The selfish nature of [this] man

If writers were to be believed, poignant moments happen all the time. In truth, I think such moments are very rare, and when they happen they often go unnoticed.

A few days ago, I was playing golf. Walking to the sixth tee box, I saw two men conversing as they moved toward No. 8’s tee box. They were parting ways. One would be teeing off, the other had to go pick up his kids.

“I never had kids,” the one said. “Must be nice, someone to carry your family name.”

I noted the trace of sadness in his voice and, to a lesser extent, I noticed the family man kept walking away as the other spoke. He had places to be, so I didn’t think too much of it.

Then the talkative fella started talking to me. He was friendly, and it was clear he wanted someone to talk to.

All I could see was his receding gum line and somewhat disheveled appearance.
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I just finished reading a book by former Enquirer and Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene. One thing struck me — and unsettled me.

Greene had a calculating way of setting up situations fraught with possible meanings, interpretation and importance. He went to meet his first girlfriend. He spent a few days in a childhood home, etc. Then, the carefully constructed moments would fail to work out as he’d hoped. A sense of unease filled him, and the reader was left uncomfortable too.

The moments came and went, and nothing was as Greene envisioned it.
It seemed like either a cheap trick or a bold display of naivete.

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So, I was talking to this man. I had already realized that something was happening. The sad man voicing one of his life’s regrets to a perfect stranger. Talking to some kid, and just wanting to talk a little bit.

I wanted to be friendly. I wanted to be a bright momentary presence in his life.

And I wanted him to leave me alone.

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Published in: on July 12, 2008 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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