Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life's Gamble

This is a work of fiction.

Last night someone asked me if I loved to gamble and my immediate thought was “Yes. Everyday.”.
I gamble in the morning when the 3 year old alarm next to my bed, lets loose another of its daily shrills. Wincing in pain, I ponder my choices. Do I ignore its announcement and go for another 30 minutes or do I trust my body’s ability to make it to the bathroom without my brain.
I gamble when I brush my teeth. Do I go for 15 strokes, 50 strokes or do I trust the 200 strokes of yesterday to carry me on through today.
I gamble when I head out of the house at a slow walk. I am hoping that the train does not break its routine and somehow make it to the station early.
Most of the time I’m lucky. But other times I have to seat through an angry boss.

You see what I’m talking about?
Everyone gambles.
It’s an inherent instinct of life. I laugh when people shake their heads in pious shock when they are asked the gamble question. They do not believe themselves capable of such behaviour. Gambling is too risky they claim. I nod my head as they announce this familiar bit of defense. It is not out of concordance. It is more out of the situation’s irony. If gambling is too risky what then can be said of living?

Life is a series of gambles. We walk the streets gambling on the chance that the tattooed individual in the corner is not really a disgruntled employer itching to take a swipe at anyone who comes within 3 feet of him. We gamble as we drive—that the 3 million other cars sharing the city with us is not being chauffeured by speed demons who like the look of mangled metal. We breathe daily , gambling that we suddenly will not take an accidental whiff of one of those secret killer fumes that we are assured by the CIA is out there, but instead continued to run into good old, terribly plain oxygen.

Most of the time it works.
We wake in the morning and go through the day with nothing to show for our risky acceptance of fate’s dice except one or two splashes of mud. It is one of the nicer rules of playing the game of life. Most of the time, with very little bit of planning involved, we end up breaking even.
But every now and then our luck runs out and we are left with one of those situations that we might have avoided had chosen differently. Situations that might have been avoided if we hadn’t been so rash in our decisions.

And so last night when he looked at me and asked me if I loved to gamble, I shook my head slowly--even though my thoughts echoed differently—swallowed hard and gently handed over my wallet.
His grim gaze, hovering over the gripped gun told me I had made the right choice.