Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Thinking back.

As I walked from the trains station to work this morning, I noticed an unusual amount of fresh spit on the sidewalk. I had two thoughts:

1) Why am I looking at the ground so much?
2) How much would it cost to institute a city-wide cuspador plan?

I left for work this morning without my backpack on. When I hit ground level, I realized that I’d forgotten it, but elected not to go back upstairs to retrieve it, as it occurred to me that I had nothing in there I needed for the day.

But as I walked to the train, I began to feel strange and naked without it. My spine had ghost sensations that it needed to compensate for the minimal weight. I even managed to fit in some sort of paranoia about my back being exposed to deadly attack, as if the presence of a tattered canvas sack would be the difference between severe internal trauma and mere bruising.

Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back. This is true. He was killed by a bullet in the head from the brother of a man he’d shot dead a few days earlier, as he sat playing poker [1] in a saloon. On all other days of his life, Bill Hickok was profoundly suspicious of having his back to the door, and when he sat down to play cards, he always chose the seat against the wall so as to avoid being taken by surprise. But on this one day, the day he died, somebody else got to the seat first, and Wild Bill Hickok decided not to make an issue of this. Wild Bill Hickok gunned down men with little conscience on the matter, but he was too courteous to demand his regular seat. I can scarcely imagine the odds of the cosmic convergence of events that had to occur for Wild Bill Hickok to die.

For some reason, this story sticks with me enough that I do get slightly uncomfortable when I sit anywhere with my back to the door. And I don’t have nearly the reason to fear assassination that Wild Bill Hickok did.

My spine is throbbing. It’s going to be a strange day, I think, without having my backpack.

[1] Hickok was holding, as he slumped forward onto the card table, two aces and two eights. Today, in poker parlance, this particular two-pair hand is referred to as the “dead man’s hand.”

Current music: MP3 list, Counting Crows, “Anna Begins”

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2002 by in Thoughts, Work.
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