“How can the rules be followed when the rules themselves aren’t clearly defined?” JSM
I don’t believe a smile crested my lips for the rest of that weekend.
Hang on a second… Wait… Nope. Not a smile can I recall.
I felt bitter and sad. Not angry, but frustrated.
How many other ways could this weekend have gone? How much better could it have all turned out?
If I had listened to my buddy in the first place and really thought it through, I could be home safe and sound, peacefully snoring… and not dragging my feet into a hotel at three o’clock in the morning after two destructive accidents in which one person was seriously injured.
Sore, banged up, tired body. Thumping headache. Sharp stabbing prickles in my neck. Butterflies bumping around in my guts with relentless force.
“Bill, what time does the training start?”
He looked to his wrist and half smiled, “We need to be there at seven thirty, sharp.”
“Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“No. That’s the time it starts. We don’t want to miss the Keynote. That’s the best part. We’ll get in a quick breakfast and arrive as scheduled. Jeremy–” He stopped in the hall, lowered his head and dropped his luggage to the floor. For the first time since we met, he showed signs of weakness, fatigue and a slight drop in confidence. He looked beyond me down the hall, and rolled his tongue inside his cheek as though he was searching for the right words. Catching my stare he placed a hand on my shoulder and gripped it with a gentle squeeze, “–It’s been a tough night, for all of us, but everything will be fine. Get a few hours’ sleep. We’ll get through it and someday you’ll look back on this and laugh. Trust me.” He winked, smiled the wicked grin, and snatched up his luggage again.
I followed him down the hall to my room.
The moment my head hit the pillow and my eyes closed shut, they opened again to the wakeup call a few hours later. It was time for breakfast. The passage of time from sleep to awake was instantaneous.
Bill knocks on the door at six fifteen and enters the room, “So… We ready for this? Where’s your formal wear?”
“Formal wear? Suit and tie?”
His eyes opened wide, “Yes. A suit. You brought one didn’t you?”
“I was never told to bring a suit. I don’t think I own a suit.”
“That’s ok. We’ll make due. Maybe I have something. Did you at least bring something button up?”
I sifted through my luggage, “… I don’t see anything. Sorry. I wish I’d known.”
“That’s alright.” He approached the door. “You’ll be sitting in the back of the room anyway.”
The second the words came out of his face was the moment the light switch dropped even further. In that instant, I knew I didn’t belong and I bristled up at the remark. “Bill, like I said, I didn’t know. For not dressing up, I get punished? Back of the room?”
He looked surprised, “Oh, no, no. Not punishment. All the new people sit in the back. You’ll be among a handful of others who are at the bottom rung of the tiers. The introductory stage. This entire seminar, Jeremy, all of this and everything you’re about to see and experience, is all for you.”
The butterflies returned and I sat down on the edge of the bed. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not joking. All of us doing this… the big wigs, the best of the best gathering from around the country and in some cases the world, all this money spent, all of it; is all for you and the few others like you. You think this is some annual event we like to do? Some family reunion? No. We do this for our new people. We don’t mess around. BizarroTech is serious with new recruits. You need to be shown what’s possible. You still have the paper I gave you at my house?”
I reached to my wallet, “Yeah. It’s in here.”
“Don’t take it out. Keep it there. You’ll look at it in the future when the time’s right. I want that paper to be your incentive for now. The rules of the game are to leave it alone until the time is perfect and only you’ll know when that time is. Take it out of its safe place the moment that first big check arrives at your mailbox. Just remember what you’re about to see today, is what you can become yourself, in no time. Everything on that paper will come full circle. It’s all—for—you.” He pointed his finger at me and the smile returned. My mentor left the room and I reached to my wallet.
Game you say?
Some rules are meant to be bent. Especially with games.
On my Facebook profile I mention my love of games. Table top games, dice games, strategy games, role playing games, video games, and my favorite game–chess.
I also state I don’t like head games. Bill’s mention of the rules of the game, changed my patterns of thought. I don’t like head games, but I can play them when needed.
I try to follow the rules. I always strive to do the right thing. I think before I act and speak, and I have a structured moral code that’s fairly solid.
But I can’t say I haven’t bent the rules from time to time. The devils are in those details however and tales for another time.
Keeping my eye on the door as though I was about to read something top secret and classified, my curiosity getting the better of me, I withdrew the paper from its pocket (hiding behind an old hand punched Subway card), and pulled open the folds. A sound in the hall forced me to stuff it back inside the wallet, but when no one entered the room, I pulled it back out and opened it halfway.
🙂 Thank you for continuing this journey with me and if you wish to receive a notification for further adventures, just provide an email in the area below, and click “follow me”. The email provided will not be used for any other purpose. Thank you for reading and subscribing to TotC. I’ll see you at the seminar 🙂