There is this cad inside of me, this scurrilous, treacherous, predatory panther of a cad, that wants to go out and about, to survey the land, traverse it, score it, in search of someone young, thoughtless, and careless because that’s who and what you date when you are young (either physically, mentally, or emotionally), thoughtless, and careless yourself.
This cad, this part of me I’d rather not acknowledge, thinks that it is fine time to go out and play.
And then there is the rest of me, the remainder that I hope is now the majority (but no one lies to you better than you, yourself) – for when I was younger, it was more cad than cadet, more cub than lion, that thought it knew something.
Yes, it’s as simple as that: the rest of me, the majority of me that makes me me, knows better.
Youth is for the young and we all need the cuts and the bruises to learn from the mistakes that we make as we tumble, headlong, through the brush and through the jungles of growing up. You don’t do better because you don’t know better, it’s not quite sunk through yet, and if by wish or by miracle you make it many years without breaks and scars, rest assured, it will get you anyway.
But I am not young anymore. I am not old either but to pretend to inexperience is a deception that feels unforgivable. I know better. I know that actions have consequences (the drinking will hurt the next day, the dirty dancing a provocation and a mockery, reputation irrecoverable once besmirched, those bedhead notches can never be sanded down…); I know that the thoughtlessness and carelessness are hurts and cruelties when done deliberately–
I know better. I know better.
I do not play for play. I’m too old for that. Here’s the secret: all the time we’re all playing for keeps, even if we don’t know we are.
Well I do: I’m playing for keeps.