I have an old friend who chides me for playing solitaire on my computer and various other hand held devices. If he weren’t such a good and valued friend I’d tell him to stuff it. But I don’t want to alienate him because he is a valued computer consultant whose little finger knows more about any problem I might have than my entire brain does. And anyway, I love the guy, in spite of himself. So I put up with his mightier than thou attitude and go along playing my “Australian Patience” brand of solitaire – nearly exclusively – and while doing so grind thoughts and ideas in the mill of my mind. I also fall to sleep now and then while searching for a card to move – grinding or not.

Computers these days are capable of so much that is truly amazing that to play a game of solitaire seems like woefully underutilizing such a machine. Like driving a Ferrari to the super market when the open highway is only a block away.

But it’s so seductive, and whose business is it anyway? I won’t tell you how many games I have played, but at a couple of bucks a game I would be made whole. It’s fun. It serves as a disconnect for my mind. I won’t be so foolish as to suggest it is a kind of meditation, but it is a kind of meditation.

In that last great cyber reckoning day, by and by, it will be found that I spent only a fraction of my computing life playing solitaire. If those years using a “PC” in the Microsoft sense of that term, is included in these calculations, most of my time was spent re-booting, re-installing and scratching my head while the damned thing wrestled with the idea of working again.

So here is this little machine sitting in my lap and connecting me to the virtual world in an instant. I mean, I am remembering lying in bed on a Saturday night listening to the Grand Old Opry on WSM in Nashville on my crystal set that I made in the kitchen. The surplus Army Air Force headphones I was using made my ears itch after a while but I heard it all and thought it was pure magic. If I played solitaire, I had to deal the cards by hand. There wasn’t a single cognitive cell in my brain to resonate with the reality of this little lap top, had such a reality been revealed to me at the time. Not much was revealed to me at the time. I could have used a word or two about sex, but that’s a whole other story.

I see it is now approaching midnight. I better shut this thing down soon and get a chapter or two read before the eyes close up on me. Well, maybe one or two rounds of Australian Patience first. There’s always room for a game of solitaire. You see, that’s the thing.

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