Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day seventy...Void if removed.

It was all over the nightly news.

It was one of the top stories on the Internet.

I had heard it from the DJ on NPR in between pledge drive pleas.

And I heard it while I was waiting in line to buy milk.

The old man in front of me who was buying 50 scratch tickets of varying prices, colors, complexities, and sizes had been spitting the words out along with little bits of chaw on the counter of the DB Mart.

"Don't forget to turn your clock back before you go to bed...ya hear me s-s-sonny?"

Well I oughta...I'll turn your clock back old timer. Now outta' my way with your golden tickets. How about buying some milk with that scratch ticket money and strengthening them bones. Time's a wastin'.

Yeah, I was in a hurry. But I didn't realize I had forgotten about it until I spied a glance at the clock on my computer after getting up early, (or so I thought) having a nice breakfast, and checking my email.

What the hell? It's eleven o'clock already? How the hell did...oh...yeah...the old man...he warned me.

I wondered if he'd won.

Scratch tickets have been a source of anxiety for me for years. The whole Void If Removed thing on the bottom. It's like it's just tempting you to intentionally screw it all up. It's like saying, I don't think there's anyway this ticket is a winner so I'll just make sure of that before I see for real. Kind of takes the fun out of gambling.

I sometimes wonder if people really only know the meaning of the word void as it pertains to those paper Vegas postcards.

Oh there's nothing actually preventing you from ruining the whole experience. But nobody in their right mind would ever do that intentionally. That would be stupid.

But the whole daylight saving time had freaked me out. It snuck up on me and bit me in the ass after I had been warned about its impending appearance by numerous sources.

One little hour. Sixty whole minutes. Three thousand six hundred brief but important seconds.

Gone. Evaporated into thin air.

Well I guess I can't really complain what with the extra day we just got and all. It's only an hour. I can give up a measly hour in exchange for some longer days. What's an hour between friends?

Well I know one soon to be former New York Governor who wishes he had a certain hour back.

Yeah, that guy. What the hell was he thinking?

"I'm the most powerful man in all of the Empire State. I live in a mansion. I have a beautiful wife and I'm respected and revered by thousands of people not only in my state but around the country. I think I'll spend a few thousand dollars on a prostitute. My secret will be safe with her. What have I got to worry about?"

"Um...Mr. Spitzer...all the news networks are calling. Well sure, they said they'd love an interview, but if you don't have the time they said they're just going to go with stock footage. Governor Spitzer...Gover...oh my god, somebody get the smelling salts. Hurry!"

I bet he'd do anything to get that hour back. I mean he not only has ruined his career, most likely for good, but he let down a lot of people who had invested a lot of time an money into the man. People that believed he'd do the best job that he could regardless of the temptations.

Well, I too have an hour that I'd do anything to get back. It happened last year. I'm not going to go into the details. If you were there you will remember. If you weren't, I wish I was you. I, like Gov. Spitzer, indulged in my vices and was caught in a very public manner.

It had started innocently enough, years prior, and progressed to the detrimental stage. I had complete disregard of the warning signs that it would affect my job performance at an appearance in my home state. The place was filled with my constituents and close friends. Hell, I practically had a podium. And I was asked to leave my post. It was for the good of the group; implemented so as to not tarnish the rest of the representatives from my area.

I made the choice to take my vice and bring it outside of my house and flaunt it in plain sight; to dress it up and parade it around and hope I wouldn't get caught. Because sometimes when you do something you know is wrong enough times, you start to believe that it really isn't wrong. You start to feel like nobody understands you and it might be them who are actually in error.

But, unlike the Governor from New York, I was given a second chance. I was given an opportunity to show the people in my life that I could and would change. And up to now, I certainly have been making good on that promise. Everything is riding on it and it has nothing to do with luck.

But like a scratch ticket there's always that little spot on the surface that's poking me in the belly egging me on to seize defeat; to do something supremely stupid. Its consequences are spelled out in plain English:

"Void if removed."

Damn straight.

Thanks for reading.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program of politicians, whores, and rock and roll.


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