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2004-08-12 - 5:49 p.m.

Recent evidence is giving weight to Sartre’s whole transparent consciousness idea. The theory that true free will allows us at any moment to become any of an infinite amount of possibilities: the housewife becomes a hooker, the business man becomes a homeless clown. Given the right impulse Arnold Swartzeneger could, at any time, decide to restructure his life to include professional backgammon tournaments.

Consider the fact that I, a man known more for his goofy faces than his poker face, actually played and won in a Texas Hold ‘em Poker tournament. I’ll grant you it was amongst friends, but with eighty dollars on the table and a few friends who put a lot of weight into bragging rights, so much so that the modified bowling trophy that goes to the winner once replaced a girlfriend’s picture in the headlining spot on his mantle, I give a little respect. Especially since, a year earlier, I had to ask the gentleman sitting next to me if I could re-raise in the same round. I don’t think he was happy when I knocked him off the table this time around.

It wasn’t so long ago that all I knew about Nomar Garciapara was that, if you lived in Boston, you called him No’maar. Now, I can actually keep up with my brother-in-law in a discussion of the future of the Yankees in the post season, considering their pitching woes that could well hinder them in a seven game series, even with a new era Murderer’s Row. (I also beat him in a hand of poker that made his eyes buldge out of his head so far I thought we’d need to get him a pair of coasters.)

I still have my whiskey on the rocks for special occasions, my screwdrivers for almost literal half hearted attempts at health, and my wine for the days I’m too hung-over for tequila, and too ticked off not to have a drink, but all in all, when attending a well dressed bar, manned by a well dressed man, my answer to the question “Cocktail, sir?”

“Bud.”

It used to be, when the waves of emotion smacked down on me, I’d turn up my stereo and cry into the speakers so my roommates wouldn’t hear. I’d lay awake at night with a splinter of a thought jammed in my head, forcing me to dissect it against the white space of the ceiling. I still tell the stories. Stories that are bothering me, things I can’t make sense of, but I’ve stopped asking for advice. Or rather, I stopped pretending that I’d take any advice. I take two deep breaths, and the tears stop, so I can continue playing darts. I sleep, and sometimes even remember my dreams.

Like the forces that bumbled into action and generated the blue butt on a baboon, there was no predestined grand design, it just kind of, happened, and I almost seems to work. Growth, becoming cold, becoming old, redefinition based on new locale, or new male role models, minor brain tumor, or none of the above.

I usually like not knowing where I’m going, adds a bit of adventure to the festivities. You may be off the beaten path, but you know where you’re eventually headed, so if the scenery seems a little off, you just remind yourself of the light up there that you’re following.

When you don’t have a star to follow, and you come to a street sign reading “halfway to somewhere,” is there an accomplishment there? Do you stop and celebrate, or just keep walking to where ever the road winds?

If it weren’t impossible to stop walking, I’d probably rest and enjoy some beans and franks.

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