You Don’t Need Cancer For Permission

I have a policy of not writing blog posts that amount to whining about my day. So with that context in mind, for those still waiting for the 2012 Primer, please accept my apologies for it’s lack of appearance. It’s simply not ready to my satisfaction and that’s the bottom line. I’m kind of upset about it taking so long to be honest and it’s a much rougher experience to rework the material again than I thought it would be. It’s feels like I’m repeating a class I already passed. So while I can see how I can add stuff now and the book can definitely be polished, after that I’m running out of ideas. So the temptation is to just say the “2012” is the “Second Edition” and take a long nap.

Ironically January, February and March have been the 5th, 4th and 3rd best months of sales for the 2011 Primer and after the website upgrade if April holds to form this will be my best month of book sales ever. So it’s not like the 2011 edition is “broken” and worthless. My biggest concern is that I don’t want a long time reader who got the 2011 edition to feel punked if they get the Second Edition. Quality matters. You guys matter to me. Integrity matters.

Jennifer tells me I’m crazy for feeling bad of course. In the last just over a year I’ve written two books, held a full time job, got the old blog to a million visitors, massively upgraded the website, answered more email than I can count and it was all very silly there with TV and Radio after the first book launched. Incidentally TV and Radio coverage was worthless for sales and hits to the blog. Just worthless. The blog and word of mouth are the key here, by which I mean readers matter. By which I mean you matter.

Anyway… a year ago Jennifer and I were all but filing for bankruptcy and that was even after strip mining my 401k, checking the couch for change and deferring the taxes. If the Primer didn’t sell, we were going to be totally hosed. I seriously love my readers. Seriously, seriously, seriously love my readers. Which means my next news is kind of amazing…

…I’m quitting my day job.

I put my notice in for 5/31/12 to give them time to replace me and leave on the nice nice. My replacement starts in two weeks and I get to train them, so here goes nothing. It will have taken me two-and-a-half years from starting the blog to exiting, but I’m doing it. By May the only thing we’ll owe money on is the house and the book income is equal to my nursing income, so “How You Like Me Now!” All I’m gonna say is that the MAP works on your employer just as well as on your wife. It may take some time, it’s hard work, but it does work.

I’ve changed too. Two years back I wrote a post about trying to decide if I should go to a strip club as a birthday treat seeing I was turning 40. But honestly we were too broke to do anything like that lol. I’m 42 in a few days. I’m so much more content than ever before. I’m so alive and that matters too. I’ve never been so happy. I’m finally doing it.

And I’ve had lows too. Look I don’t mean to be morbid here, but you only get so much time to be alive. My father died and he spent decades doing a job that he didn’t want to do before breaking free of it. His last ten years were I think his happiest. Steve Jobs got cancer once and then went berserk creating iEverything and then got taken down early. I’ve spent a lot of time watching Christopher Hitchens on Youtube recently and he seems to have done some of his very best stuff shortly before the end too. Randy Pausch too. Why the fuck do people have to get cancer to want to do the stuff that really matters?

Oh and don’t freak out or nothing guys. I don’t have cancer and I feel fine. But I have this weird thing where I’m actually comforted that if I died the books would keep selling and Jennifer and the girls would be okay. I’m just still trying to cope with suddenly being promoted to being the family patriarch and it didn’t come with any kind of warning I paid attention to. I know I’m messed up still because I still can’t watch that damn Harry Potter movie where Dobby dies without crying. As if taking your daughter and her friends to the movies wasn’t awkward enough to begin with. So fuck you Dobby.

Don’t wait. Don’t keep doing the same old shit day after day that you hate. Don’t stall for time. You don’t need cancer for permission. Fuck waiting for the Make a Wish people, they aren’t coming to your house with a shortstop and a free Playstation.

Anyway… I can’t stop watching this video either.

Just go do it. No one else gives a shit if you don’t.


  1. pdwalker says:

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.

    I hope you and the missus makes a mint for what you’ve done for me and my family. I’ve had a fantastic week and it’s all your fault. I hope yours is even better.

  2. Great message. I feel like diagnosing cancer to many people I know as a way to wake them up to working for what they really love. I used to work with a life coach that used to say that creating a successful career takes time and sacrifice so you might as well build it with someone you are passionate about and love.
    I try to always remember that.
    Good luck. I’m sure you will do as great as you had been doing so far.

  3. This is freaking awesome. I love it when someone claws their way (back) up, and enjoys it to boot.

  4. Congratulations on well earned success! What you and your wife have created here is incredibly impact-ful. May the karma continue to propel your family towards happiness and relief.

  5. Congrats! You’ve been an inspiration and have been a very positive influence in my marriage. Last week started a blog tracking my own marriage’s progress, ups and downs, and reference you and your site repeatedly ( . Can’t say enough positive things, good luck!

  6. Congratulations from a long time lurker! It’s great to see you moving from strength to strength!

  7. Glad to hear it Athol! Hope things continue to get better, and maybe after you’re done with the 2012 edition, you will write something else for both husband and wives? :p

  8. Congrats, Athol!

    Good post, too.

  9. Way to go Athol and Jennifer!

    I had a friend die of cancer at the age of 25. It was a real eye-opener along the lines of what you have posted here. I still feel he was given the shit end of the stick, not getting to live a full life; children, travel, etc…

    I don’t live my life for him or anything like that, but I have dreams too and I don’t forget that he wasn’t given the opportunity to see his dreams through so it helps push me to go out and get the life that I want.

  10. (r)Evoluzione says:

    Good on you, Athol. I’m super stoked that you’re taking wing & flying the coop as a “Mixed Marital Artiste,” as the Badger calls you.

    Best wishes for you.

  11. Grats! Its great to see someone find a way to get out of the “daily rut” and find a way to make a living doing something they enjoy.

  12. Brian M. says:

    Thanks Athol. For everything. You deserve this.

  13. Congratulation!!! Well earned success.

    It’s obvious you’ve helped a ton of men (and indirectly women) in their marriages and other committed relationships.

  14. Over It says:

    >>>Just go do it. No one else gives a shit if you don’t.<<<

    May your new career never feel like "work" for a moment Athol. All the best to you.

  15. Hell yes. Congrats. But hell yes.

  16. Congratulations, and thank you. You have inspired me to take the first steps on something I have been thinking about for a long time.

  17. Congratulations!

    I’m clawing my way up after Mr Batshit ex-husband decided he’d punish me by making me pay major legal fees on the divorce. [Anyone who thinks the wife makes out like a bandit in divorce needs to interview me.] After too many years as a busy, involved mom, earning money isn’t coming easy. Athol, you are inspiring me to put in the work on what I want to do, instead of trying to raise 2 teens on a Wal-Mart clerk’s salary.

  18. Great post! Just started following your blog and it made me buy your book. The new theme is great as well. Keep up the good work!

  19. Great news man, I bought the married man guide a while ago, and it was amazing.
    All the best for you and your family.

  20. Congratulations, Athol. You’ve graduated.

    When you commit to being an author of something — literally an authority — at first it feels fake, like someone is going to come in and bust you for pretending to be something you’re not. Often you have either vision or talent, but not both, and you barely understand your craft. Not a damn word you write seems worthy, and trying to attract attention to what you, yourself, feel is mediocre almost feels like fraud. After all, who the hell are you? Why should people pay attention to what you have to say?

    But the difference between a pro and an amateur is more than whether or not you get paid. It’s whether you persevere, whether the potency of your vision or the abundance of your talent can push you beyond your own mediocrity, encourage you to perfect your craft, and whether or not your own passion can sustain you in times when it really seems like the whole world is just waiting for your next Big Fail. The Caucasian mountaineers having a saying, “Courage is hanging on for one moment more.” In every writer’s life you face moments where you stare at the screen and you have the very real choice of giving up or perseverance, and it takes real, manly Courage to force yourself to go on when your Muse is off smoking pot with her friends somewhere and left you with a whiny baby.

    Then . . . you don’t suck so much. People pay attention. You get fans. You get (!) money. You also get stalkers and tax issues and challenges you never dreamed of. But success breeds success, and it only takes a moment to glance at popular culture to realize just how low the bar for “success” is. Thanks to Kindle, you can make a living now without an agent and a publisher, and that’s everything. Pushing ahead while you’re successful, while you still have that Day Job to fall back on, that’s easy.

    Jumping off of a cliff by quitting that Day Job and trusting in the Fates and your own native Will to carry you and your family to safety . . . that takes Courage. That takes balls. That takes a Man. Not a guy, not a dude, not a Puerarch. When you are “going your own way” and you have no one but yourself to care about, that sort of thing is easy. When you are going your own way, Captain of your own ship, and you have three crew members who depend on your ability to keep it afloat and on course . . . that’s HARD. That’s a kind of courage a single man without children cannot know. It’s the kind of Wolf Alpha bad-ass move that makes running with the bulls or cliff jumping look like the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

    You graduated, Athol. You have my respect and my admiration, but the truth is, you don’t really need it. You’ve grasped your life by the balls, and you are in control. And the truth is, only a few of us can really appreciate just what a profound act of courage and bravery it is to stand on the value of your own words for your bread and butter.

    Well done, sir.


  21. You go girlllll!
    Your book, blog, and personal communication have been extremely valuable in improving both my marriage and life. This post itself is inspiring and something I hope to attain as well one day.
    Keep up the great work.

  22. Congratulations, Athol, that is a very significant achievement. Few bloggers are able to support themselves online, so it’s truly an extraordinary thing you’ve done. I hope this is just the tip of the iceberg for you!

  23. Love the book, I’m a mom and bought two for my newly married daughters. Wanted them to know the mind and sex drive of their husbands. Can’t wait for the 2012.

    Enjoy your blog and also visit TAM blog where they mention your book frequently.

  24. Athol,
    My grandfather passed a month before my 30th b-day. The stress was at an all-time high for me. Then I got T-cancer right after turning 30. Lost my right one because it just morphed into a tumor. Cancer-free since then, and I’ll be 33 in a month. However, it’s been a psychological battle since that horrible year of 2011.
    I’ll be buying a couple of your books.


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  2. […] is clearly to help others, along the way he helped his own family as well.  In a recent post You Don’t Need Cancer For Permission he announced that he is now able to quit his job: Anyway… a year ago Jennifer and I were all but […]

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