Maybe she has been drinking, maybe she is truly overcome with emotions too troubling to hold in, but soon she is reduced to a refrain of “Thank you… It would be unfair of me to impose my will upon her in response to the current situation.your words about supporting our troops meant so much. thank you…” A large part of me wants to give her a hug, draw her tightly to me as if my embrace could somehow give her a moment’s respite from the pain. And therein lay my second reason for not reaching out: when I am overcome with emotion I absolutely do not want to be touched.I can feel it infesting my pores and laying cancerous eggs. With a goodnight wave I leave the stage; better to leave them wanting more than giving too much.
I am telling my wife of the competition, and she shoots the quote opened this blurb my way.
I smile into the phone and tell her that no matter what happens, I’m OK with it.
As much fun as I’m having, the major drawback to the world of slot machines and poker-bluffs is: you can still smoke within their walls.
Plumes of blue-gray cigarette smoke have been exhaled forth all evening, and over the course of the previous hour I’ve bathed in it.
Soon it is my turn upon the stage, and without going into details it’s just one of those nights. I admit my ego is weak and screams for more attention on nights like this.
I consider basking in the sun of my personal Sally Field moment a bit longer—I’ve got the material; I could fire off stories for over 90 minutes if I wanted—but decide against doing so.I have flown over mountaintops in open-door helicopters, the air so frigid I began to turn numb.I have waited countless hours in airports and on planes, done shows in awkward, improvised locations, and slept in the worst of beds with the most-stinky of sleeping bags. But when a man or woman whose life is on the line every single day, who has been stationed far from home for months or years takes hold of my hand, looks me dead in the eye and thanks I do my best to listen to the woman telling me how important it is to the men and women serving that they are remembered, but am torn.I understand I have to respect her words, but part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs: “ I remain silent and feel guilty for feeling guilty.Emotions of self-disgust swirl inside me, making me wish I could accept simple thanks without my mind wandering down a path of world injustices and karmic failure.Unfortunately, everything has grown awkward quickly, mainly due to my inability to take a hint, be even marginally aware of my surroundings, or have any grace whatsoever when it comes to the verbal ballet necessary when emotions are involved. ◊♦◊ I am in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Sault Saint Marie.