Sunday, June 15, 2014

Playing Cards, Muttering and Worrying

If you have a few basic premises to work on, like:

  • Everything that happens has a reason to happen.
  • Everything that you do is in line with your own life plan.
  • And underneath everything that you do no matter how inconsequential it seems, no matter how trivial it is, has at its core your own firmly held presuppositions about life as you know it.

Then, playing and losing game after game of solitaire is, in the larger scheme of things, part of your own life lesson.

Like, how you feel after you have lost your 7,000th game compared to how you felt when you lost your 125th game.

I went through all sorts of feelings as I continued to lose game after game while, according to the statistics someone thoughtfully and without malice placed gently on the internet, found myself firmly entrenched in that subset of players who play so far below average they don’t even bear mentioning. 

I went through a period of time when competitiveness was the thought foremost in my mind.

I then slowly became interested in how much I was losing and how little I was winning to where, and I still do this now, when I won a game I would play the same game over and over to increase my percentage of games won. 

There came a day when I wasn’t all that interested in how often I won and I began to take an interest in the strategy of the game.  I included in this all the times I would play a winning game over and over again to see how many different endings it could have and still be a winning game. 

And, finally, there came a day when I really didn’t care whether I won or lost the game.  It was the game itself, it was my intense concentration, it was the speed I could think and respond to the cards dealt. 

I suppose as time goes on I will likely move through other emotions as I play that mighty game of Aces and Kings, and very likely continue to lose.

But, lately I have been thinking about my card games as the things that people do with their lives.  The cards they have been dealt and what they make of them.

Consider people who are born with or become disabled and how they fashion their lives.  You with most of your senses, what would you do if you began losing your sight?  Or, if you couldn’t hear anymore.  Would  you go around bumping into things and quacking like a duck, “What?  What?  What?” 

And, then, maybe that’s what you’re supposed to do.  A time of panic as you try to go through a grieving process that your life as you knew it is over, to a time where you begin to embrace life again and learn to adjust and lean upon your remaining senses.

I’m just getting old.  I haven’t lost my senses, though I have ringing in my ears all the time, have experienced some loss of hearing and my eyesight is fading.  I hurt most of the time.  I can be a real crabby apple sometimes.

When I was growing up people kept saying to me that I was weird.  I never knew why they said that.  It wasn’t just the same group of people either.  I was an Army Brat and we moved around a lot.  I went to 13 different schools in 12 years.  So, these were people who had never met each other and they all said I was weird. 

There was one nice comment from Taylor, a very tall boy, older than me with Scandinavian blond hair. We went to high school at St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown, Maryland.  He and I were sitting behind the school in the smoking area one quiet afternoon back in 1970 or so.  He said to me that I saw things most other people didn’t see.  So, it wasn’t necessarily that I was flat out weird, but more a comment that was either truthful in nature or he was just trying to chat me up.  Personally, I think he was making an observation because we never did go out together though he was a very polite and nice boy.