Sunday, May 29, 2011

you cannot be serious

What's this?

Why a tennis player's autobiography review, of course.

You Cannot Be Serious, by John McEnroe with James Kaplan, published in 2002.

This autobiography of John McEnroe is titled after one of his famous outbursts on the tennis court. And yes, if you didn’t already know John was one of the all time best tennis players ever in the early eighties.

I’ve read where other reviews of this book which say he skims the surface of his life, never really digging deep down to reveal himself. I think I disagree with that. I mean how much do you really want to know?

He gives plenty of insight into his behavior on and off the court and in my reading through it, john just seems a bit screwed up and private - but wouldn’t you be after rocketing into stardom before you were twenty then slowly riding the crest downward?

I found it a pretty satisfying journey through his early years right on through to his dreams of becoming a rock star (not gonna happen), and his love of art and opening his own gallery in New York. Still, he is a passionate man, and I followed his entire career from 1977 on through to his retirement in 1992 and still keep an eye on him in the seniors tour today.

I was even a security guard at the player’s lounge in 1986 at the Canadian open and watched him walk in (looking at nobody and moving quickly) then taking a seat. Hanging about a while then walking out again (still looking at nobody and moving quickly). He was an enigma, but one hell of a good tennis player.

He lost to Seguso in the third round of the Canadian open while I was working lounge security. I watched that match whenever I had a break, and couldn’t believe my eyes. Mac was struggling, hitting balls out, playing like absolute crap. With my 6.0 ranking at the time, hell, I may have been able to beat him (yes, delusions of grandeur.)

It was interesting, to me, to find out his relationship with Tatum was going to hell around that time and it’s no wonder he didn’t want to look at anybody. I didn’t dare ask him for an autograph - yeah, he was that cold.

Still, if you followed his tennis like I did, you will find this a fascinating read. If you weren’t into tennis back then you will most likely find this a bit on the dull side not knowing the names of the day, the matches he won or blew, his relationships with Borg and Conners, etc.

So, my verdict is - if you saw the matches back then and you liked Mr. McEnroe’s tennis - pick if up and relive the incredible journey. If not - well, just pick up his two Wimbledon Finals (1980 and 1981) against Borg and enjoy true tennis talent.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

short story: Above the Crowd

It’s been a while since I posted a short story . . . so I thought now was a good time.

Ever been beat by a girl? Your male pride kicked squarely in the man parts?

Sit back and enjoy the ride through the eyes of Jake, the best assassin and thief around . . . or so he thinks.


Above the Crowd
by Paul Darcy

The dying man, face masked by shadow, hung upside down from the rafters. The acrid scent of fresh-spilled blood permeated the air while multitudes of flies buzzed in chorus. Jake, the best in the business, hadn’t known anything was amiss until he’d arrived in the dark bedchamber to assassinate this man himself. He surveyed the scene with an irritation bordering on anger. Someone took down his mark! Someone was out to undermine his reputation.

A drop of blood struck the floor.

Jake cleaned under his short fingernails with the point of his dagger. Its honed steel edge was clean, and he hated that. He’d failed. Could he, in good conscience, even consider collecting his standard fee?

Pulling a small figurine out from an inner pocket of his tunic, he caressed it with thumb and forefinger. “Ibrilis,” he whispered, “who committed this slight against me without my knowledge? Please, guide my hand so that I may find the truth.” The figurine was a representation of Ibrilis, god of thieves and assassins. Made completely of polished obsidian, like Ibralis’ black-as-night cloak of office, the figurine reflected the room’s dim light like a beast’s black pupil.

Jake tucked the figurine back underneath his tunic. Then, leaving the mansion through the access panel in the roof, he ascended into the chill night air. On the roof’s cold slate tiles, he sat for a moment in silence and surveyed the city scape.

The rooftops were Jake’s home. He avoided the streets below, which were crawling with unhealthy humans trying to get by, waiting for somebody like him to send them on their way, for a price. The moon, a mere crescent, made for the perfect night to travel above the city unnoticed.

Jake suddenly caught a motion out of the corner of his eye two roofs away. He stopped, tense, alert and aware. Still as a gargoyle, he sat using every sense to study his surroundings. Three seconds of intense concentration revealed nothing but the cooing of pigeons, the soft sigh of the wind, the scent of wood smoke, the faint stamping of horses hooves somewhere below in a nearby alley. Apparently, nothing up here but Jake and the birds. But Jake trusting his instincts. He wasn’t the best and survived the longest because he’d ignored them. Someone, likely the usurper of his contract, was up here with him.

In a flash he was off, making of himself a moving target, harder to hit. Harder to hit, but not impossible. He knew this from experience, having been several times both hunter and hunted.

Jake’s soft leather shoes touched down on a roof ten paces away, the space below stretching twenty feet down to the hard, cold cobblestones. At a full run he took to the air once more. On his left several rooftops away, a flicker of shadow passed before the crescent moon, then was gone. After jumping six more rooftops, he slowed, stopped, and positioned himself with his back against a chimney. The exertion left him breathing hard. The entire time his dagger never left his hand.

His chest expanding and contracting smoothly, Jake scanned the immediate rooftops for signs of pursuit, anything out of the ordinary. But, as before, he could sense nothing amiss. The rooftops appeared as desolate as death itself. With satisfaction, he reminded himself that no person could follow him across the top of the city. Noone could match his skills on the rooftops.

Beginning to relax, Jake took a long deep breath. A slight smile formed on his lips, then froze in place. Cold steel pressed against his throat. He knew enough to surmise that any sudden movements could end his life. Unmoving, he cursed himself for being taken completely unawares. Damn this person was good. Too good. And he should know.

“Hello, Jake,” came a sweet woman’s voice. It was not a voice he recognized. His silent curses intensified. Not only was he trapped, but he was trapped by a woman. Then it struck him. Nobody knew his proper name. Reaper was, or so he thought, his only moniker.

He contemplated a sudden strike. With a quick twist he might be able to strike out with his dagger before his throat was fatally slit. At the slight tensing of his muscles, he felt added pressure from the blade and knew his immediate thoughts were anticipated. He could feel the slight discomfort of a shallow razor-sharp cut on his throat. That plan would fail. He must try another method of extrication.

“Let’s talk about this, shall we.” Jake said, doing his best to conceal any signs of fear in his voice. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down against the cold blade as he swallowed. A small trickle of blood dribbled down the inside of his neck creating a warm wet finger pointing toward his heart.

A sweet chuckle escaped his captor’s lips. “Yes, we shall.” Quick as a cat, she flicked the blade from his throat. Before he could react, the woman sprang to the top of the chimney he leaned against. Jake wiped the blood from his neck. The wound was superficial. Peering up into the night, he wanted to see who could have taken him so easily.

A woman, slight of frame and clad in black, perched on the lip of the chimney several feet above him. She appeared to be studying him, waiting perhaps for him to make the next move. Smiling down at him, she made Jake uneasy. He gave up any thought of sticking a dagger in her. She was too quick, too alert, and he was a fast learner. Conversation might prolong the moment, allow him to learn who he was dealing with, maybe help him regain his balance.

“You seem to know my name,” he said, “but I don’t know yours.” He didn’t expect an answer, but if she did he expected her to lie.

“Bri,” came her instant reply.

Jake racked his brain for any reference to a thief or assassin by that name. Nothing came to him. The closest was Brak, but he was a large fierce man from the northern wilds, and this person, no matter how clever the disguise, was certainly not he.

“Well, Bri,” he said, “what can I do for you?”

Bri flipped her dagger from hand to her fingertip quicker than Jake’s eye could follow. He was about to spring to one side if she made ready to throw it, but instead she kept it balanced, spinning, on the end of her middle finger. Her smile broadened, revealing white teeth reflecting the moon’s pale glow. “Well,” she said flippantly, “I hear you’re the best. Care to put that to the test?”

So, Jake’s reputation was not unknown to this woman. “What did you have in mind?” he asked, mesmerized by the spinning blade balanced on her finger. He could perform that trick as well he knew, given enough time and practice. It seemed a pointless exercise, but he did have to admit that it was impressive.

“A little competition between us,” Bri said flicking the dagger, in the blink of an eye, back into a sheath just inside the folds of her cloak. “Three categories, best two out of three wins it. The reward for the winner is that the loser will do, to the best of his or her ability, what the winner wants. What say you?”

Jake thought a moment about her proposal. If he won he would demand of her the reasons for taking out his assigned victim and who, if anyone, had put her up to it. He was convinced she’d done the job, and he wanted answers. He assessed her: small, attractive and obviously skilled. But he seriously doubted her ability to beat him in fair competition. In the past he’d been challenged by, but never bested, by another assassin or thief. Whatever the test of skills, Jake was the best in the land, and he knew it.

“Very well,” he agreed. “What are the categories?”

She was obviously pleased that he’d accepted the challenge for her smile broadened making her more attractive. But Jake knew the prettiest snakes and spiders were often the most deadly poisonous. “First,” she said, “a footrace across the roofs. Second, a dagger throw. And lastly, lock picking.”

Jake relaxed. He’d have no problem with those, he thought. “When do we begin?”

“Now,” she said laughing, “first one to the water tower wins the footrace.” And with that she leaped clear of the chimney and was off. Cursing himself for letting her get the jump on him again, he raced off across the rooftops faster than ever.

Knowing the rooftops as he did, Jake took the quickest and clearest route to the water tower. The entire five minutes it took him to cross the town on the rooftops he did not see or hear her once. She likely ran into one of many dead ends and was struggling to find another way around. His grin grew as he saw the water tower three roof jumps away. She was still nowhere in sight.

With a last great leap, he cleared the final roof and alighted on the railing surrounding the tower.

He looked back towards the roofs, waiting for her to come into view.

“Not bad,” Bri’s voice emanated from behind him and higher up the tower, “but I win.”

Incredulous, Jake turned around and spotted her crouched further up on the tower supports. Not possible, was all he could think while his outward expression betrayed no hint of inner turmoil. He’d raced straight here, running full out, hadn’t slipped up once and followed the quickest direct path. He was also a head taller than her and could not believe that she could have outrun him, however athletic she was. Despite his disbelief, here she was. She’d obviously tricked him. The horse he’d heard earlier in the streets below. Of course! That must be how she’d beaten him here. Overlooking the obvious, he’d fallen for her trick and was made to look a fool.

Bri jumped down beside him, and he reflexively placed his back to the structure, dagger at the ready. Observing his reaction with insouciance she smiled and said, “All right, if you insist on going first. The target is over there.” She pointed and he followed the line of her delicate finger. Discernable in the dim moonlight, he could now see what she was pointing at. The target, a small wooden plaque, was perhaps two hand spans in diameter and painted white. A blood red dot marked its center.

“Three tosses,” Bri instructed. “Closest to the center wins.”

There could be no tricks this time, and Jake was an expert marksman with a throwing dagger. No man ever bested him in such a competition. Of course, he’d never competed against a woman before, but that should not affect the outcome.

Settling his nerves, Jake approached the calm inside himself which served him best during tests of skill. Taking one deep breath and exhaling it in a controlled manner, he threw his first dagger and watched it plunk into the wood, three fingers below center. He pulled another dagger and let fly with improved aim. This one impaled the target a mere finger span to the right of the red dot. Concentrating harder, and settling deeper into calm, he loosed a third dagger. With complete satisfaction he watched it impale the dead center of the target cleanly piercing the red spot. Let’s see her best that, Jake smugly thought to himself.

“My, you’re an accurate one, aren’t you?” Bri’s tone was glib, but Jake knew there was no way she could do better than perfect. She possessed a lot of bravado and bluster, but the blades would decide. Despite his self assurances however, he felt uneasy by her self-confident manner.

He moved aside making room for her to throw from the same spot. Bri smiled, pulled out her first throwing dagger and again twirled it on her fingertip. Impressive, he thought, but her fingertip was not the target.

Quick as a cat she let fly her dagger and he heard it thunk into the target. Jake grinned. It was a good hand span to the left of center. She looked at him with a false pout, pulled another dagger out from under her dark cloak and tossed it. It whistled through the air and again thunked into the target. It landed closer to the center this time, but was still three fingers above the red dot where Jake’s dagger triumphantly jutted out.

“Never was much good with my off hand,” she remarked pulling out a third dagger. This time, instead of her right hand she switched to her left. She adroitly flipped the blade around in a kind of hand-dagger-dance. The motion of her hand and the spinning blade were faster than Jake could follow. At the end of a complicated series of moves, Bri caught the dagger by its blade, arched her elbow back and let fly the weapon. This time, instead of a wooden thunk, he heard a metallic clank and watched in disbelief as his dagger was bent away from the middle of the target and hers was there in its place. A moment later his blade, knocked loose, fell out of the target altogether and clattered on the cobblestones in the street below.

“Well,” she said with obvious glee in her voice, “seems we both hit dead center. You were first to the mark though, so I’ll concede this one to you.”

Crestfallen, Jake could think of no appropriate comeback. By rights it was a draw, but he went along with her logic. She must have, after all, cheated on the footrace. He observed her face, eyes reflecting the crescent moon in each iris making them appear catlike. Judging by her body language and impish grin, Bri was enjoying herself, and he, wanting to dislike this upstart, found himself strangely intrigued by her instead. One category to go. He would not let himself be bested by a mere woman.

Jake followed her to the target where they gathered their daggers in silence. The one on the cobblestones below he left. Retrieving it would feel to him like an admission that she’d beaten him, again. Good throwing daggers could be replaced. His pride was not so easily restored.

“Ready for the last test,” she said, then quickly added, “of skills in our competition?” This time the look she flashed him was that of hunger, like a trapper finding his snares loaded with game. He suspected it was the same look she gave her victims the moment she slipped a dagger between their ribs.

Looking away from her Jake said, “Why wait,” with all the bravado he could muster. Lock picking was another formidable skill he possessed. His long years of practice had honed this particular talent to near perfection. No prison cell or lock made could defy him for long.

“I have a matching pair of Helkin locks,” Bri said, and Jake heard a rattle. Looking at her outstretched hand he could see identical locks displayed in her open palm. Exquisite, delicate and perhaps the best made in all the land, Helkin locks were known for their near unpickability. He’d beaten them before, but they were devilishly hard to crack. The Helkin’s small keyholes allowed little room to maneuver picks.

Bri extended her hand further towards Jake allowing him first choice of locks. Seeing no difference, and knowing their craftsmanship, he arbitrarily picked the one closest to him. Her other hand emerged from underneath her cloak. In it she held an exquisite gold-handled lock pick set. He pulled out his own trusty steel picks and waited, flexing his fingers in preparation.

“Go,” Bri said. Jake bent over his lock and set to work. She yawned loud enough for him to hear and out of his peripheral vision he saw her casually sweep a lock of hair from her face. Already he had three of his smallest picks working away at the Helkin’s inner mechanisms. She had yet to insert even one from her set. Trying to distract and fluster him, he suspected, but he would not allow her antics to disturb his concentration. He settled deeper into calm and ignored her as best he could.

Inside this lock Jake knew there were four separate tines that needed to be depressed before the inner cylinder would turn allowing him to ratchet it open. He’d already fixed two in place but the third was causing him difficulty. After a moment of fine manipulation he noticed that Bri finally decided to begin. He managed to secure the third tine. One more to suppress and then he could insert his dummy key and pop open the lock. With the skill and precision of a fine jeweler, a scant moment later, he set the forth time in place. No sooner had he inserted his dummy key when he heard the snap of Bri’s lock and looked up to see it open and swinging from her index finger which she was pointing at him. Her smile was positively radiant.

“I win,” Bri said. He snapped open his lock. This was impossible, being bested at what Jake thought was his game, made to look an amateur. But scanning Bri’s face he detected an expression he was not expecting. She was delighted to be sure, but she was observing him as if he were a treasure beyond compare instead of a humiliated foe.

“I’m impressed,” Bri said and sounded sincere, “you really are the best, and the best choice by far.”

Jake was confused. “What are you talking about? I’m ready to uphold my end of the deal, so ask what you will of me, and be done.”

“Oh, don’t be upset, Jake,” she said then she sidled up beside him. “What you have done is almost beyond compare. In fact you beat me in all three categories, though only by the smallest of margins.”

“I don’t understand,” he said, “the foot race, the dagger throw and this,” he said holding up his own open lock.

“You will,” she said. And then Bri winking at him. Jake tried but couldn’t fathom what new mood possessed her. He was an expert judge of human character, but the loss of the competition and her mysterious demeanor were throwing him off.

Bri jumped from her perch and alighted on the nearest rooftop. “Follow me,” she said, and took off at a full run. Like two scudding clouds in a windstorm they raced across the top of the city. She was indeed fleet of foot and agile, but Jake, wanting an end to this mystery, used his formidable skills to keep a mere pace or two behind. It became obvious within a short while that she was leading him back to the place of his failed assignment. There was no doubt in his mind now, she was the usurper of his contract and she wasn’t finished with him yet.

Back at the scene of the crime, Jake watched Bri slip through the open access hatch in the roof of the estate. A moment later he followed her inside.

The darkness of the room was almost complete, but he could see that Bri was standing beside the inverted hanging figure. With her head cocked to one side, she studied the dying man. He joined her. It took a minute for his eyes to fully adjust to the dim light. The buzzing of the flies droned again, as if they were unusually near his own ears. He heard the soft splat of blood as it joined the large pool now at their feet.

Bri stepped aside and Jake, closer now to the hanging body, could discern the features of the victim. Blood trickled up the neck, a thin line of darker shadow on shadow, over the ramp of the chin, crossed the gap of a slightly open mouth, marking a trail across the curve of the cheek where it pooled for a moment in the left eye socket until it gathered enough to form a drop. Even upside down he knew those features well. He’d seen them every day in his polished brass mirror while shaving.

He took a reflexive step backwards before controlling himself. How could this be?

As if she’d heard his thoughts, Bri spoke softly beside him, “yes, it is you.”

Turning to her, Jake’s blood ran cold. Beside him stood not Bri, but the cowled figure of Ibrilis, black as night in the glistening robe of the King, or as he now knew, the Queen of thieves and assassins. He knelt down on one knee before her in reverence.

“Please don’t,” she said. “I was once as mortal as you. I too failed to win the contest against my predecessor. Of course it’s not possible for a mortal to defeat a god, but you did extremely well, considering. Better than I did, in fact, over a hundred years ago,” her voice trailed off and for the first time he detected an undercurrent of pain and suffering beneath her sweet flippant tones.

“What do you want of me?” he asked, rising to meet his deity.

“Well, Jake, you did agree to the contest. And I did beat you, so I ask you to do one thing for me.”

“What would that be?” he asked. His rattled nerves were settling somewhat, but he still stood in awe of Ibralis.

“I want you to take my place,” she stated, matter of fact. “One hundred years is quite enough, even for a god.”

Jake looked back at his body, his mouth mimicking that of his corpse. He could form no words in response, his mind taking in and coming to grips with what Ibralis had offered him. In the deathly silence one final fatal drop of blood struck the floor, the sound like that of a dagger piercing flesh. Striving all his life to prove that he was the best, to garner the admiration of his god Ibralis, it would seem that he’d succeeded beyond his wildest imaginings. Time appeared to stop.

Jake gathered his courage, “yes,” he said. Then louder, “yes, I will.”

He turned to look at Ibralis, but she was no longer there. The silence of her passing was deafening. Even the flies had ceased their buzzing, frozen in the moment. All that remained of her was the cloak discarded on the floor, a larger stain of black mimicking the one under his corpse.

With a flourish Jake lifted, then donned, the cloak of Ibralis. With one incredible leap he was outside running faster than the wind, the city a blur beneath him.

As Jake’s body grew cold, his spirit soared above the crowds.

The End

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

got me a new pair

Finally!

It’s been about five weeks of running around the clay courts on bald treads, but yesterday, after finding a pair of good quality clay court Head tennis shoes this week, I did an hour of tennis aerobics and the difference in grip was astounding.

Instead of slipping around the court, and subsequently tiring myself out needlessly, I had superior traction and used a lot less energy. I was therefore much less tired after the session.

Today I take to the courts for two hours of doubles.

I only hope the five hours of sleep I had last night doesn’t wipe out the good a new pair of shoes will do me on the court.

You see, last night was reading night for our writing group and afterwards we had a long drive home in the rain and the new old car.

The 2008 Kia Rio I bought two days ago, which still has a full 2 year 40,000 KM warranty attached to it, was our mode of transportation for last night’s outing. What follows will be my mini-review of said set of wheels.

Ahem.

The 1.6 litre engine does not have a lot of power and going up a long, long hill it sounded like a lawn mower hitting a thick patch of grass with the blade set too low. It made the hill, but performance suffered and we were definitely losing speed by the time we made the crest.

And as far as exterior road noise impinging on the interior, well, it was pretty high. The insulation is not great and you could hear the rain water slapping up against the wheel wells as well as rain pinging against the door panels when we were caught in a cross wind.

But overall, despite those two obvious limitations, I am really happy with it and it gets great gas mileage which is easy to take with today’s gas price gouging going on.

And the purchase price was absolutely rock bottom. I couldn’t be happier with the ride. And my daughter has christened it, Putt Putt. Okay, I’ll buy that name.

Well, as my brain is sleep deprived I will pass on only two more things today.

Thing 1. I’m working away at preparing a new D&D campaign for our gaming group. It will take lowly 1st levels all the way to 10th for the grand finale.

Thing 2. Okay, this is embarrassing . . . I can’t remember Thing 2.

This can only mean my brain has fallen back to sleep while my body continues in autopilot. To try to produce any more cogent written thoughts would be futile.

So . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 08, 2011

mother slipping

Happy day to all you mothers out there the world over!

Now that that is out of the way . . .

. . . on to me.

I’m a bit of a mother myself anyhow . . .

So, my search for clay court tennis shoes is still ongoing, and not going on so well.

I’m still hitting the courts in bald shoes and - here comes the official excuse - I’m not moving as well as I could because of it. Yesterday at tennis aerobics we were doing side to side drills . . . and for me it was, slide to slide drills . . .

Our club has promised to get a new batch of clay courts shoes in . . . before it snows again . . . is what I’m thinking. I can’t wait.

So, I’m hitting the doubles courts again today to see if I can maintain my top court position. See, not doing so badly despite the lack of traction.

And I do continue to grumble under my breath while adjusting my game to clay courts. Clay never was, and still is not, my favourite surface. There is just no way to serve and volley effectively on clay. But, being indoor year round and inexpensive and close sold me on the idea of joining this club and I’m slowly regaining my old tennis form at least as far as getting in shape goes.

The funny thing to me is, now that I have four plus decades under my belt, getting back in top physical form is bloody tough. My ankles hurt (likely from all the sliding) and in the morning my body needs about twenty minutes to become fully functional again. This never, ever, ever happened when I was in my early twenties. I guess that’s why tennis players on the circuit burn out around age 30 with a few exceptions.

Oh, and the best players in the club, including the pros, play on Wednesday night. One of the pros asked me to join that league . . . hmm, guess I will and see how it goes. I promise to give a full account of my folly.

I have been unable to play Wednesday night because of family timing conflicts, as well as being too out of shape. But I’ve been working hard on conditioning and I feel now is the time to join that league, even though I’ll be sliding around the court until I find new treads.

Okay, I’ll shut up about my shoes.

Well, I hear the stirring of daughter making mother breakfast.

So, I’m off to join in the feast . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 01, 2011

dropped the ball

Reality is stranger, and certainly more realistic, than fiction . . . or self-delusion.

Seems being a tennis instructor is not in the cards. The hand I was dealt in this life is not applicable to that particular endeavour.

You see, I love to play tennis. Of all the sports I’ve tried (several dozen) I like nothing better than running around a tennis court and hitting the ball. Every other sport I’ve tried pales in comparison.

And you would think this love of the game would easily translate into teaching the sport - right?

I thought it would too. Really, I did.

But for the past two weeks I was all stabby and irritable and my family and I couldn’t come to grips with what was up with me. I’m not usually Mr. Happy all day, but this behaviour was unusual even for me.

I was in the dark as to why I was acting the way I was.

Until the first session of tennis instructor training . . . then the lights went on.

Teaching tennis is about .1% about the tennis, and 99.9% about managing a group of kids.

I’ve a love of those two activities in the exact opposite proportion to the reality of the situation, and I deluded myself big time into thinking otherwise.

So I came home, agonized about what to do, and then decided that getting all certified and ending up on the court with twenty kids was pretty much a sentence for ulcers, anger management issues and possible homicide investigations . . . okay, maybe not the last one, but I’m sure my inner fiction grinder would fantasize ways to off a few brats.

Now, I am not a kid hater by any means, nor would I ever intentionally harm one (or an adult for that matter) but managing a swarm of them would literally drive me over the edge of no return.

Bottom line - tennis instruction is all about managing hordes of kids . . . about the weakest character trait I possess . . . that is the reality.

And so, the search continues for a niche which fits my talents . . . and no, it will not be party clown . . .

Until next Sunday . . .