I first met Peter Perry when I was just 14-years-old. I remember standing in awe watching massive power lifting feats that bent and bounced steel bars as if rubber.
To this day Peter remains a friend and mentor, both in and out of the gym. He introduced me to the science of powerlifting, and later even more importantly, to the art of living.
Our Socratic dialogues included those about our personal confrontations with evil.
Evil is so rarely spoken about, and only then in terms that usually mock and dismiss it as religious dogma.
Encountering true evil in the first person is a consciousness-raising experience.
When I would see Russ Johnson in the YMCA gym, it was typically in the early afternoon of my shortened school days. This was in my last year of high-school, and I had advanced my studies by finishing some required courses in earlier years. This allowed me the time to take power training to another level.
Russ and I were usually alone at that time of day. I required a skilled spotter for attempts at maximum weight levels on the bench press in particular, as I was pushing the limits and raising personal bests at almost each session. My focus was intense and it was a window in time where I needed assistance each session.
Under my spotter’s supervision, I routinely looked directly into Russ’s eyes and at his gardening glove-covered hands, up close and personal, with up to 350 lbs of weights precariously balanced across my head, neck and chest.
I literally relied upon a serial killer to keep me safe, perhaps more than any other person in my life. This symbiotic relationship was likely true for each of us during this time. It is astonishing to think now what those eyes and hands were seeing and doing. And how unaware, innocuous, well-meaning and concealed are the places that evil lurks.
My hope for Origen is that in some small way it opens up the mind of the general viewing public to the unseen reality of evil, right here in our midst.
– Patrick John Ambrogio, P.Eng