Column #147 The Pub of Life
September 1, 2003
The Pub of Life
It’s a funny game, darts. Life.
You can spend years practicing and honing your skills so when you need them, when you absolutely have to stick the double bull — or do whatever it is you need to succeed — you can do so at will. Then, one day you wake up and realize the deadeye’s stuck you.
That’s what happened to me on my birthday just four days ago. I crawled out of bed after a typical night of league and padded to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and peered into the mirror.
The reflection was not of the dark-haired teenager who so many years ago threw his first darts at an old paper-wound board, a Christmas present, on the back of his bedroom door. My walls were plastered with Hendrix black-light posters. For hours I’d pound the bulls-eye and relax while Iron Butterfly and the Electric Prunes spun on the turntable. Inna Godda Di Vida. I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night. For a while I wouldn’t worry about being sent to Vietnam.
Staring back at me four days ago was a stranger. But only for a moment.
After years and years (and beers and beers) of pacing back and forth between the line and the board, throwing my darts, pulling my darts and throwing them again — struggling for consistency — it was at this early morning instant that my love of darts and my life briefly converged. As the older me remembered the younger me it suddenly all made sense.
“Be careful what you wish for,” we are admonished. Seldom do we listen. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if we do.
Perfection is what we strive for in darts. In life.
None of us, even the best of us, ever quite get there.
But it makes no difference.
Eventually we all become the double bull.
Eventually we all turn fifty.
And then, we take a shower, grab another handful, and head back into the pub of life.
From the Field,
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