Jeff is the rare “3 AM friend”, if I called him at 3 AM he would be there for me (he has). When he called me last week and invited me to play Poker I jumped at the chance. The prospect of playing cards with him was worth the 2-hour drive.

I met up with him at noon on Sunday and we headed out to get snacks and drinks for the game. We arrived at our friend Justen’s place on time. Jeff and Justen were the only ones I knew, but as a believer in “a stranger is a friend I haven’t yet met” I immediately became friendly with 3 of the 4 new guys. The fourth set off my “Spidey-Sense”, I didn’t like him at first impression.

My senses were accurate, not long into the tournament I concluded that he acted and played like a Dick. But I put up with it.

As the game wore on, players began to drop off. Our Texas Hold’em tournament was 1st and 2nd winners only, once you were out you were out. It had come down to me and the Dick. After a showdown in which I bet and he made a huge raise, I was forced to fold. As I threw down my cards he laughed and talked some trash. I ignored him.

In Poker, if your opponent folds you are not required to show your cards. It is an unspoken rule. When he threw his cards in, I scooped them up in preparation to shuffle and deal the next hand. In the process I accidentally flipped his cards up. He immediately reacted, accusing me of looking at his cards. I assured him that it was an accident.

It escalated. I stood up and told him that if he didn’t stop we were going to take it outside and handle it a different way.

That is when Jeff stepped in.

“Dude”, he said to the Dick. “Bill wouldn’t do that. If he says it was an accident it was, he is one of the finest people I know. Sit down before he kicks your ass.”

The Dick sat down. He and I finished the game. He won, I took second place, doubling my buy in. He took his money and left.

Soon after, Jeff and I left also.

“Thanks for getting my back, brother” I said to him.
“No worries, bud. I meant what I said.”
“Finest people I know?”I joked.
“Bill, you are an amazing human being. One in a million, maybe a billion.”

I was floored. I was unable to offer a response other than to thank him.

Soon, I was on my way back home with 2 hours of quality “me time” ahead of me. I love to drive, I do my best thinking behind the wheel. I can’t count how many blog posts came to me while driving.

This ride, I was thinking about what Jeff had said. What about me made him say that? I’m a pretty laid back guy, I try to be honest and kind-hearted, I’m not judgmental and try to be nice… But I’m nothing special. Then a word popped into my head.
Basic is a urban slang word, like fleek, lit, woke, bae,. Etc. Words my kids use that drive me crazy. Basic is a derogatory word denoting one’s lack of spark, of being of no particular interest. Not a nice thing to be called. But it’s a great thing to be and people seem to admire it.

In the last two years I have embarked on a spiritual journey to find myself. By applying the harsh spotlight of self-evaluation, unwavering criticism and acceptance of unwanted but necessary truths I emerged as a person who, for the first time, could look into a mirror and like what he saw. I had stripped myself of pretense, hubris, ego, pride and the conventional measures of success. Isn’t all of that a fancy way of saying that I got down to the basics?

I’ve never been happier.

I am basic. Like a child. Remember when we were children?

We loved everyone because we did not know hate.We were friendly to all because we had not learned prejudice and bigotry.
We were honest because we had no reason to lie.
We were happy because we had not been taught cynicism.
We said the “darndest things” because we were too young to be censored.
We asked questions to learn, not to make judgments.

Then the world changed us.

Fortunately, I have restored myself back to “Factory Settings”. Not amazing, not particularly noteworthy. Pretty basic overall. Some people seem to like that so I think I will run with it.

25 thoughts on “Basic”

  1. You may be a lot of things, B, I wouldn’t use basic as an adjective to describe you but when you put it that way, I’ll be damned if you aren’t right😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This made me really emotional, struck a deep chord, maybe even envy. I have spent a lifetime feeling like I wasn’t good enough, that I was supposed to shine brighter and be smarter. Although I think RP has led me to seeing myself and the world with more clarity, I still haven’t arrived at being ok just being me. You give me hope that I can get there. You shine a light on the path. Although, I may never be quite the bas ass you are. Thank you for sharing this, Billy!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It took me a long time to get to this point. I spent many sleepless nights thinking about my life. At first I blamed everyone but me and then I dropped the ego and opened myself to criticism. I became accountable, I forgave and I then reconciled with who I am.
      Illness will do it to us, but myself… I just grew up

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It takes a long time and deep study to find the easiest and best way to do something – and are we not the same? To find the way to simple (or basic) we must relive all our travels again, to see what it was that made the journey necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I find it ironic that it takes an illness or chronic condition to for us to accept ourselves for who we are. I’m not at the same level as you, but I am a lot kinder to myself than I used to be. More real, less superficial.

    That was pretty ballsy to invite the asshole outside to settle things. Would your basicness have come out on top?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Basic testosterone, a basic hatred of having my integrity questioned and a basic dislike of dickheads would have ensured a victory.
      Besides, when I stood up he had seen me standing for the first time and he looked pretty scared. Apparently I still have some of my old spark

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great read, Bill. I read your entries with anticipation of the spin you will put on a story, experience or random thought. Keep writing for yourself and sharing for others to enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

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