At my gym, The Alabama Kid runs the show. I see him polishing the mirrors or mopping the floor. He gives me pointers on getting my hands back up when I’m hitting the heavy bag. We got to talking about The Florida Gators.
“They’re not winning by winning,” I said. “They’re winning by getting lucky.”
“That don’t last,” he said. “Winning by getting lucky.”
“I call that my 20’s,” I said.
He smiled but there was no recognition in his eye and I could tell I’d lost him. He was in his head instead of in a conversation with me, he was bouncing from foster home to foster home, getting into the Navy out of desperation, getting out of the Navy with no direction for what to do with the rest of his life. We’re unlikely friends.
“Check it out,” he said. “I was here last night until 2AM sealing the floors. Got a late start this morning, now I’m fighting to get my day back. I can only work so many hours or I lose my benefits from the VA.”
“We gotta do something about that,” I said.
“Can’t do nothing about it,” he said. “Can’t change stupid. My son has been talking to me about joining the Navy but I keep telling him he’s too smart. I didn’t get out of it what I wanted. I looked ahead of me at the guy who was in charge and when I saw the stupid in his eyes, I knew if I stayed too long that’s exactly how I’d end up being.”
I did the same thing along the way, looking around me at who was in charge, noticing how my tone of voice was starting to match their tone of voice, not liking the sound. Maybe you’ve heard about Songs In The Key Of Life, and it might sound funny to you but it always made complete sense to me, the things around us have a Key and all too often the sound of the person in charge is in The Key Of Asshole.
That’s what we have right now, a world run by assholes. We can’t seem to get enough of it. There’s a whistleblower who’s trying to get everybody to see but nobody wants to see. See? Or maybe they like what they’re watching on TV and they don’t feel like changing the channel and they don’t feel like it’s anybody’s business so they say one thing and do another – do as I say not as I do – I used to roll my eyes at the advice but maybe I was being trained to say it. You think it’s bad advice until you wake up one day and realize it’s the easy way out.
“I’m not watching the games this weekend,” he said. “There’s nothing good on.”
“The Gators have an early game on Saturday,” I said. “I’ll be day drinking in the morning. I need to see them pull ahead and stay ahead. No more fluky fourth quarter bullshit.”
“It’s a win,” he said. “But it ain’t a win you can build on.”