Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
- TITLE: Proper Perspective
By Connie Dixon
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Jake had been a sports writer for the New York Post for over seventeen years, but financial cutbacks forced the newspaper to trade him in for a younger, less expensive rival. He was devastated. Writing about sports was his life; he bled Yankee blue. He idolized the Mets, Giants, and the Nicks. He dreamed about golf, tennis and NASCAR - anything that brought at least two contenders into competition.
Since being canned by the Post, this disheartened writer was freelancing about anything that would pay the bills. He had just finished a travel guide for seniors over 70 touring by bus to all of the natural gardens on the east coast. Jake didn’t know an iris from peat moss and wasn’t in the mood for enlightenment. In fact, everything about it depressed him. That’s why he took up drinking beer. He never drank when he wrote about sports - he didn’t have to. He found himself totally intoxicated by the thrill of the game. Since his termination, he started experimenting with every beer on the market to see which one might inspire him to write such things as: web content, computer manuals, hospital newsletters or articles about colon disease.
While sipping beer and witnessing his Yankees lose to the Mariners, he noticed little things around the apartment that he’d never seen before. A stained ceiling overhead, yellowed wallpaper curling in the corners, spotted carpets and cracked plaster. He had been too busy at the Post to realize he was living in such a dump.
Jake missed his friends. Almost everyone he associated with was connected to the Post in some way or another. Most had families or private lives that did not include a single, thirty-seven year old sports nut.
By Sunday, he started thinking about a girl he’d met in advertising. Jenny was a divorcée with no kids and fun to be with. Barely surviving a recent marriage disaster, Jenny was not looking for any long-term commitment, but she had accompanied Jake to a couple of Nick’s games and they seemed to really click.
Jake fed himself all kinds of negative self-talk: I’m such a loser, I don’t have any friends. Why would anyone want to hang out with me? I hate writing about traveling and flowers and medical information. Life really sucks.
Jenny was sweet, vibrant, pretty – with a great sense of humor. Jake had always been too busy and too preoccupied to have a steady girlfriend, but if he could choose one, Jenny would be at the top of the list.
I wonder what Jenny’s been doing…if she’s dating anyone. Would she go out with me…maybe dinner at Houlihan's on 5th Ave? There’s a Net’s Game at the Izod Center tomorrow night! Maybe she’d rather go to a Broadway show like Wicked or the Lion King. Just CALL her…
“Hey, this is Jake. What’s up?”
“Hi stranger, it’s been a long time. I’ve been wondering what’s happened to you!”
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about you, too!”
“Really…what have you been thinking?”
“Well, I was wondering if you might want to go have dinner, maybe a show afterward.”
“Really, like a real date? No game?”
“No game, I promise.”
“I’d love to, Jake.”
“Great, I’ll pick you up tomorrow around 6:30.”
“See you then!”
Jake poured his almost-full beer down the sink, straightened up the mess in living room and lingered in a long, hot shower. His life had always been characterized by the thrill of victory and he was not about to surrender to the agony of defeat.
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