Foreword to Dave Draper’s A Glimpse in the Rear View

by Dan John for Dave Draper

This is an excerpt from Dave’s book, A Glimpse in the Rear View

A Glimpse in the Rear View, Dave Draper

Life does funny things to our memory. We look back at our own personal Golden Ages, perhaps a time in school or holidays with our little children, and we enshrine these moments with rosy lens and imperfect memories.

We should be thankful for those imperfect memories. Like Saint Paul said in I Corinthians, “we see through a glass darkly.” We forget the bullies, the hysterical tears of an unhappy toddler and periods of loss and loneliness. Our “rear view” memories fix the order of things, clear out the mess and make logic of history.

A Glimpse in the Rear View puts us in the passenger seat as Dave Draper pulls away from Muscle Beach and from the stage of Mr. Universe. He takes us into the dungeon, brings us out to the movie set and lets us help open a gym with the Austrian Oak. He pulls the weight set from under the bed for us and leads us in sets of dips on kitchen chairs.

We meet people from all over who love the iron. We bury some of them as time moves along, and others just fade from sight. We meet the wonderful and beautiful Sharon Tate, but we don’t follow her fate. This isn’t once upon a time; these are real stories. Life can be sad. Life can be cruel.

Dave protects us from getting too close. Stories of hunger, isolation and desperation are hidden behind sea mist and early morning fog.

When Dave finds a human body in the ocean or discusses his multiple bypasses, he cushions us in his mighty arms. He adds a touch of humor and self-deprecation to every sad story. He turns losing cartons of Bomber Blend out the back of his pickup into a slapstick comedy scene. I will forever remember the image of him hiding in wait for the police and an angry mob covered in protein powder looking for justice.

Like J. K. Rowling’s last chapter of the Harry Potter series, we see things darkly. She writes: “But the vapor was dense, and it was difficult to make out anybody’s faces.”

Memory can be dense vapor. Memories can be far more important than the present.

Dave, in full poet and prophet mode, says this brilliantly:

“Put the filter of time on a moment, a day or an era; add slow motion, plus your favorite sounds, apply shades of black and white with brilliant color, and it’s all legendary, pulsing and dramatic. Nostalgia is more precious than the present, more real, friendlier and informative. Today will be more important tomorrow…next year.”

There will be some who wish for more details on sets and reps and how many cans of tuna to eat. Well, Dave gives us a gem from a conversation with Zabo that provides enough information to digest for the next century (if you follow the advice!):

I asked Zabo, “What is the best exercise for biceps?”

We were buds for a long time, and went on various adventures near and far. The man was known for his simple wisdom, keen wit and adversity toward the ruins of ambition. He answered my provocative query in detail, “Curls.”

I was not surprised.

I continued. “What is the best exercise for triceps…shoulders…chest…back… thighs…calves?”

He answered each question generously, patiently and in order: dips…front presses…incline presses…deadlifts…squats…donkeys.

“Anything to add?”

I was riveted.

“Yeah, train hard, don’t miss, keep it basic and eat lots of chicken, fish, red meat and salads. Red wine won’t hurt ya.”

Pin that on your wall. Post that on your social media. Point your finger at this when someone asks what to do and say: “Do this!”

It’s what Dave did. It what The Bomber did. It’s what the bombers do.

When Dave finally pulls over and lets us out, we know some stories, we know some names, but, far more important, we have gained some wisdom. Wisdom comes at a high price.

Dave made it simple for us:

“Today will be more important tomorrow.”

Dan John
Author, 40 Years with a Whistle

A Glimpse in the Rear View, Dave Draper

This was an excerpt from Dave’s book, A Glimpse in the Rear View