Life would be so much easier if there were more public rest rooms. I mean, what are they but mini break stations, right? The most basic, humanistic release of pressure. It’s tiny isolation in a good way: a quick chance to regroup and reset. Strange sinks and soaps and smells always put me in the mood of new.
Step 4: made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Speaking of bathrooms and alcoholism, together the two always remind me of one of my favorite films: The Hustler, starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, and the first time they play each other in straight pool. The game goes all night and into the morning, both men drinking throughout. By daylight, Newman is barely able to stand: his shirt’s untucked and he’s stretched out in a slouch in his chair, waiting to get beat.
Meanwhile, Gleason’s gone to the bathroom. He’s washed his hands and face, pulled a comb through his hair and spiffed up his appearance. Newman even chastises him for it, laughingly telling him that he looks like a newborn baby, all pretty and powdered up. At which point, Gleason destroys Newman, taking all of his money and leaving him passed out on the table.
The take-away from all this? It’s often important to call a time-out on yourself. Newman was so confident that he was the better player that he even declares it to Gleason halfway through the match, “I’m the best you ever seen, Fats. I’m the best there is. And even if you beat me, I’m still the best.” This, of course, causes George C. Scott to advise Gleason, “Stay with this kid; he’s a loser.”
See, Fast Eddie (Newman) never knew when he was in over his head, and never does, really, until it’s far too late. The same could be said of me – always giving myself a way out just in case I fail, and somewhat disappointed when I don’t. Approaching a problem with a bag of excuses then leaves me with a big bag of empty it I actually succeed. And since I went to all the trouble to fill my bag, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it simply go to waste. Even though they were inappropriate to begin with, I’m bringing them out either way. Some of this vitriol is just too good to let spoil.
With the Twelve Steps as my guide, I’m trying not to fill my bag in the first place. I’ve got enough going against me just from a disease standpoint; the last thing I need to start bottling my own.
Today: Keep transforming from Fast Eddie to Minnesota Fats. How’s that for specific?