Card Game of Life

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
-Voltaire

It’s a shame I was never good at card games. All the guys would come over, chips in hand, throw their beer in the fridge – drinking the first one warm – pull out their smokes, lighting them in the house, and pull out the pack of cards. I would sit at the edge of the round table with the rest of them. I would laugh with the rest of them. I would try like the best of them.

But I never really understood how to play cards. I was better at board games – like the Game of Life. It was always more difficult for me than others to learn to recognize a good hand when I had one.

Sure I would use it to my advantage as good social time. I loved having a beer. It hit me a little faster than the others. It hit me a little harder than it did the others, but it was always a blast – such a relaxed atmosphere to be in.

I refused to smoke. I detested the second-hand smoke filling my lungs, but I let them do it anyway.
I was never good at expressing how I felt – even if they wouldn’t have given a damn one way or the other. They were good guys.

None of them had ever knocked me down. They stood by me through the good times and the bad. I never knew how to play cards, but I always understood how to pick good friends. Sometimes I got a cough the next day, and Larry – the chubby asthmatic one who refused to quit – always brought me some of his meds. We’d usually meet up for lunch if it was a day at the office. And if it was still the weekend, we’d hit the pub for an afternoon beer. I often had a well-done burger to soothe my appetite.

There was a little Irish pub up the road that reminded me of my roots. The people inside were funny as hell, with quick fiery tempers and a punch as good as their punch lines. Some people didn’t understand our crowd, but we knew who we were and that’s all that matters in the company of friends.

I try and never forget what’s important in life. Sometimes you don’t know how to play the hand you’re given, sometimes it’s hard to accept the cards your dealt, but figure out who you want to play the game with. Never losing track of that is challenging, but worth it in the end.

My buddies and I meet up at least once a week even though it’s summer, and we all live in different areas. It isn’t always easy, but we make it work. Sometimes one of us has to miss out, and we certainly are missed. But when you’ve got a bond as strong as us…bros I guess you could even say, you’re sort of always present – if not physically.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
-George Eliot

I’m not particularly looking forward to going back to school. I think I’d rather do anything than be locked up in my room doing homework for hours upon hours – I mean really. Luckily I have chosen my roommates as well as my friends. We help each other out frequently during exam time – completing pizza runs, late night library visits, and sharing our extensive…er…video collections. And of course, I love the video game breaks the best! My grades fall a little during our own competitions, and we’re around to help each other back up again. School – it’s challenging, but we never give up. Otherwise, why would we be here? What would we be working towards?

At least when we’re done, we’ll have diplomas and certificates and whatever other crap we’re presented to show that our ‘suffering’ has been worth it. Suffering is obviously in quotations, because American college student suffering is obviously a lot different than how some people have it in other parts of the world. Finding even food is hard. Here, you just have to run to the store for whatever you’re looking for.

When I’m having a particularly bad day, the thing I’ll run to the store for is dill pickle chips or sweet chilli heat Doritos – my comfort snacks. Once in a while I’ll crack open a can of coke, but I’ll usually stay away from the alcohol unless it’s a weekend. If you’re what you eat, are your grades too? I’ve never been caught during exam time without some kind of junk food hiding beneath my bed. I don’t think my mom would approve – but then again, that’s what’s so great about living on your own! There’s a good two hour distance between her and I currently! A lot of distance to cover to come kick my butt. I can’t think of anything worse during exam time. No offense of course. The mom just loves me a little too much I think. Even if she is glad I left the nest. I appreciate some distance at times, even if I wish I was closer to home to meet up with my high school buddies. Just between us, they will alwaysl be the best friends I know. The things they’ve done for me – well, like I said before, I know how to pick ‘em.

It’s hard to keep in touch with people, to make long distance relationships work (both romantic and friendship). But when shit’s easy, it’s not usually worth any trouble. Where would the fun be in video games if you could beat every level in seconds? At least before the knowledge of itsurrounds you through arduous work? It wouldn’t be worth the money. The best things in life may be free, but they aren’t easy. I know that each of us knows this in our mind, and that’s why my friends and I all work so hard all the time to stay in touch (even if we pretend we don’t).

I trust that they will always be there for me. When good hands are dealt, and the bad. And I know, they will always be around to help me improve my game. I can’t say enough about how I care – no matter how girly. Like a dead guy becomes resurrected in my video games, I have a new zest for life when I’m chillin’ with my friends.

Thanks guys!

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Harold Whitman
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