some particular "attack" you throw out. See if everyone agrees which team wins each round. (4.) My ultimate dream is an audience of some 88 x 4 = 353 people (including me!), each with a different "game piece." I'd challenge the audience with an "attack" and see what response somehow percolates to the top.

For homework, I'd give the students three or four "attacks" and have them look up the key words in the attack at taxi1010.com, in search of a "best fit" response. That's my game.

For extra credit, I'd have them arrange game pieces in useful sequences, say, one sequence for dealing with absurd questions about the weather: "Totally unspoiled." "You never know." Or how about their honeymoon? "Totally unspoiled." "Of course!"

That's it. The Index Card Kindergarten. T.I.C.K.

I'd maybe use these games every other class, giving them a chance to let off steam and express things they couldn't express when they were "preverbal."

"When I start to itch."


"Maybe ... it will happen if JIM does it."

—A natural.
—When I start to itch.

"Are you only going to have three people here tonight?"

—Secret knowledge.
—Start 'em young!

"Have you learned to be happy when you are unhappy?"

—There's hope.
—That's the kind of ambitions I have.

"I didn't come here to be happy, I came here to be fit."

—Either way.
—Just check it out ... It's just an idea ... I'm not saying you have to.




5 October 2004, from Jim, Tai Chi Professional


Hi Richard,

It does not happen too often but just enough to give me practice nowadays in Non-escalating Verbal Self Defense. Students ask a question and then decide they "don't like the way I answer them." So I felt embarrassed in front of the class when a student said (2nd class): "I am in pain when I am doing this exercise ... What do you have to say about that?" I said: "If someone is in pain in this class from what they are doing then they should STOP exercising ... I am not qualified to give opinions on what is causing the pain and recommending some means for students to ostensibly remove the pain and still continue in some mode of doing Tai Chi." The student then repeated the statement a little more stridently by saying, "I'm just asking a question and trying to determine what I'm doing wrong that may be causing the pain." I repeated: "I'm not prepared to give any opinion on how the Tai Chi may be causing pain and how to alleviate the pain by adjusting the Tai Chi." I went on, "I consider minor aches or discomfort a different matter and we could certainly adjust someone's posture to help with discomfort." The student was obviously not listening and appeared to be whispering something to one of the other students. She then sarcastically said, "Well, I am experiencing some discomfort." At that I found myself uncontrollably rolling my eyes toward the right and repeated: "I consider pain in Tai Chi to be something that dictates stopping but aches are certainly something that we can work to adjust."

I invited people to stay after class and correct their "basic walking." Two men and the student who was in "pain" stayed. The men left but one came right back and heard her as she said: "All I wanted you to do is to answer my question about how to correct my Tai Chi ... You embarrassed me in front of the class and all I asked you was a question about how to do something." I felt intimidated but I said: "Too bad ... teachers get embarrassed in front of classes as well." The male student came back and said, "I may not see you for a couple of weeks so please save a video for me." I said: "No Problem ... I'll see you when you get back." He then left, and I continued packing up my attendance sheets, waiver cards, pens and other equipment. She continued: "You rolled your eyes at me and all I was doing was asking you a question about how to do the Tai Chi." I said: "So what ... when the question is about the difference between pain and ache, I draw the line at pain." She said, "I don't care for your attitude, I think it is unprofessional, you are the teacher and you are supposed to know these things aren't you?" Feeling a little angry I continued to get up from the chair and said: "Nobody knows ... I can't put myself in the position of a Doctor to answer questions about pain." She said: "I studied Tai Chi before and I know a little bit about this stuff." I smiled and said, "That's jolly ... your teacher must be a humble person." She said: "Well maybe I should ask for a refund." I said: "Just fine," I started moving toward the exit and said "Here is an evaluation form, you can put down any negative comments, submit it to the school, tell them I gave it to you."

Seeing clearly that she did not want corrections but merely to prolong the argument, I continued walking out of the gym, to go home. She said: "Well I want to take this class and this is not acceptable, but you have a really bad attitude and I don't care for it." I said as I was walking away: "Who cares ... fill out the form, submit it to the school and maybe they will fire me, it's not what I want, but I dream about it sometimes."

She said: "Well, what am I supposed to do, I want to take this class?" I said: "No Problem ... if you have any essential concerns about how to do the Tai Chi in the future, just approach me AFTER class." She repeated: "But you embarrassed me in front of the class and I don't care for that." I said: "That's jolly ... I'll see you next week, you are welcome to come back to class." As I continued to walk down the hall she said: "You are just not very professional." I said: "yeah sure ... I'll see you next week."

I let my hair down later at home and my wife said: "I don't think two-word responses were appropriate in this situation, it caused the situation to escalate." I said: "Too bad ... but I don't think so, I did not want to argue with the person either, and that is why I reiterated what I said in class about pain." I continued: "I could not have said more without REALLY escalating the argument and to say less would have been to say nothing ... Her question was certainly valid but she also embarrassed me as well by her sarcasm, so what?" My wife said: "But she had a valid concern about being embarrassed by your eye rolling and your two-word responses seem sarcastic." I said: "Who knows ... perhaps my eye rolling was a perfectly natural thing to happen with no sarcasm intended ... Some guy really farted when I was giving corrections after class, what do I say 'you know your fart was sarcastic and embarrassed me and I wish you'd stop doing it and apologize?'" I continued: "I'm learning how to use the two-word responses, what should I do, stop using them, kick myself and say, I said the WRONG thing, I said BAD things, I didn't know what to say, I used the wrong words because I need to stop and think if I'm being sarcastic, have a bad attitude, may embarrass someone, may be unprofessional before I respond to someone who is being rude, intimidating, bullying to me themselves?" "You know," I said, "if I had to stop and think over everything I said to defend myself, I would probably not be defending myself and would have crossed the border into be offensive and not merely defensive." I said: "To me THINKING too much about what to say can very easily lead to preplanning what to say and that is offensive rather than purely defensive." I continued: "I was responding my best to what she said, when she said it, defending myself opportunistically RATHER than planning what to say, building some phony momentum and attacking her without provocation in order to defend myself." I said: "I would bet that if she does go to the school and complains it will be to ATTACK me and not DEFEND herself, and also not be very specific such as exactly what she said but will be things like "He embarrassed me," "he raised his voice," "he was unprofessional," etc. At this point in the past I would probably engage in some negative self-talk, self attack, beat myself up because people criticized my "attitude," or I was "unprofessional" and did what? ... ruined someone's offensive behavior because I defended myself? Bad attitude, unprofessional, bad intent can certainly be "read" into my two-word responses by someone who buys into unsubstantiated assertions like "unprofessional," "bad attitude." But perhaps that is "Too bad ... Also, I don't have time today to beat myself up, cause 'one day at a time' works both ways."



05 October 2004, from Richard


"I am in pain when I am doing this exercise ... What do you have to say about that?"

—What is the pain from? ... What did the doctor say?

"I'm just asking a question and trying to determine what I'm doing wrong that may be causing the pain."

—I'm really curious why.

"Well, I am experiencing some discomfort." [Sarcastically]

—Better not to generalize – Be specific.

"All I wanted you to do is to answer my question about how to correct my Tai Chi ... You embarrassed me in front of the class and all I asked you was a question about how to do something."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"You rolled your eyes at me and all I was doing was asking you a question about how to do the Tai Chi."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"I don't care for your attitude, I think it is unprofessional, you are the teacher and you are supposed to know these things aren't you?"

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"I studied Tai Chi before and I know a little bit about this stuff."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"Well maybe I should ask for a refund."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"Well I want to take this class and this is not acceptable, but you have a really bad attitude and I don't care for it."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"Well, what am I supposed to do, I want to take this class?"

—Thank you!
—It's only work if somebody makes you do it.

"But you embarrassed me in front of the class and I don't care for that."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"You are just not very professional."

—[Roll your eyes in pain]

"I don't think two-word responses were appropriate in this situation, it caused the situation to escalate."

—I'm surrounded by assassins!

"But she had a valid concern about being embarrassed by your eye rolling and your two-word responses seem sarcastic."

—You can say whatever you like.


Hi Jim!

"Repair the past and prepare for the future." (–David Daniels)

You were dealing with a fruity martinet (disciplinarian), or popinjay (vain, talkative person) ... clearly someone who likes to lord it over other people.


I have always been intrigued by what people say after things begin to go really wrong. It's as if they're establishing beyond a shadow of a doubt that your initial assessment was on target. You suspect they're a trouble maker, and then they prove it!

So anything at all you say to such people is what you might call good practice! Notice, too, that there's a cultural taboo against someone getting angry, or being fresh to a mean person. All the sheep gather together and bray at you. Yet, at some level, they admire you for sticking up for yourself.

Certain experts might say you misunderstood her in the beginning, that you didn't empathize correctly. Well, when I don't empathize correctly with an ordinary, decent person, they usually don't threaten my job security. You notice how she leapt out from under her sheep's clothing and went for the throat?




24 September 2004, from Jim, the Shakespearean Director


Hi Richard,

Fun in Buffalo at the first class. My feelings were hurt while leaving my house yesterday. One of the "stupid" people's kids ran by screaming, "Here he comes!" It sat with me like a bomb with a delayed fuse. It was for its "delayed nature" I forgot to take a breath and sense the "vital organs." I was up at 2 this morning thinking "what nerve" and how could anyone let their children engage in that behavior toward another human being? It has been 2 weeks since I have even seen the adults but there they were and not saying a thing to the kids about their behavior. I make it a point not to even look at them as I go to my car, "as if." I'm also buying ear plugs and/or wearing a Walkman (from now on) which is cranked up. The adults are apparently only interested in conflict and keeping any "grudges" going. I am not interested and unless they are standing directly in front of me, they don't exist. Yes, it is ignoring them but I am still "ever hopeful." My gesture toward having a nicer life for me and them is to arrange my life so they don't exist and they see that they cannot get a rise out of me. I may indeed be merely fooling myself, but .... My wife says they don't like us because we are the "old farts" on the street. She says the one neighbor hates us because we don't cater to her as the Queen "B" on the street. Couple that with the fact that she can't find out anything about us because we don't talk to anybody. It was nice to see the folks in class who are interested in having a nicer life, and realizing my gestures toward having a nice life are out there even for the grappler/complainers.

I see from the first class that there are people who unconsciously want to bully me and others. There is one guy who is a "sleeper." There are two people who complain endlessly, and the people who complain want to grapple and hang on to something. There are two people who got in the spirit of things and related incidents relating to their life experiences. I tried to encourage the class to ask essential questions but not to look for something that is written in stone. For instance, I gave example of someone who used to say, "What's up?" and I said I never knew what to say. I said that I had fun with it eventually after going to the database and seeing, "Just anything!" I do see my efforts as a gesture toward having a nicer life with the two folks who were open enough to say things like: "Boy, you go downtown and the panhandlers are all over you, you never know what to say because you feel like they could mug you if you do things like show them your watch." I said laughingly, "Hard times." The retired one looked at me with a puzzled expression. I held out the arm with no watch on it and repeated again with a laugh, "Hard times." I'm intent on heading toward playing with words and not getting into any kind of role playing. I felt embarrassed a couple of times but I managed to clarify some things to one of the grappler/complainers (She said, "Isn't saying 'Who knows?' rather over the top and couldn't it be construed as rude?") This type of statement was made continuously during class as though it was a "critique" on the order of why should I invest my time in doing this because it is "confusing." This person complains she is "confused" along with the other complainer but if encouraged to read the web site further merely nods her head absently. I will remain intent on making it a class of questions and not a class of answers. There certainly is never any shortage of questions (that grapple/complain) from people who have obviously not read the website and since they have not done that (certainly not thought about what was written because it has not been read) it is simply easier to grapple/complain about how confusing things are.

One complainer said, "Does everybody at Customs and Border Protection use Verbal Judo?" I felt confused at this statement. I said "Why do you ask?" She said, "I find you confusing." I said, "Do you find me confusing, Verbal Judo confusing, or the two-word responses confusing?" She said "No, not you, the two-word responses." Richard, what I find confusing is how she doesn't realize that everything she is thinking is coming directly out of her mouth.

It is the same way with Tai Chi as I've mentioned before. Eddie Wu used to say out loud for potential teachers to hear: "I'm not in the business of spoon-feeding people in order for them to learn this." Time after time I see people who want to be spoon-fed on the way to having a nicer life. They are clueless about having a nicer life and merely want to complain and grapple, they live in their own little world and really need to meet a Zen Master. I'm thinking of taking a Seneca Nation "Talking Stick" to the next class. "I find two-word responses confusing" = NOT LONG J." "Huuuuhhhh?" "Hold this stick."



24 August 2004, from Richard


"Here he comes!"

—Small world.
—Aw, you'll get through it! You're strong. You'll get through it.

"Does everybody at Customs and Border Protection use Verbal Judo?"

—Just imagine.
—Go crazy! That'll help you.

"I find you confusing."

—No telling.
—Yeah, dirty!

"I find two-word responses confusing."

—Besides that!
—They're dull.


Hi Jim!

Try to see two things at once: you have a mind; you have outer reality. It's free; it's in prison. It's clean; it's dirty.

We live in a very repressive, bizarre society; we are all happy, sparky individuals with free will.

Try to understand the kids in the neighborhood DO like you! What would they do without the weird, strange, old Tai Chi monster? You have to get back to basics, especially with children. Their parents are trying to trick you, and their own children, into thinking they're important! And the tricks are so clever, they work! Well, no wonder. People have brains, and people can use every ounce of their brain power into tricking people into thinking some people are important (not important), good (not good), special (not special), right (not right), a member of the country club set (not a member of the country club set), or a golf swinger (not a golf swinger).

Brain power is one thing; real intelligence is another.

The shortcut is to see you're alive (not alive), and you really feel things like fear, hurt, anger or hatred, (and most important, the way you are breathing!) and you won't feel all those delicious life-affirming sensations after you're dead! It's pain, all right. It's good to sense intense emotional pain completely, because then you get through it. Hurt feelings ... Where do they come from? They're being generated by some part of you. Does your hand feel hurt? Does your elbow? At first, try to see emotional pain as the over-excitation of pleasure.

So someone in my taxicab says, "Is that all there is, is fear, hurt, anger and hatred? What about love?"

Real possibilities come from the real feelings, which are faith, hope, love, charity, kindness, and compassion, and you can't begin to live from those subtle feelings without fully acknowledging (and releasing in intelligent ways) the crap bottled up inside the pressure cooker (which we create to get along in civilization!)

Okay, so let's get to the bottom of all this, into the essence of mysticism. You have something inside you. It was buried at a very young age. It understands you, you don't understand it. It understands your breathing, you forget about your breathing. It understands the language of sensation, you ignore the language of sensation in favor of "emotional interpretations" of adrenaline, and other biological reagents. It tries to communicate to you through the dreams you have at night, though it has been shuttled into the part of your mind that is "preverbal," without much support from you or anyone else. As a matter of fact, your parents hated this part of you because it was not socially acceptable! It spoke the truth. It could shit in the middle of the floor! It could pee on the side of a tree! It saw things as they really are.

When you dream at night, you are seeing its mind from the inside. When you are awake during the day, you don't like what it looks like from the outside, from the point of view of your "imagined self," and you banish it from your awareness. You think it's a mean, little rat! It looks like a rat to you! It isn't a rat! It's you! It's your tiny little Id that you keep chasing into a closet. You'll take care of it! You'll wear earphones!

The real part of you speaks in symbols and understands symbols, so here's a wonderful symbol for it: Think of yourself as a pyramid, with four sides. Those four sides are fear, hurt, anger and hatred. You have brick walls out there. Now, underneath the pyramid, in a treasure vault inside, are the real emotions, faith, hope, love, charity, kindness, and compassion. (Faith is really paying attention). Above, each pyramid is like an island in the sea. Beneath, all connected by electricity!

You're absolutely on the right track asking your class to ask essential questions! This is the real way.

Notice two kinds of people in the class: One kind of person is holding onto themselves. Another kind of person is holding onto their mother. When people are holding onto themselves, they'll listen and understand anything. When people are holding onto their mother, they'll just say or do anything their mother would say or do. It's automatic; it's the robot.

Some of them have what's called a "bad act" and don't even know it's a bad act! They're very strict, very stubborn, (anger tied in a knot = stubborn), and they may think they'll be happy by acting like their mother. It's like getting a palm tree to grow on the North Pole!

In your classes, try to see yourself as a director at a Shakespearean theatrical production. Sometimes the "actors" (students) will be talking to you from themselves, sometimes they'll be catching an inkling of their "acts," some may catch an idea of the possibility of trying conscious new roles, (with optional scripts,) and a few may even understand something about growing a palm tree (understanding).

On a moment-by-moment basis, they'll be asking two kinds of questions: One kind of question has to do with being themselves, with their lives and experiences, with their individuality, with their hopes, dreams and fears. Here, you simply speak from your own life ... from your personal experiences ... from insight, intuition and spontaneity.

The other kind of question has to do with the forms of the Shakespearean production, the forms of Tai Chi, the forms of Non-escalating Verbal Self Defence, the forms of block, thrust and parry. These are all very specific, precise, and the opposite of ad-libbing.

You can't possibly be expected to know the answers to all their questions about the "scripts!" They're on the website, you know? Who knows what they mean?

For you to be able to answer a question about the use of a script such as "Who knows?" in a non-scripted situation is a little over the top of the pyramid, don't you think?



27 September 2004, from Jim, the don Juan Director


Hi Richard!

It was with this following line that I retrieved HOPE, because saying "ever hopeful" had not rung true for some time, probably since I was first "tainted" by working for the government: "What would they do without the weird, strange, old Tai Chi monster?" Upon reading that line I found myself smiling a broad smile, and it was then that I realized I always have been "ever hopeful," it is covered up sometimes by crap in the form of brick walls. I think my experience gives even more validity to what you say in the following line: "you can't begin to live from those subtle feelings without fully acknowledging (and releasing in intelligent ways) the crap bottled up inside the pressure cooker (which we create to get along in civilization!)" Living through this: "It's pain, all right. It's good to sense intense emotional pain completely, because then you get through it." Not having even a glimmer of hope during the experience is what is truly difficult, but the smile cast a ray of light and there it was as though it had never left. Hope IS truly "ever hopeful."

I/We FORGET that the "real feelings" are even there along with the fact that we aren't "living from the subtle feelings" because the "crap" not only holds them down it covers them up so we aren't aware of them, "it was buried at a young age." The earphones have not materialized because I realize I'll only be covering up the good stuff in favor of trying to put a lid on the "crap" . Putting on the earphones was a thought toward a symbolic gesture to attempt to keep out any more "crap." In doing that I realize it makes it hard for HOPE and the rest to shine through.

I truly didn't realize what "essential questions" were until I became a "director in a Shakespearean theatrical production," "You're absolutely on the right track asking your class to ask essential questions!" Honestly, the phrase had sat like a lump of dough in my mind until I was actually faced with people who were asking NONESSENTIAL questions and I received some insight because of what was NOT being asked. Why is it so hard for us to accept the fact that Shakespeare was right? " All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances; each man in his time plays many parts." To paraphrase what you have said: Everything hurtful that is done to us or we do to others is not original, the "scripts" for these hurts have existed for as long as we have been here. Since the scripts are already written and men and women merely players, we have merely to use the "scripts" of Non-Escalating Self Defense, Tai Chi, etc.

Now for the first time since we have started corresponding over these years I have finally had insight into what this truly means: "Your emotions are as complex as all the plays of Shakespeare put together! And the actors playing the scenes are as powerful as the Gods of Olympus. So, for instance, Falstaff comes onto your inner stage, wanting nothing except to jump into bed with his mother, and then Zeus makes his appearance, then Athena. A person's self-reliance can get knocked overboard and drowned! To say nothing of the other connections Henry David Thoreau wrote about in Walden."

To this I would add that don Juan once told Carlos: (from The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yacqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Casteneda)

Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions....

Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

don Juan

I think that more times than not one/I cannot see that a "path has a heart" until you see that you still have a heart/hope yourself. Perhaps all the students and folks who come to Non-Escalating Self Defense or to Tai Chi don't stick around long enough to see the path because they can't see or hear their own heart. What you say also adds insight to what the Tai Chi Masters have said for centuries. Namely, that forms are only forms and that real insight only comes from understanding what is beneath them.

So we have buried/built a lot of "bricks" in the form of garbage, crap, junk, hurt feelings, anger, fear, hatred, etc. within/in the form of the "brick walls" even though the feelings with real possibilities are in there as well. The nice thing that I remember on the occasions when I try to ram my head through the "brick wall" or try to "cover it up" with things like "earphones" is what someone nice said: "There is no way round, under, over but only someday through it." Perhaps the key to getting through it is to realize its really not there if the "real possibilities" can see the light of day.



21 September 2004, to habermas.org


"Volume 21 ...?"

—Not bad.
—No other complaints?

"Get out of MY classroom."

—Not today.
—I didn't tell you that ... Don't you get scared.

"Do I get credit for this?"

—I see your technique.

"Have you ever considered streamlining the site?"

—Tough customer.
—That's a whole art, huh?

"Well, I found this syllabus. Is that what you want me to read?"

—Oh, definitely!
—It'll be a social embarrassment.

"OK. I found the site, and I read something. Now you want me to write something to you?"

—Beyond belief.
—It's all how you feel on the inside.

"What do you want me to do?"

—Watch out!
—You can have fun.

"What do you want me to read?"

—Really tragic.
—Forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.


Dear Habermas - "A Journal of Postmodern and Critical Thought Devoted to Academic Discourse on Peace and Justice" - This site is under rampant development, with entire new issues every week featuring contemporary student art, kids' pages, teaching essays on current events — as inspired by Juergen Habermas' theories on truth, beauty, and social justice through law. Whew! The site is run by two teachers, Susan Reiko Takata, Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, in Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Jeanne Curran, Professor in the Department of Sociology at California State University, in Dominguez Hills, California. Two highflying professors — totally down to earth.

In online forums and private communication, Jeanne Curran has valuable insights that really get my attention: "I was in vaudeville when I was a kid," she writes in an E-mail ...

"When I first started writing out the questions above, I couldn't think of answers. Then, I went back to [Richard's] site and found some, and suddenly the silent thoughts behind them were just popping right out," she continues in an online forum.

"My problem is I didn't have a childhood, so I didn't learn these crazy quick responses," she also writes.

Me, too! The funny thing is, I still haven't learned these crazy quick responses! I'm not sitting over here in Berkeley or San Francisco thinking them up, either. You have to understand, I am a thief.

Taxi1010.com is a machine I've created to generate mechanical responses to mechanical attacks, all based on key words in a "problem" statement or question. I don't "think up" the responses! I have reams of notebooks filled with merry patter of friends, and after I've "found" an initial two-word response (based on a key word), I simply go through my notebooks looking for a backup response that resonates with the attack.

This is why Professor Curran can read some of these same "responses" and find "the silent thoughts behind them ... popping right out!" We are both explorers of the mind, and there are aspects to the human mind and to our condition here on earth that are universal.

Jeanne Curran also writes, "Richard's on-site persona drives a taxicab."

Hello! I actually do drive a taxicab! Amoret and I are what you might call outsider artists, because we've known for quite some time that no institution on this planet would support work such as ours. Why? Because you can't do what we've done overnight.

We're saving overnight for other things! Including VerbalTools.com.



16 August 2004, from Jim


Hi Richard:

I'm beginning to see myself as WORSE than the Nitwits, simply because I know that I know "what to say" but I find myself so intimidated that I can't think of it at the time. In other words I know what the truth is AND I know a minuscule amount of Bridges to the truth but I still get "gotten to" some of the time and the adrenaline stifles the response.

Going along with the idea that "you can't argue with a nitwit" because they learned to lie in the 3rd grade helps you to understand that the parent of the child who is acting like a nitwit is a nitwit themselves.

So, feeling intimidated I still say, "Excuse me but you will hurt yourself rollerblading on the cracked sidewalk in front of my house." As it happens the plumber had his equipment near the walkway as well. If the kid fell, which he did, he could have fallen headfirst onto the equipment. Then, feeling intimidated and frightened because I know I will hear it from the parents, I wait. Sure enough, first one then the other come out and start yelling: "My kid has the right to rollerblade down the sidewalk." I'm on the phone with someone at the time but I say "Sure, Jack!" She responds with something garbled like "Sure Jack?" but sounds more like "kiss my ass" I say "Yeah, sure." Then the other comes out and says, "If you have something to say to my daughter then you can come to me, because YOUR stuff is blocking the sidewalk and she has every right to rollerblade." At this I'm speechless but still on the phone because I would be lying if I said anything other than that which comes from being intimidated. It is interesting that parents crawl out of the woodwork when so called "rights" are being violated but fail to be there "before" the kid hurts themselves or violates someone else's rights. Now I remember, you can't argue with a nitwit, you can't argue with a nitwit.

So, I'm beginning to understand WORSE than them and how important it is to "wait." Saying any old thing such as "Up yours!" "Fuck you!" etc. is not only bad in terms of escalating the conflict but you are LYING to someone else like you may have done under the "intense pressure of intimidation" in the 3rd grade. So, I'm learning to see "secretly" that I'm WORSE than them because I'm learning all the time, I'm evolving, I know better but I still am WORSE. This is good stuff and the kind of stuff that dreams are made of. I am however "Ever Hopeful" but "Infinitely Sad" at the same time.



16 August 2004, from Richard


"My kid has the right to rollerblade down the sidewalk."

—Watch out!
—It's tricky.

"If you have something to say to my daughter then you can come to me, because YOUR stuff is blocking the sidewalk and she has every right to rollerblade."

—Well, okay!
—That's two things I have to do.


Hi Jim.

The second you begin doing anything whatsoever that's conscious in this world, and that certainly includes teaching Tai Chi, studying a foreign language, or making an effort to respond to situations in a way that does not feel natural at first, you begin to see a lot more of what's really going on. The pain in this goes back to childhood, when we realized more than once that people couldn't even see us! Many mystics call this situation The Land of the Blind.

It's not that you're worse, it's that the situation is much worse. You begin to see things that are so grotesque, you realize you'd need a week to be able to accurately describe them, and even if you could describe them, most people wouldn't even believe them and would certainly make efforts to have you forget them as well.

There is enormous pain in this realization, and people spend a huge amount of energy covering it up and responding in mechanical ways. For instance, the neighbor storms over and screams at you while you're on the telephone, then you see a part of yourself that wants to scream back, and in the end, you don't! It's strange, ... a part of your neighbor does understand what's going on, and when they get back to their house, they take with them fresh impressions of the cracks in the sidewalk in front of your house, the efforts you are making inside and out to be kind, and your efforts in changing your own responses to the world. A part of them does see this, and therein lies hope.

It just takes about three weeks for these impressions to settle into a small part of their consciousness, and then in some mysterious way, they have an effect. So all you have to do is make small gestures towards whatever you think makes sense, let those efforts register in the world, and finally, do absolutely nothing! Then the world changes all by itself.



30 July 2004, Teaching Tai Chi


Hi Richard:

I like the statement "Tai Chi from a distance" and your statement about not being able to hit your friend. That's one of the neat things about Tai Chi is its use as a martial art, most people think of it as ballet for old people. I studied with a famous family in Tai Chi however, and I have found some Tai Chi people to be quite confrontational, also getting involved in feuds and spats. I once asked my teacher "Someone gives me the finger, what would a Tai Chi person do?" He said, "Give them the finger back." That sounds like advice you give to someone who is playing "king of the mountain" and "don't take any shit."

I knew then (the 70's) that Self Defense from Tai Chi needed the invention of "Non-Escalating Verbal Self Defense" to make it complete. Like a Yin (verbal complement) to its Yang (physical complement).

I also like what you say about "getting out of Dodge" and simply leaving a location as making sense. The statement from a tiny collection called the Tai Chi Classics is "Yield in the face of strength" but strength comes in different flavors. Certain Generals and politicians didn't think the Viet Cong were strong and we didn't learn and are still doing it with Iraqi insurgents.

I taught Tai Chi (open hand form first) to a local Karate instructor after he pestered me to teach him the Tai Chi sword. He once said to me "What would you do if I hit you?" I said "I would not be there." But I needed a "bridge" and did not have it.

A little game I tell my students about is to not stiffen up when someone is about to crowd you off the sidewalk or hallway. Just as you are about to be hit, turn smoothly at the waist AWAY (you are "not there" for the hit) from the collision. Most people stiffen or turn the shoulder forward, meeting strength with strength, only the stronger force will win. I've walked through the toughest crowds that (turning away) way (because the other choice was to get hit by a car) in a completely inoffensive manner, you don't have to walk in the street because someone is being an ass and hogging the sidewalk.

On the other hand there are times when one should "hold their ground" (for example as you say about someone attacking your character, making things personal, etc.). One sees the use of a (verbal or physical) strategy or simply "putting your foot down" depends on the situation.

People "stiffen up" in Tai Chi self-defense and get knocked off balance, people "stiffen up" and don't use, (ignoring, giving the finger, don't take any shit, etc.) Non-Escalating Verbal Self Defense and wonder why they get "knocked around" as well. Like you say, "Don't be afraid to try little scripts, (try saying something for heaven's sake), you will loosen up."

Practicing today at the park with my student brought someone up to within 5 feet once again. I was actually demonstrating to John but the person interrupted and said, "Do you mind if I watch, I take Tai Chi at xyz Tai Chi?" I said later to John, "Now if you take Tai Chi you know that it is done SILENTLY why would someone interrupt your SILENT class by ASKING you if they could watch?" Anyway, I said "I GUESS" to the person and they promptly left, HUH? I told John later, I thought of having some fun by stopping, and telling the person "Not at all, but I find Tai Chi is like Oral Sex, it is more than just talking about it, you'll understand if I don't give my ORAL approval." I've learned to have fun with interruptions over the years.

The parallels between Non-Escalating Self Defense and Tai Chi as a martial art, never cease to delight me as I study your fascinating website. Thanks again,



16 August 2004, from Richard


"What would you do if I hit you?" [From a karate instructor]

—No reason.
—Funny what makes you happy – Wouldn't you rather be down at the Black Pussycat Café having a beer or something?

"Do you mind if I watch? I take Tai Chi at [Another] Tai Chi."

—Great timing!
—Stick around – It's a good investment.


Hi Jim.

Thank you! Try using the following URL when you are looking for an initial response. The arrangement of bridges at VerbalTools.com should make teaching Non-escalating Verbal Self Defense a lot easier! (It's a more situational, rather than psychological, presentation.)




29 July 2004, Belchus Interruptus


Hi Richard:

I felt frightened recently but strangely enough more after I spoke to someone in the park. I felt more irritated during the conversation. Afterward I sensed my genitals and took nice deep breaths and the frights went away. I was practicing Tai Chi early morning and there were park personnel in sight and I carry my cell phone along with a piece of hockey stick I use for practicing Tai Chi stick, sword and sabre.

Some guy came up the stairs and I could smell the "doober" he was smoking even before he arrived. He promptly sat down 7 feet away and proceeded to start demonstrating several of his body functions. Belch, spit, fart, hawwwwkkkk, redux, redux.

On one of the noisier exchanges I said "And furthermore!" and when he did not answer (not thinking of anything else), I said, "Speak up, your voice is changing." He just ignored me and kept up with the litany, alternating with inhaling and blowing smoke rings. I went back to practicing and with my back turned.

Then he said, "Tai Chi, huh?" (Obviously, it's not enough that he won't answer when I speak to him, he wants only to disrupt me while I practice.)

I said, "Cheer up!" He said, "Cheer up?"

I said, "It's only as bad as you make it."

Finally, having lost complete concentration, and with his chorus continuing, I decided to leave. I said, "Hey!" (with no answer forthcoming and walking away) "Are you planted there?"

As I was walking away, he said, "I'm just trying to enjoy the park," as I went out of earshot.

I mentioned it to one of the park personnel I know and we both had a good chuckle. He said, "He was smoking marijuana for breakfast?" I said "Breakfast of chumpians."

I'm still memorizing the bridges, but I feel like I'm loosening up a little more, the more I try to use things.

Best, -Jim.


30 July 2004, from Richard


[Belch, spit, fart, hawwwwkkkk, redux, redux]

—Well, okay!
—That'll break it up!

"Tai Chi, huh?"

—You should eat more cheese ... The Chinese never get stiff joints.

"I'm just trying to enjoy the park."

—Well, okay!
—It's just unbelievable to someone of my age.


Hi Jim.

I've only seen fragments of Tai Chi from a distance, except once, when my friend Henry Korman let me stay in his Manhattan flat for a weekend, he said, "I'll give you a Tai Chi demonstration: Try to hit me!"

Every time I stepped forward to take a whack, his body moved in a totally unexpected way, and I was unable to even touch him!

On another occasion, my friend David Daniels instigated a small grass fire at our group's farm in western Massachusetts, and as Whitney and I leapt from the surprisingly fleet flames making their way off the bonfire, David called to the sixty or seventy of us who were contributing in various ways to this event, "Everybody get in the barn, and stay out of sight!"

We peeked out a barn loft window as the fire engine arrived, and professionals put out the flames.

Sometimes it makes complete sense to tell an entire class, "The dogs bark, and the caravan moves on! ... Let's move across the park, or ... Call it a day!"



17 July 2004, Jim's Intimidating Neighbors


Hi Richard:

I sent a little money via a money order a couple of days ago, I hope you received it OK. I found myself in a couple of situations recently where I felt both foolish and angry. Although the anger was not near the level I would get when I worked at the "asbestos farm" (before I retired).

On a couple of previous occasions I had to confront the neighbors over the behavior of their kids. The kids would walk past the front porch and say things like "F you, old man," then one of the kids would turn and say "Did you hear what he said to you? He said 'F You!'" I said "Cheer up!" On another occasion one of them said "Shut up old man." I also said "Cheer up!" The kid said "What?" and I repeated what I had said. I think saying very little is most appropriate.

I approached the parent (and told her what happened) who in so many words told me she didn't believe me. This person was arrested on a previous occasion for "mooning" the person across the street when they complained about her children who had been caught smashing the drainpipe. These same children have been caught by my wife and me in the act of coming up to our front window and putting their face to the glass and looking in. Along with 3 other boys the children (ages 10-11) aimed large slingshots with rock projectiles at my face as I walked to the store one day. It was at that time that I called the police who came and confiscated the weapons. I used to say hello, etc. to this person. She also has a friend in my immediate neighbor whose children have been misbehaving as well. The parents leave one or two teenage girls home with the littlest ranging from 7-12 in age. I looked over the fence one day and caught the littlest with a rock in his hand about to throw it over my fence at the cat. Staring at him caused him to drop it. I gave up on talking to those people as well because they just don't seem to care about the kids' behavior around adults.

The most recent incident has probably earned us the moniker of "despised people" because I called the police when my wife and I saw the littlest exposing himself to two other boys in front of his house. There is a for sale sign in front of their house although they do not own it. When the police came, they said "Maybe you'll be lucky and these people will finally move." The police said to never attempt to talk to parents whose kids behave in the ways that I described. They suggested that I always call them to deal with it.

Having experienced the hostility of the parents, I have a tendency to agree. The problem is in feeling foolish for having ever spoken to these people at all and angry because I sometimes feel like a prisoner in my own house with these people being able to behave in any bizarre manner they choose. They never speak at all unless it is to glare or smirk. I take a deep breath and quietly whisper "Too bad!" or "Who cares?" Those statements said only to myself seem to make things a little easier. It is interesting that statements like those have a nice psychological effect on me. ("Too bad!" but I think they would be lost on the people I have described to you.)

Best, -Jim.


17 July 2004, How to Summon a Genie


Hi Jim.

Google «taxi1010 ever hopeful» and look at all the Silent Backup responses after "Ever hopeful." Intimidation is what's going on here, and I would try to feel frightened instead of foolish, because feeling fear – along with reassuring words such as "Ever hopeful!" – unlocks unconscious childhood experiences. Why not summon that genie?

Real strength comes from being able to feel frightened in the midst of assholes! And rubbing Aladdin's lamp! —Who knows? ... Maybe I'll mention it to the boys downtown.

Thanks for mailing us fifty dollars ... to help pay for our fabulous new business cards! "The Future of the Internet" VerbalTools.com "Since 2004"



2 June 2004, from Jim


Hi Richard:

Sometimes I wonder if it doesn't help to talk too much. My student and I were having coffee at a Starbucks and a street person said, "Hey, man, buy me a coffee." I said, "—Not today." He walked in and then out and as he came by once again, said, "Hey, man, you got $15?" I said, "Just yesterday," but I had taken a breath and sensed my genitals right before that. He went to his "bench" and said, "Just yesterday? Just yesterday? What the fuck that mean?" I said, "Here today, gone tomorrow." He started in again repeating what I had said with a lot of "f" words. I said, "—Cheer up!" He again repeated himself, "Cheer up? Cheer up? I'll cheer up, I'm always cheered up." I said, "—Be serious." He said, "Be serious? Be serious? I'm always serious," to which I said, "—Sure, Jack!" and then he actually stopped talking.

He wandered back in the store but did not say anything more to us in passing. Somehow, I felt only two-word responses were appropriate with no follow-up. Things weren't perfect, but then what is? It was certainly the longest I have engaged in two-word responses at one time, maybe that is why I feel I talked too much. However, it was on the "street," and I felt a little "looser" than when I was working at the "Feral Duhvernment."

Thanks again,


3 June 2004, from Richard


"Hey, man, buy me a coffee."

—Not today.

"Hey man, you got fifteen dollars?"

—Hard times.
—I forgot.

[Someone parroting you]

—No joke!
—It's just good to know.


Hi Jim.

I don't know why things shouldn't be perfect, so I shifted stargate35 around a little to guard against these kinds of attacks ... all in once place. "—Hard times" is a very useful phrase, because you can keep repeating it (as if "reflecting on it") with varying rhythms, tempos, and tones of voice, adding to its "significance."

There's something you don't fully realize or utilize ... I don't "make up" responses on-the-fly. I use "memorized scripts" until I've mastered them.

When you "make up" responses such as, "Just yesterday," you get into trouble on two accounts: First, you're thinking, and the other person can watch your "emotional face" and learn a little too much from that. Second, responses you invent on-the-fly can lead places you might not expect, such as that guy beginning to pummel, pester, & parrot you [while you experimented with forms and learned!] In the end you nailed it with "—Sure, Jack!"

It's just like Tai Chi: You don't invent forms; you use them!

Finally, my teacher, David Daniels, said long ago, "We repair the past and prepare for the future." That is why I repaired stargate35, to help you, me, and everybody else prepare for similar attacks. You have a rare gift, which is, you hear [exact words] people say, and you communicate [real experiences] accurately. Most people instantly bury words they hear, and remember only emotional traces, such as, "infuriating," "embarrassing," or "horrendous," then bury even those! They sum it all up by saying they had a "good day."

It's strange, but people attack anyone who's in reality, because it reminds them of what they buried alive when they were children. Now they can't bear to see anyone else getting away with being a frightened kid actually listening to people, waking up in the midst of assholes! ... I mean, donut holes!



9 March 2004, from Jim


Hi Richard:

I was parked at the supermarket on Sunday while waiting for my wife. I noticed a cab pull up to the stop sign in front, turn off the engine and wait. Everyone except for one guy pulled around the cab, because it was obvious he was waiting for a fare. The impatient driver started beeping his horn and then got out of his car (blocking the people behind him who wanted to pull around) and came over to the cab. I heard him yell (as though the cab driver was deaf), "Hey, move your fucking car." The cab driver responded, "Got a fare." The guy continued, "I don't fucking care." Gesturing with his arm, he pointed further ahead and said, "Move your fucking car up there." The cab driver sat there stoically. The impatient one got back in his car and pulling around the cab turned and pointed his finger like a gun at the cab driver, then started shaking his finger at the cab driver. He pulled ahead and then got out of the car and proceeded to stand there staring at the cab driver until his significant other arrived with the groceries. It was then that the cab driver got his fare and pulled out. The impatient one walked toward the cab as it was moving and started shaking his fist and doing the swear / spit routine.

My response to a belligerent student in the Tai Chi class was OK until I turned my back to lead the class. She had been chattering, whispering and sniggering with someone since class started and continued to do so while I was talking. I asked them to do a balancing movement where you stand on one foot for 15 seconds while the eyes are closed. She sniggered all the way through that. Then she said, "The rest of the class isn't here to do this stuff." I said, "—No telling." When she looked at me blankly, I said, "Maybe THEY are unbalanced, and could really use this stuff." When I turned to start the form, she continued to snigger at my turned back. It's interesting to respond when your defenses are down. You are nice and relaxed from the exercise and naturally the guard is down. The stinger insult doesn't hurt at the time but today it showed up, like a "smart bomb." Tai Chi is weird, isn't it?

One of the supervisors at work reminds me of a caveman who goes around bashing everything with a club if it doesn't go his way. I once made a report and he responded with, "If you make that mistake again, I'll cut your balls off." Today, I heard him telling someone, "I want you to watch me while I put my fist through that computer screen." Then he said, "I think it would be worth a sawbuck to see that employee locked in handcuffs, although she might like it, don't you think." I continue to think nice thoughts, imagine that I am a combination of Keith Richards and Pepe Le Pieu and dream of when I can leave the asbestos farm. It's amazing, you are exactly right about how much information comes in from watching people and learning, this is emotional evolution at its best.



9 March 2004, from Richard


"Hey, move your fucking car."

—That'll help.
—It's ready to go, huh?

"I don't fucking care."

—Out working!
—There's something buried.

"Move your fucking car up there."

—Loaded baskets.
—It's the middle of nowhere, right?

[Shaking his finger at the cab driver]

—Think so?
—And, Duuhhh!

"The rest of the class isn't here to do this stuff."

—We'll manage.
—Can't stay away, huh?

[Chattering, whispering and sniggering with someone since class started, and continuing to do so while you're talking]

—Just vicious.
—There's worse than this.

[Sniggering at your turned back]

—And furthermore!
—It changes.

"If you touch that agenda, I'll cut your hands off."

—Not today.
—And you know it.

"If you make that mistake again, I'll cut your balls off."

—I take too much shit already.

"I want you to watch me while I put my fist through that computer screen."

—Can't wait.
—Different people have different capacities.

"I think it would be worth a sawbuck to see that employee locked in handcuffs, although she might like it, don't you think?"

—Heavy duty.
—Some people can just see what other people can't see.


Hi Jim.

I slipped in an extra attack stashed away in the taxi1010.com BANK (along with responses). We have way more off the air than on it. That's our secret.

Best always, -Richard.


25 February 2004, from Jim


Hi Richard: Here is some feedback specifically related to "sensing one's genitals and holding the breath," which really works and fends off a big adrenaline rush when someone is under stress.

Yesterday, I had to use the john and specifically to take a "p." While in the act a fellow employee starts verbally pestering me about a problem with someone's computer. I raised my hand with a finger (don't go there) extended to signal I would talk to him in a second, minute, etc. He kept up the pestering and started raising it to a crescendo. I realized I was "literally" in a position to do what you suggested. All except for the holding the breath part ... when one holds one's breath, it is nigh onto impossible to "p." I realized this as I attempted to hold my breath. Not able to do that I blurted out (breathlessly) ... "I'm taking a pee, I'm taking a piss." Seeing that he was talking from a not-so-nice place, I added, "I'll talk to you outside when I'm done." He went out mumbling something or other to someone else who had witnessed the incident.

I thought later on after looking up what I remember of his words (nothing) that a bridge might have been. "—Not here!" followed by, "—It's good for people to know what they can't do," to his response.

Someone nice in the office asked me if the person was a manager (It's nicer that way?) – I said, no, but a manager witnessed it. In the office, where the word "fuck" in all of its forms gets bellowed out all day for everyone to hear, I heard the witness manager yelling out, "I'm taking a piss, I'm taking a piss." (Lots of laughter). My wife told the story where she works and heard the jokes, "I bet he was pissed."

I said, tell them "—No shit!"

As you say, I hope the whole world can hear about stuff like this because of the Internet. Someone also said, "Gee, some things should go without saying." I said, "—Probably." I'm having good thoughts about leaving here in a very short time. Perhaps I can learn to farm dental floss instead of asbestos.

-Buffalo Jim.


25 February 2004, from Richard


[Someone pestering you at the urinal]

—You're safe.
—It's outlandish – No one's even complaining.


Hi. Some people are very brutal; they're not just mean, they're dumb. When you were ten or fifteen years old, and you met such a person, you didn't have enough experience to actually see how dumb they were.

Some people are totally absorbed by the beatings they took as children; they're not just emotional, they're absent to themselves. They treat people the same as their parents, and cannot treat people as different from their parents. They see themselves as being in a religion, rather than having a religion inside of them. When you were a kid, you didn't have enough experience with getting rejected to see they don't have a real sense of humor.

Some people are like college professors who spend most of their lives making snide comments about other people, or becoming embroiled in arguments. It's all about proving they're better than other people. When you were a kid, you didn't have enough knowledge to understand how tricky some people are. They think you're the help, (They can say anything they want about you) and your function is to serve them. (And if you say anything about them, they shriek!) They're not too smart. (You can't be friendly to these people, and you can't say anything that's real – You say one thing, and they act hurt or depressed - They feel like they're left out.)

You could say these people are living in the Age of Magic, the Age of Religion, and the Age of Science. We are now entering the Era of the Common Man, in which people with insight see we're all pretty much the same, and the way to get along with ourselves and with other people is through understanding.

The main thing to notice is when people have no sense of humor about their mother and father's beatings, (They blast you with flame throwers!) and can see you don't take their father's shit seriously, (These people are monsters!) they hate you. They're also, (Did I say this?) not very bright. I am, -Richard.


19 February 2004, from Jim



May I be the first to say, "The attacks [from irrational people] make no sense, whatsoever." Since I read this statement on taxi1010, I have (tentatively) decided "the attacks of my students (Tai Chi) make no sense" whatsoever. People come to your website, spend a whopping 5 minutes and decide the responses make no sense. People have come to my classes, spent a whopping 1st or 2nd class and say: "I'm lost," "I can't remember," etc. Those statements make no sense. They are attacks and they make no sense and they make no sense because, like the visits to the website, people simply haven't spent sufficient time to make value judgments. My feeling is that, like the Tai Chi, people should say, "I'm going to invest some time in studying this, and I think a fair amount is 1 year, 6 months, etc." Then a decision can be made as to whether something makes sense, is easy, hard, etc.

I heard, "I can't remember," on my first class this year and the person(s) have not come back to class. I heard, "I'm lost," on my second class and the person even said, "I'm lost" about the Tai Chi video (which shows the movements learned in class and repeats each movement at least 30 times each) that they purchased from me for $10. The video statement came on the 3rd class, so I forgot to "hold my breath, sense my genitals," and [instead] offered them their $10 back (a blank stare). I can attribute a certain statement to a famous Tai Chi instructor, now retired, who stated, "American students are too frenetic," to which I would add, that is why they need disciplines like Non-Escalating Verbal Self Defense, or Tai Chi. It may be cliché nowadays to say that we have a fast-food mentality that permeates everything, but if I could put the Tai Chi in a pill, I think people would still forget to take their "medicine" or say, "I don't understand why I'm taking this" after the 2nd dose.

Like you said, we learn from listening to people. While at work today I heard the following: "From now on," "Get your feet wet," "Don't be ridiculous," "Just like my kids," and that came from one person to another person in the space of 3 minutes. It was nice to be "on target" with someone in my class who had asked about my last name and whether I was related to this or that big shot and he ended it with, "Where do YOU work?" ... "An Asbestos Farm." ... Blank stare. We are raising asbestos here and each day I'm finding a crop (insults) to harvest, "dig it?" This may be anticlimactic, but I knew I was in trouble when I was taking attendance one day and a student said, "Can you hurry up?" She followed that immediately with, "I'm trying to relax." -Jim.


20 February 2004, from Richard


"I'm lost."

—Doesn't matter.
—You probably have some innate sense of goodness or decency.

"I can't remember."

—Out working!
—You can never remember, but you can see.

"From now on."

—Well, sure!
—Because that's what you're supposed to do.

"Get your feet wet."

—Why not?
—Maybe I'll try that.

"Don't be ridiculous."

—Be serious.
—I am a University graduate!

"Just like my kids."

—Very awkward.
—Who isn't at that age?

"Where do you work?"

—All around.
—It must be den politics.

"An asbestos farm."

—I'll bet.
—Doesn't have to be forever.

"Can you hurry up?"

—Or vice versa.
—Romantic suffering.

"I'm trying to relax."

—By now.
—That's my secret.


Thanks Jim!

Not so much for this country, but for the whole world.

Best always, -Richard.


7 January 2004, "being on target"


Hi Richard:

Not only will the [religious people] in my former office never forgive me, I'm sure they can't forgive themselves for not forgiving me sooner. The once and future Princess of the Bullies (who told people before I even came to the office that she would never work with me, even though she had never met me) came to the elevator at the same time as me. Of course I knew she would not get on with me, since she has not done so in 4 years. As the doors were closing, I said "ANOTHER ONE?" What a great bridge, and it felt really great to "get back to myself." Also, there was no rejoinder from her, not that I expected one, because she has not talked to me in 4 years as well. I filed a complaint against her and 2 other bullies in the old office that resulted in quite a bit of furor and I thankfully am out of that situation (at least physically).

I have to tell you this feedback about how good it felt to be "on target" for a change with no adrenaline pumping whatsoever. When bridges are "on," they are really "on." Also, I'm sure at some time she will see me somewhere and inanely yell out "ANOTHER ONE?" What you said was correct about [religious people] and she is "active" in her "Church" and goes every Sunday.

It's interesting but tragic with bullies that when they can't actually bully someone themselves, they will "pile on" if they see someone else is doing it. I guess Tim Fields calls it "mobbing." The whole thing in my former office started (finally) after I came back from breaking my hip in a skating accident. Where once before I had put up with the bullying for 15 years without saying anything, I could no longer tolerate it. My friend Mark hurt his back recently and says the same thing about this "workplace" bullying. I said that I think physical pain makes one acutely aware spiritually / physically / mentally. I said that I think one's senses (all of them including the psychic ones) are heightened, almost as if the "survival" instinct is really kicking in. The body knows it is wounded and it must protect itself. So after the umpteenth gazillion nasty insult came my way, I politely asked the offending party to knock it off. They responded by screaming and yelling and subsequently arousing the other bullies to mob me by "shunning" me much as if I were a Jehovah's Witness, Army Private, etc.

I had gone through this one too many times in the past and I lodged a complaint with Management and Internal Affairs that they were creating a Hostile Workplace. Of course, they don't see their shunning as harmful, neither does management in spite of the written rules "against it," but it did get me away from them physically. Nowadays I really appreciate having the ability to respond "on target" even once in a while. I'm dreaming of nice vacations after 2 more years here and on to retirement. I fantasize about all the nice things I will do. Thanks once again for what you've done with this website. For some of us it means being able to breathe easier when confronted by morons with an attitude. -Jim.

Thanks Jim!

It doesn't matter where you learn things. You watch other people.

Best always, -Richard.


29 November 2003, Boy Scout self-defense program


I am putting on a self defense program for about 200-300 youth. Our Boy Scouts are having problems being picked on and I need information on how to stop it before it becomes physical. Do you have something that I could print out to give to these kids to help them? They are aged 10-18. I have a person coming in to show them basic steps on how to protect yet not hurt someone. -bmtimm.

Hi! It's funny, the more a person understands about what's going on in the world, the better off they are. I'm putting together a mockup for a book a kid could carry around in his or her pocket. I'd mail you a copy, except I don't have a printer! Thank you for your request, and I hope the following URL provides some light.







18 October 2003, the labyrinth


Hi Richard: Since I have found your website I also find that I amaze myself sometimes. Occasionally I will do a search for things like emotional intelligence, dealing with mean people, etc. The websites that the search comes back with simply do not measure up to what you have done. It is really amazing. So much of what they say is yada, yada, yada and really of no value in dealing with bullies, mean people etc.

I WONDER, what goes through other people's heads when they come looking for help in dealing with the meanies. I am teaching a course that includes actually walking a portable labyrinth that I constructed in the gym along with the martial art of Bagua. When people aren't in the labyrinth they are practicing Bagua. I looked at the history of labyrinth walking and discussed some of it with my friend Mark. I suspect, I said, that the church has largely appealed to people's intellect in the past and people want a way to walk the walk not just talk the talk. A way to practice what is being preached. No one gives you information on how to put the high standards into practice. I said that perhaps labyrinth walking has come to mean a way to implement those ideals, just as your site has given us a way to implement all the pretty words that counselors, psychologists have been preaching.

Mark said, are you kidding? What the Christian church did was to bypass the intellect and hit you right in the emotions just as Richard talks about it on his website. He continued, what do you do when you tell someone that they are worthless from birth and that they are going to a big blast furnace somewhere underground if they don't get with your program. He said, that is nothing but an attempt to instill you with fear and that is what bullies do.

Thanks a hundred times over for what you have done. It may seem like a labyrinth for some people to navigate your site but like the labyrinth you will feel better if you go to the center and walk back out the same way you come in. You won't get anything out of the site if you stop after three or four steps, one has to stay the course. The site has never failed me.

I guess, as my friend Pete says (he's an alcoholism counselor), "People want YOU to fix THEM," they say in so many words FIX ME. When you can't do that they feel you have nothing to offer. People have to do the work themselves, they have to read the website and reflect on what is offered, just the same as walking the labyrinth, no one can walk it for you. -Jim.

Hi Jim! I'm growing increasingly suspicious about religious people these past two years. On occasion (well, twice really) I ask someone, "Do you think Jesus ever made the sign of the cross?" I don't want to make anyone explode or anything, so I'm kind of cooling it. Best always, -Richard.


29 September 2003, from Jim


Richard, Yes, it is a temptation to use a "secondary response" as if it is a primary response. It is best to leave it at a two-word response then "hit the road" so to speak. However, when one is in "the herd," it is easy to lay back under cover of the other zebras, and unless you are wounded, you will not get attacked by the "lions." Sometimes you have to go directly into the humans' office, ("lions' den") because we are not lions, we are humans. There, the humans (baboons, lions, etc.) feel free to engage in their hyperbole, games, harassment, bullshit, etc. For example, you have to walk past someone who likes to stare, glare at you as you drop the mail off. You don't say anything. You stop to adjust your belt. They then decide to start laughing at just that moment. You say "Wild, huh?" to which they don't say anything, but they follow you out of the office and right into the boss's, muttering, "I don't know what is going on here." Sure. This is the same guy who, when he passes you upstairs "away from the office," gives you the finger each and every time in the form of a Hitler's mustache, ... Right, it's not really the finger, he says to himself. You respond with "As if." You are right, you don't want to be cool because you can defend yourself. Either way, however, the adrenaline is pumping and you are having a stress reaction. I don't feel cool either way, never have, never will. Some of us feel bad even when we defend ourselves, then it feels good to get back to being myself, not be cool. -Jim.


29 September 2003, from Richard


"I don't know what is going on here."

—Nobody knows.
—That's really tough stuff.

[Someone staring and glaring at you as you drop the mail off]

—Can't wait.
—Next they'll be marking sharks with purple X's.

[Malevolent laughter just the moment you stop to adjust your belt]

—Oh, yeah!
—You will not look now! [Darth Vader voice] See? You're not looking.

[The secret finger every time they pass you "away from the office," in the form of a Hitler's mustache]

—Another one!
—That's what I think!


Hi Jim! You're really lucky because you're seeing things that are going on all the time and learning fast! Actually, you're evolving, and it drives people crazy. As you no doubt realize, institutions have memories, and the memories are held by individuals who never forgive you for making moves to escape from the cage (in the mystical sense). I would look at this from three levels, simultaneously:

(1.) You can't change a rat pack. Sure, if you stay where you're presently earning your living long enough, the real troublemakers will move on, or maybe grow old and die. However, what about you? Try to see your future beyond that particular institution, with so many haunted hallways. Maybe Hawaii? However, there's truth in the idea that no matter where you go, the same villains will somehow "pop up," because you haven't, in some way, "mastered dealing with that type of person."

(3.) Ooops! I meant, (2.) What's lucky about your current place of villainy is that it's so fertile for experimentation! That is, if you haven't yet made every possible mistake known to man in the process of learning something, you're certainly making great strides. Of course, they'll never forgive you for the mistakes you have already made, and so what? What difference does it make to us den of thieves? (Not to get your hopes down.)

(Finally.) We're all born like a car off the assembly line, with a smooth-running engine and large horizons. This is the definition of happiness. Then what's done to us, in the form of wrongs, hurts, and slights, are like dents in our fenders. However! Those dents aren't the real us. What we really are is underneath all that – It's instinctive, intuitive, enigmatic, and powerful – and with every breath we take, and every heartbeat we throb, we're still alive.

There's a very clever solution to working around sneaky cat burglars trying as hard as they can to make money: See yourself as secretly WORSE than they are. Then suddenly things begin to clear up. Right now some of the people are tricking you some of the time, (and the proof is in the adrenaline!) If you sense your genitals and hold your breath, you will move to a different level. (It's like consciously shifting gears.) Then, as you slowly let out the clutch, see you're Another one! and coast on by. This is the life of the artist, and that is what they hate.

They will always hate you. They will never like you. They can't forgive you. (Especially if they're Nazis masquerading as Christians! – "Let's teach little children to worship a crucified Jew, heh, heh!" "Yeah, and then we'll tell them he's still alive!" "Then no one will pay attention to what he actually said, heh, heh!") So ... go back to number one! However, watch out! Things may be worse than you imagine. I've seen people in places such as you have been describing come after me with knives, and I've seen people pulling guns. And my only crime was that I let my marksmanship instructor (a beautiful blonde who learned how to shoot pistols in the California Police Academy) praise me too much for painting a tiny cluster in the bull's-eye, and went to a restaurant in Mill Valley, still "puffed up" from her praise, and missed the true intent of the guy who kept "accidentally" bumping his chair into mine in an upscale town-square Italian restaurant. When he suddenly popped up in front of my table and clownishly said, "Hey, can I have that chair?" three times in a row, I said to him, "Leave me alone," (ratcheting my voice up) three times in a row, and after I left the restaurant, he literally came after me with a knife. I escaped in a passing taxicab (driven by a Sekh Warrior in a turban!), though the knife-wielding guy subsequently carved up the side of my parked car (which I had been circling in my goddamned sandals) to teach me a little something.

What he taught me was not to go back to Mill Valley for ten years, and to this day, I've been trying to imagine what he says to himself after such an incident. Maybe, That guy said, "Leave me alone!" three times, so I showed him!

Actually, my mistake was, I had humiliated him in front of other people, by raising my voice the way you do in Boston. Except California ain't Boston, if you know what I mean. And I could see two things in retrospect: (1.) The guy had done things like that before, and was simply looking for someone to mess with "in secret." (2.) And I missed perceiving it, because I had been so pumped up from being a hotshot pistol Marksman, and now all the waitresses were flirting with me, and this total stranger kept bumping the back of my chair with his own.


Amoret and I have a new website! Hope you enjoy it:
"A Martini from Heaven"


23 September 2003, from Richard


"I'll be waiting for you when school is over."

—How exotic.
—As if something terrible is going on that's never gone on before.

"You have a cognitive perception disorder."

—Even so.
—Next they'll kill the penguins in the zoo.


There's a huge temptation to use the secondary response as if it's a primary response. So, for instance, if someone says, "Hey (your name), how's it hanging?" you're better off saying, "—Well said," and leaving it at that. Or if someone says, "I like all kinds of dicks, big ones, little ones, I like all kinds." [Specifically for you to overhear], you're better off saying, "—Heavy duty," and moving on. Finally, if a therapist attacks you, get another one! The secret of being popular is, There's other people. [Hint: They're all baboons in a tree. Keep back a little. Lay low. In a world full of wolves, be wise as a serpent, and humble as a dove] There's a very subtle though most powerful idea here: You don't want to let anyone trick you into being, "The Cool Guy Who Can Defend Himself." The idea is to get back to yourself, not prove you can stand up to anything. Nobody can! P.S., If you don't believe me, go see Matchstick Men.


You might also be interested in the following two URLs:


18 August 2003, from Jim


Richard: In regard to statements like, "Am I the only person who can't figure this verbal self-defense site? ... the answers don't make sense": If they can't make "sense" of the site then you are doing an excellent job, keep up the good work. Self-defense in the physical (as well as verbal) doesn't "make sense" either. I've taught "self defense" in a Tai Chi framework to adults and kids. I see lots of expectations and preconceptions. In a culture where Hollywood shows us people "exploding" when they are hit, the movies show us the "action," and the punches / kicks ( / responses to verbal aggression?) are seen very clearly. Self-defense is best served as a surprise, inscrutable, enigmatic, not easy to understand, tasteless, etc. People laugh at other people who do Tai Chi, it looks strange, weird, etc. "If they did not laugh, it would not be the Tao," –Lao Tzu. You do not want the attacker to "make sense" of it. If someone in the audience grabs me in a bear hug, I get out, but I don't show it twice, like a magician. The element of surprise would be gone. All over America we have people saying "look what I learned" and knocking over refrigerators as they demonstrate it a 3rd, 4th time to their spouse / significant other. People who want verbal self-defense to make sense (have preconceptions about self-defense to begin with) and want to respond to insults with a devastating riposte. That is like a hard Karate block followed by kick / punch (pretty rudimentary). "Hard" responses also imply a certain attitude toward life. "I'll knock you down if you get in my way." Further, it opens the door to escalation of the conflict, (see Newton's laws action / reaction). Non-escalating defense (physical / verbal) aims to intercept / neutralize / redirect the oncoming punch / verbal aggression. Being enigmatic, inscrutable, not "making sense," etc., only enhances the defense. Stay tuned to Taxi1010.com, watch Jet Li fight himself, he uses Bagua (huh?) to fight Hsing-I (what?), enigma takes on bombast. -Jim.


25 July 2003


Don Juan Discussion Forum > High School Forum > Need some help on these types of situations...


jive, Senior Don Juan, Registered: Sep 2002 Location: TX Posts: 318 Age: 16


"Basically you already solved your problem by what you did, you demanded respect (basic DJ knowledge, don't let anyone disrespect you). Most likely you let his insults build up; he insults you once and you don't do anything, and he thinks he can keep doing it. What you gotta do is not let that happen, insult them back or come back with a funny remark. You have to see things in a non-serious way, because these are non-serious situations. They are not terrorists trying to kill you, they are stupid sh1ts looking for attention. The people that go out of their way to make fun of you are insecure losers, and they usually have nothing better to do at the time. Think of it as a test. They are testing if you are weak or not. If you just ignore them, you have failed their test, and from now on you will be a target of theirs. Don't ignore them because they will just keep making fun of you. Just say random sh1t back to them or give a good come back, do whatever (give them a hug), just don't act all serious, caz that's what they want you to do. I think this is from another post, check it out. http://www.taxi1010.com/ I used to take sh1t from people all the time. Now I just make everyone else around me laugh whenever some1 tries to make fun of me. I don't let others change my mood, if I feel good, I'll continue to regardless of what someone else says or does."


Earlier taxi1010 Feedback