Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Won!

OK, so, that was obvious, right? This one must have been already in the can before that previous one got written where I played the "mega millions". It's all an elaborate hoax, just like scientists are conspiring to keep down the anti-global warming truths,

Isn't this just good science, or is it conspiracy among the scientists?

or in the way that we now can put a lawyer in jail for taking the criminal's side.

Honestly, I did buy a lottery ticket, for which I'm embarrassed as hell. I'm not about to check its number, since it might have been the most insane and crazy thing I've done in my life, and I'm not very proud of it. But well, hell, even I can afford a buck for a simple experiment, right?

The experiment was about how I would feel, and I have to say I didn't do very well. I started thinking about how I could gain lots of recognition for my crazy theories, and then maybe the world would start moving in a different direction.

That's pretty darned grandiose of me, and so I also started worrying about my sanity if I actually did win, which puts me right there in that same camp as all the crazies who buy lottery tickets.

I know you think I need an editor, and I'm not going to disagree with you, but as embarrassing to me as you think my writings sometimes are, I swear to you nothing comes close to how silly this one makes me feel.

But I mean, I really did win - and you can call it the lottery if you like. My sweetheart arrived safely in Paris and thought enough about me to let me know. I arrived safely back from NYC with my daughter. Oh sure, these are really relatively safe roads compared to the ones you drive, since only losers live in Buffalo where there isn't any traffic.

But it could be bumper cars down on Manhattan, and well, sure I'm one of those strange types who actually likes to drive there. There's a flow to it which seems so much saner than L.A., say, where OK, I've never actually driven. And with all those people and buildings you actually do feel like you're going somewhere. Even though it makes no sense to have a car in Manhattan, well except for, you know, sneaking in to pick up your daughter.

And last night I got to see Ha Jin along with maybe a couple thousand other people at a packed house down the street. My good friend won a ticket (I actually don't have even that $35 until my house sells, so I wasn't about to go on my own) and so there we went! He said it wasn't quite like the lottery, since all you had to do is know the names of one of this author's works. Well, I wouldn't have won - oh sure I could have looked it up on the Internet, which would have been like cheating, where my friend actually had the book right on the desk next to him, so he won legit!

And I was blessed. I mean truly blessed. OK, so it was a little bit spooky how people I knew didn't recognize me. I mean, in a way I'm Mr. Tiananmen here in backwater Buffalo (which is nowhere near as backwater as where I really live), and here's this writer, Ha Jin, whose prominence descends in some sense from his refusal to re-enter his homeland after those horrific events back in 1989. And I saw at least three people I'd led on trips to China, and it was as if I didn't exist.

Sure, I look a lot different now than I did way back then. I'm older, heavier and have no hair. And the fact is, I'm plenty embarrassed to say, that I'm too shy to walk up and say hi to important people even when I know them pretty well. I really am, which is a little bit strange coming from a guy who lets his ass hang out all over the Internet. But they say the actors who get up on stage - a lot of them - are shy too. Although I couldn't really imagine myself in Ha Jin's place in front of all those people.

And then there's the fact that Ha Jin not only can write, but really works at it, and seems to have mastered absolutely everything his audience has mastered, and can make funny jokes right in front of that huge crowd, even speaking a language which was never native for him. 

So, in that sense, I'm glad that my crazy grandiose fantasies of winning the actual lottery have about as much chance of panning out as that Large Hadron Collider now has of running.

So, is it gonna actually fire up and get the experiments done?

I should leave things right there, which with my sick sense of humor, would be a pretty funny place to leave things, but I still feel kind of funny about this whole thing. I mean, I have no business acting as if people didn't recognize me. I've been hiding out for what, maybe 18 years now? I mean how would anyone who thought they knew me even open up a conversation? And how would I respond? (that's my excuse for being Mr. Shy).

"Um, well, yeah, see, I don't really know what I'm doing or where I'm going or where I'm going to live." Even the bartender at the really cool and openminded place right around the corner from where I live was taken aback by that comment. I mean he really seemed stunned and thrown for a loop, and you'd think bartenders, almost by definition, are pretty laid back about such things. Living by their wits and watching lots of crazy people do lots of crazy things. My friend and I left when things were starting to hop. Around here, the bars don't really come to life until well after midnight, since they stay open until 4 AM, and, well, we're pretty lightweight . . .

So, that's my idea of winning the lottery. I wonder what yours is? Are you living on today's page, or some fantasy page you just can't wait to arrive at? What corners would you cut to get there? If you're a scientist and some crazy creationist steals your files and finds the smoking gun that you called him crazy, does that make you guilty of conspiracy? We're only negotiating price here folks.

No comments: