Monday, May 16, 2011


     For a couple of years, while I watched T.V. I played guitar and wrote songs. One day it started to seem like work and I stopped. Now I play solitaire.

     I’m something of a manic-depressive. They don’t use that term anymore. Now it’s bipolar. People seem to be proud of being diagnosed bipolar but nobody liked manic depression. Being bipolar, you have a condition, an excuse, but if you’re manic depressive there’s something wrong with you dude.

     Anyway, I go through streaks of giddy creativity interspersed with periods of lethargy. This solitaire phase corresponds with one of the latter.

     But even playing solitaire for hours on end can be rewarding. You have to shuffle cards a lot, and I find that soothing. “Fl-l-i-i-c-k-k-k, fl-u-u-u-m-m-m-p-p-p” a magical seven times.

     I’m developing a philosophy of life based on solitaire. First of all, obviously, you face it alone. That and the playing of the game are in a way like Zen meditation, something that’s always there, like your breath, on which you can focus attention and maybe free your mind.

     As with life, if you can pay attention in solitaire, see what’s coming and have a plan for dealing with it, your odds of success are much better. Of course you can just automatically play whatever card you can and sometimes win by dumb luck, but if the cards are stacked against you, if it’s not in the cards, your best just won’t be good enough.

     There are parallels between playing solitaire and being a criminal defense attorney, the most obvious being that you have to play the hand you’re dealt and the cards are usually stacked so that you cannot win. But if you pay attention to the way the cards are falling, occasionally there’s an opening to pull victory from defeat---if you can see it. And of course you can occasionally win by pure dumb luck.

     So, Da, isn’t this just a rationalization for spending a big chunk of your life doing nothing more productive than playing with yourself?

     Well yeah.

1 comment:

  1. When "Da" was an overachieving high school student, he wrote this poem:

    is enormous
    is all dimensions
    and embraces everyone...
    except Charlie Brown.