My birthday was a moonless night. Sitting in Plaza de las Virgines in Valencia, Spain three sips into a beer I bought from the backpack of a bearded Hungarian I told my friend , “I’m moving here.”
I made many drunken boasts that evening including telling everyone I was turning twenty seven, so he didn’t take my plans seriously. “What are you going to do for money?”
“I’ll day trade the stock market.” Then I remembered a conversation I had with a guy from Madrid at the bar, Radio City, about a high stakes card game. “I’ll play poker. I’m one of the nine best players in the world.”
I’m uncertain how I selected the number nine and didn’t just go for the gusto and say I was the best poker player in the world. Regardless, I didn’t travel down either of those paths. I came back to America for the lucrative financial rewards of writing and substitute teaching.
The two careers fulfill all three tenses. The substitute teaching is for the present. A job with no stability and no chance of upward mobility. My location and duration change by the moment.
The writing keeps me in the past where I dig into the recesses of my mind for material. It also provides me with a delusion of the future. The script I’m writing won’t get too bizarre. It will be mainstream and commercial and will net me a million dollars. It will be about an American (good looking and charming of course) scraping his way through Europe playing poker.
There is an old saying in Hollywood. I believe it was the great Tony Danza who coined, “While art might imitate life, commerce replaces it.”