The Illusion That Exalts Us – Ego #2




Examples Please

How about a racist?  She feels exalted by virtue of her inclusion in a certain race. Other races aren’t as good as her race, as proven by ‘history’. How does she sustain this belief? By ignoring the ten thousand truths that prove the ‘history’ (and thus the belief) is incomplete and wrong.

And a Sexist? He feels exalted by his status as the ‘stronger’ sex. He is bigger, faster, stronger, smarter than a woman. In addition, his religion and his tradition says it’s so. How does he sustain this belief? By ignoring the ten thousand truths that prove his religion and tradition are incomplete and wrong.

Why Yoga?

Then why do I have a person practicing Yoga in the drawing instead of a drawing of a racist or sexist? 

Good question. What’s your answer?


© 2015 Marty Coleman

Quote by Alexander Pushkin, 1799-1837, Russian author and poet

“The illusion that exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths”


Sometimes I Talk Too Much – A Quirky Quiz



Sometimes I Talk Too Much – A Quirky Quiz

I had a fancy schmancy quiz all figured out but it was the first time using the app and it conflicts with some ghost in the machine and was making the entire post invisible (told you it was a ghost issue).

So here’s the quiz in just plain text until I figure it out.  Give your answers in the comments section, ok?

1. Match the ‘Sometimes’ with the ‘I Should Have’.

  1. Sometimes it’s because the other person doesn’t have time to talk and I don’t realize it.
  2. Sometimes it’s because I think who I am talking to wants me to keep talking but they actually want to say something.
  3. Sometimes it’s because I am so excited about the topic I don’t get the message that those I am talking to aren’t.
  4. Sometimes it’s because I’ve told the story or given the coaching lecture to the same people before and don’t realize it.
  5. Sometimes it’s because I want something resolved RIGHT NOW but the other person isn’t ready to have it resolved yet.
  6. Sometimes it’s because I am just full of myself.

a. I should have seen their eyes glaze over.
b. I should have seen them looking at their watch or phone a number of times.
c. I should have seen them give a big sigh.
d. I should have heard them talking among themselves.
e. I should have seen them try to get a word in edgewise.
f. I Should have  done all of the above.

2. Match the word on the left with its language on the right.

  1. IGAV
  2. RAZ
  3. CHAT
  8. скучный
  9. TYLSÄ
  10. NUDNÝ
a. Czech
b. Estonian
c.  Finnish
d. German
e.  Nyanja
f.  Uzbek
g.  Haitian
h.  Swedish
i.  Russian
j.  Galician
k. Tagalog
l.  Danish

 3.  All these words have the same meaning in English. What is it?


Drawing and quiz © 2015 Marty Coleman

Quote by Anonymous


Plain Jane and Wild Willy – A Short Short Story


Plain Jane and Wild Willy

Jane was eating lunch in the little bookshop bistro on Main Street.  She sat reserved and composed, her hair pulled back with a nondescript band into a well mannered ponytail. She ate her soup silently, not moving her body much and never looking up. She didn’t look sad, just self-contained. Her clothing was baggy, not revealing too much of her figure and the colors were muted.

As she finished her meal a big, loud, wildly dressed man came in the bistro. He had on leather pants, fur vest, denim shirt, silver bolo tie, gold earrings, bright orange and purple cowboy boots and a big black cowboy hat. He had a big beard, his hair, part black part purple, was in a braid and he had 3 big rings on his left hand.  He walked over to the woman eating her soup leaned over her and gave her a big kiss on the mouth.  

She smiled and said, “Are you done shopping now?”

He said, “Yep, and you’ll be proud, I only got 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants and one hat. Oh, and I got a new pan and some dishtowels and a plant and a new trashcan for the kitchen. But that’s all I got!”

She laughed and said, “Ok, I’m done. Let’s go.”

He scowled, “what a second, I want to find that cookbook I read about online.”  He walked towards the back of the store.

She turned her head and saw me watching their interaction.  She smile, rolled her eyes and said to me, “Whatchya gonna do, right? He wants what he wants and if he’s happy then our house is happy.”

He came back quickly with two books and exclaimed, “Look, I found the recipe book but also that book, ‘How to Organize Your Life and Closet’ I’ve been wanting.”

Jane got up, went up to the register and paid for the lunch and books.  She said, “Ok, Willy, now we have to go home.  The playoffs are on in 2 hours and I need a nap before that.”  She went out the door, holding it for Willy.

She smiled and waved to me as the door closed.

The End

Drawing and story © 2015 Marty Coleman


Here’s the drawing after it was colored but before I shaded it.



Real and Imaginary Dangers

Imaginary Dangers

Intention vs Reality

I had a completely different quote in mind this morning when I went into my studio to draw.  But I saw a scary looking eye in the napkin pattern and drew the eye. That led to a fish, which led to a number of other fish, which led to them looking like they were about to attack something or someone which led to a woman on a beach covered in wounds and scars.

I didn’t intend it, much like the many things we say and do that hurt people. There is a scene in this past year’s Oscar winner for best picture, Birdman, that illustrates this perfectly.  The main character is freaking out about the possibility of being humiliated by the press and the public if the play he is directing and acting in (as well as having written) turns out to suck. He asks another character, a woman he is sleeping with, “Aren’t you worried about being humiliated?”  She says in response, “It won’t be the first time I’ve been humiliated.”  He says, “Of course it won’t be.”

She stares at him and says, “You’re an asshole.” She walks out and he is left completely baffled, having no idea why she said that or why she is mad.

He is baffled because he had no intention to hurt her feelings. But her feelings were hurt nonetheless. It was an imagined hurt that led to a real wound. He later realizes that what he said hurt her feelings and apologizes to her. He doesn’t apologize because he intended to hurt her and he is now sorry. He apologizes because he realizes it doesn’t matter if he intended to hurt her. What matters is the effect of his words hurt her.

Dangers all Around

There are dangers in life, real scary dangers.  Some we can see coming, like the severe weather we have here in Oklahoma. Some we don’t ever see coming, like an earthquake in California.  And some we understand as part of the risk of everyday life, like driving a huge hunk of metal down a road, flying in a giant tube in the sky, or being in a relationship with another human.  Those are real and wounds from them going wrong can be real wounds.

 There is enough danger in reality, no help comes from adding imagined danger to the things that wound you.


This and all other napkins are for sale as originals or as prints.  Coming soon The Napkin will be a secure ecommerce site and you will be able to buy direct. In the meanwhile, please email me at to inquire.


Quote, drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman © 2015


Crystal’s New Race

Running and Coaching

As pretty much all the Napkin Kin know, I am a runner and a coach of runners. It’s actually my part-time paid job. I coordinate the 10k and 15k training program called Pathways for Fleet Feet, a specialty running and fitness store here in Tulsa. I’ve been doing it for 5 years now.  We have 4 sessions a year, ranging from 8 to 12 weeks. We have had up to 170 participants split between 3 locations. They run 3 days a week with another run or cross training they do on their own. I typically run with them 5 days a week between the two main locations. 


Pathways, fall 2014

To coach all these runners I have over 20 volunteer coaches under me.  All the coaches have been participants in a Fleet Feet program, most of them having gone through Pathways at least once. We are a tight knit group, many having ran and coached for 3-4 years with me. They not only coach but they also train for their own races, usually 1/2 or full marathons. They are incredibly supportive and encouraging to those they coach, and they are the same for each other. I think many of them would say their best friends are now those they run with.

This past week we had one of those coaches, Crystal Gee, go down. This wasn’t down by twisting an ankle or getting overheated. This was down by something far more severe. We had just finished our final training run for our goal race, which was to occur two days hence.  A final training run is a very easy, casual affair. We don’t run long (it was only 2.5 miles) and we don’t run hard.  We are doing what is called a taper, easing out of the heavy training so our legs and bodies will be fresh for the race. It’s also a celebratory moment for everyone. We have finished the training and we are ready! The air is filled with excitement, nerves, relief, last minute details about the race and much encouragement from the coaches and fellow runners.

Crystal and Angelika

Crystal helps lead a group with another coach, Angelika. It had been a great final run and Crystal was in fine spirits. She hung around the store for a bit after the run with the rest of us but soon had to leave to pick up her daughter. She said goodbye to Angelika and walked to her car.  Moments later Angelika got a call from Crystal. She was in her car, still in the parking lot. She told Angelika she felt really bad and something was very wrong. She asked her to come help her. Angelika went to her car, no more than two rows away, and found her slumped over towards the passenger seat. She was in pain, saying her head felt like someone was squeezing it terribly. Angelika pulled her back toward her to see what was the matter.  Crystal tried to get up and out of the car, Angelika trying to keep her in her seat, telling her not to get up. Angelika asked if she wanted her to call 911 and Crystal said yes. That’s the last she said. As Angelika called, Crystal slumped towards the open door and basically slid out of the car onto the asphalt. Angelika was able to help as she slid out so she didn’t fall and hurt herself further.


Crystal and Angelika

Meanwhile I was among the usual crowd at the front of the store after the run. I looked over when I saw a small fire EMT truck show up out in the parking lot. I went over to see what was going on and found Angelika kneeling over Crystal.  Crystal was on her side and was rhythmically moaning with pain.  She was drenched in sweat which initially made some think she was suffering from some sort of heat exhaustion. It was pretty obvious though that this was more than that.  What, we didn’t know.

Crystal could not have asked for a better co-coach to come to her aid, not just because of the friendship, but because Angelika is a nurse.  She was in command of the scene.  She made sure her breathing was not obstructed (she had thrown up a few moments earlier). When the paramedics arrived Angelika gave them all the important information, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.  

Fellow Coaches

The paramedics took over with her still assisting while others started to work on contacting her husband. It wasn’t easy since her phone was locked and we couldn’t talk to her. We got the emergency information from the store records and another coach, Caddie, tried to call but there was no answer.  

We went through her purse and wallet looking for other phone numbers.  Another coach, Susan, found some and tried to call them but to no avail.  One of the other coaches, David, had been friends with Crystal for over 10 years and figured out the best thing to do was to start Facebook messaging some of their mutual friends to get the message to her husband, mother, brother, etc.  Communication started flowing at that point.


David and Crystal

Angelika, David and I went to St. Francis hospital, which was right across the street. Angelika actually works at St. Francis so after Crystal’s best friend Natalie arrived the two of them went back to see her. David and I waited for the family to arrive and when they did we told them what had happened.

At this point it was pretty obvious she suffered a brain trauma of some sort.  Maybe an aneurysm, maybe a stroke, we didn’t know.  but we did know that Crystal was in for the new race, the race of her life to beat this and recover.  David and I left after the family arrived. Angelika stayed a while longer helping out in the ER.

Why Are We Here?

Two days later two things happened.  Pathways had our goal race, the Aquarium Run 10k, and Crystal had brain surgery.  They couldn’t find the source of the bleeding the first night but the next day they found it and went in to repair it. It turns out it was a stroke from an aneurysm.  

At races we usually gather for a big group picture.  I used the opportunity to ask a question of the group I have asked during training over the years, ‘Why are we here?’  My answer that morning, as we dedicated our run to Crystal, was ‘because we can’.  We sometimes take it for granted but knowing Crystal’s situation drove home the truth that we never should.  We never know, do we.

Pathways ran the race strong and victoriously, hoping that Crystal would feel our love and strength as she ran her own, far more dangerous race.  Many of us wore ‘Running4Crystal’ bibs on our backs in addition to the usual race bib.


Marty’s extra race bib

The next day my wife, Linda, and I went to the hospital to deliver a card that the Pathways and Fleet Feet family had signed.  On the way there I thought of another reason ‘why we are here’.  We run so we are in shape, so we are fit. That may seem obvious but you then have to ask why do we want to be fit?  It’s not only so we are healthy in our day to day life. It’s so we are healthy in times of trauma.  Crystal has the race of her life ahead of her.  The fact that her heart, muscles, lungs, bones and even her brain, are strong and healthy from running, will no doubt help immeasurably in her winning this race.  I told this to her family in the hopes of encouraging them as they run the race alongside her.

Crystal’s New Race

As of today (Monday April 13th, 2015) Crystal is resting comfortably after having successful surgery Saturday. She is going to be weaned from the respirator and brought out of sedation so she can start her road to recovery.  We believe things worked in her favor so far. She was able to call Angelika before she started to drive off. Angelika is an incredibly competent and sharp nurse, she knew what was happening and got her help immediately.  The hospital was literally right across the street and she was in expert hands within minutes.  The start of Crystal’s new race was harsh but filled with good timing and good people.

We have every expectation that she will run the rest of this new race she has in front of her victoriously.  We will be cheering her on.


If you would like to keep up with her progress you can subscribe to her CaringBridge site.  

If you would like to donate to help offset expenses you can help at her site.

On Saturday April 18th from 11am-3pm there will be a silent auction at Charlie Mitchell’s Restaurant at 51st and Yale. 100% of the proceeds will go to help offset her recovery costs.  10% of the lunch proceeds that day will also be given.

On Saturday April 25th from 9-11am there will be a pancake breakfast fundraiser put on by OKChive at Applebee’s in Broken Arrow (101st location)

Update Friday, April 17th:  She’s off the breathing tube and the sedation. She is talking and walking and eating!  She is very weak though and is spending most of her time resting and sleeping.


© 2015 Marty Coleman

p.s.  I wrote about Angelika before, in a blog post from 2013 – Angelika and the Painful Procedure – A photo/art essay