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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Waves. By John von Daler

          A mirror is the best, he thought. A mirror or yourself on tv. Then you know you're alive.

          He combed his hair back from his forehead and then patted his cheeks with a soothing scented balsam.
          He checked himself for faults in the mirror, white hairs, unbecoming lines, discolorations. Everything seemed to be working well. He looked over his muscles and by turning up his cuffs a few times made sure his tattoos were visible.
          He still looked like the sportsman he had been. But he had been thinking lately that perhaps he should go back to his training program of some ten years ago. He had not played for more than a decade.
          He made sure that the little microphone in his pocket was completely hidden. Then he turned to the cameraman and winked.
          "Let's get started with our day!" The cameraman waved without answering and they left the hotel room like a little float from an Easter pageant. 
          That evening the little entourage had settled down on a bench by the beach at the summer resort. The day had been complicated. The town had been empty, so they had filled their film with walks down lonely roads, luncheon in an empty restaurant, and quite a few telephone calls to the sportsman's teenage daughter who had decided not to visit her father. Off the record, he had asked her if she didn't think it would be fun to be on television. She had answered that she had homework and an exam to study for.
          So now he and the cameraman were sitting on this bench watching the saltwater lap up onto the beach. The sky was heavy with rain. The beach was empty. There was really not much that the millions of potential seers could watch unless they thought waves were fun.
          The sportsman could not stand thinking that his daughter had stood him up on television. At the same time he was thinking that the whole thing was good for publicity, that publicity was good for his pocketbook, that his pocketbook was good for living the good life, and that they were 
showing the good life to those millions of viewers: in a way his good life paid for his good life. 
          Then for some reason he wanted to cry, just a tear or two for a second, and he asked the cameraman to switch off the camera for a minute - and he did. But the cameraman secretly turned on the little, hidden camera in his lapel. After all, it was the real life of real emotions they were supposed to show. So he got the real tears by the real bench by the real sea.
          Later on, mostly because of the tears he had cried into the hidden camera, the sportsman got invited to do another series about revitalizing his career, with training sessions, the pain of the unaccustomed exercise, the lost games, the humiliation of the catcalls, and the adoration of the women who had seen him in real life on television. 

          That film paid for a vacation that he also filmed. In it, he met the next love of his life and lost her to an actor who was drunk. And it really happened. No fiction here. Just wave after wave after wave lapping quietly up on the beach of his life.

Let my book,
wash up on your beach.
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