if at first

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


Jokes like these are sooo funny until you look in the mirror and see punchlines all over your face. The human condition cannot simply be reversion to bad habits, I don't see the evolutionary benefit in cyclical self-damage, unless failure is what keeps the species from too quickly succeeding and outstripping our resources??? If only there were a nearby planet hospitable to life, we could spread our ambitions like roc wings and soar.

You cannot know how closely I came to listening to my own preachy messages about embracing failure and growing from it. I had even come up with my own internal catch phrase, a literary mnemonic to prevent tossing the moment away with the jetsam of my anger. Trouble and fortune pass beneath the same portcullis, it is up to you to name friend or foe. On Friday, I played cards and after a woeful stretch of ill luck, steeled my will and called foe time after time.

I played hands for six hours without a single win. Two years of these games and no one could ever remember a statistical anomaly like this. Sheer dumb luck and you still win one out 30 hands. But this was 200 and counting. I finally broke, and cursed and drank and shamed myself.

The last 20 minutes, for some strange reason, I broke into a winning streak like I have never known, and came out ahead, and drove home in a sullen anger, because the ordeal had tested me, and I lost. It is a pitiful thing to know you still bend the knee to something so ephemeral as human emotion. And I dreamed of a long lost love, which was another failure, and tried to run and blamed a leg that has long since healed, and noticed a blood clot underneath a thumbnail where my dog had bit me in play, slowly moving its way north, rising like a chestnut sun, and I thought maybe I could etch a tiny message into it, the way ancient people assigned meaning to comets.

Keep falling until the fall itself is an endless peace.


Dave2 said…
If at first you don't fail... fail, fail again? I can totally do that!
Brandon said…
If someone who always fails tries to fail, does it open a vortex?
eclectic said…
Weird. I always thought that quote was: "If at first you don't succeed, get thee to a pub."
Iron Fist said…
If you're on a winning streak now, though, then what are w waiting for?! Hop on the next plane to Vegas and we're on our way to the Golden Nugget*! Meet you by the shark tube!

(*the place across the street is also quite delightful from what I hear.)
Brandon said…
shari, but if you get there too soon, doesn't that make you PRE-PUBESCENT???

vahid, get on the phone with jenny. make it happen now. (the place across the street smells like vodka and fake tattoos, however)
If that blood clot one day makes it all the way to your brain and causes a stroke, you'll have no choice but to envy said clot for having never given up on what had to have been a long and arduous journey to your frontal lobe. A worthy foe, indeed.

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