Here I go again. I’m playing that game that I often suddenly find myself playing in my head. The game is called: Which Person Here is the Future Famous Writer Who Will Someday Immortalize Me?
I waste a lot of time playing this game, like computer solitaire. But I can’t help it. It’s a coping mechanism, like computer solitaire.
I find myself playing this game when I’m in a public place and feeling conspicuous—on a bus, in a waiting room or someplace like that. So here I am at the corner pub I come to often. And oops, now I find myself wondering which person here is the future famous writer who will someday immortalize me? Could it be my server, the buxom black woman with the Angela Davis hair? She looks like the aspiring writer type. She has an engaged look in her eyes, like she’s always studying her surroundings. Or maybe it’s that guy few tables down, the spherical guy wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat. He squeezes a huge sloppy burger tight with two hands, elbows planted firmly on the table. He doesn’t look like the aspiring writer type at all, which is exactly what aspiring writer types look like sometimes.
The undercover future famous writer could be anybody in this dining room. Or it could be someone I can’t even see, maybe like a cook or dishwasher back in the kitchen observing me on the security camera. But no, it’s probably my server. And how can she resist riffing on a conspicuous character like me? I roll in here every week or so with a range of different companions—male and female and young and old. My companions feed me. We laugh a lot. I drink beer through a straw
I bet my server bribed the hostess to put me at her table this time so she could collect material. It gives her an excuse to make note of what I order, or to circle by every now and then and maybe capture a snippet of dialogue. Should I indulge her? When she’s within earshot, should I make a keen observation or perhaps tell a dirty joke? Maybe I should order three shots of whiskey and chug them all through a straw or drop my head back like a baby bird and have my companion pour them down my throat. That’ll really give her something to write about!
When a crippled character based on me appears in her Pulitzer –worthy novel or play, what will my backstory be? Will I be a sage and my companions my acolytes? Will I be a stud and my companions my concubines? Will I be sick and frail and my companions my plain-clothed paramedics? Will I be an eccentric tycoon and my companions my sycophants?
And what will the critics say of the character I inspired? Unforgettable? Caustic but charming? Clichéd? Derivative of Ahab?
Or maybe none of the above. My server is probably not a soon-to-be-celebrated writer at all. She’s probably just a server, wishing I would quit showing off and pay the damn check so she can go the hell home.
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