Greeted Friday morning by the realization that it had been a year since the passing of Michael Jackson, I was taken aback. A whole year? It felt like four months, maybe. Rarely had time ever felt so fast. And lately it always feels fast. But this was light speed.
I realized I am basically in exactly the same place in life that I was a year ago. A year older, yes. Generally happier now that Bama has won the national championship. But other than that, nothing has changed.
I began to ponder my life -- perhaps life is too strong a word there -- existence. What was I doing? Where was I going? What were my goals? Would I leave my mark upon this world? Or was my life like a Windows screen saver -- briefly entertaining, but at the slightest movement of the mouse of death, gone without a trace?
As I went to take out the trash that evening, I passed a lone fisherman, casting and reeling in his line in the middle of the parking lot. Now there's a guy who knows what he's doing with his life, I thought. Clearly, this individual had chosen the Bill Dance path to fame and fortune.
I began to think of my heroes -- Jason Morgan, Michael Scott, Sam from Cheers. And... that really didn't help a whole lot. So I thought of the most successful person I know, Orville Redenbacher. Still nothing.
It was at that moment that I recalled a little something from my youth known as Guinness. As in, the book of world records. Of course! The easiest way for a man (woman, or other) to leave their mark upon the Earth is to set a record! Thank goodness I thought of it, as my other best idea was to father twenty children to get my own reality show.
The only question now was which record to set. I delved further into my screen saver analogy... screen saver, Windows, Microsoft, Bill Gates. At the same time, the mortal words of Jim Halpert appeared in my head: "Those mines aren't gonna sweep themselves." Ah, yes! Windows games.
But which one? Well, that was easy: FreeCell. It's more fun than Solitaire, less confusing than Hearts, and I was never that great at Minesweeper anyway.
Of course, one doesn't undertake such an undertaking without first doing the proper research. While searching for what the actual record for consecutive games of FreeCell won was, I came upon an online FreeCell community, which I promptly joined. There, I will be able to play online from any computer and as my consecutive games streak grows (ideally), I'll be able to see where it ranks amongst the greatest streaks of all-time. Best of all, this will allow my public -- that's you -- to follow along with my progress if you wish.
The site also keeps up with your total hours playing FreeCell. Now that, I don't care for. That'd be like my TV flashing, "Bone, you have now spent 31,000 hours of your life watching ESPN. That is the equivalent of 3.5 years." There are some things I choose not to know.
Here's another interesting tidbit that I discovered: Did you know there is one deal of FreeCell that is impossible to win? Yes. Game #11982 in the Windows version is the unwinnable game. You'll learn as you become more familiar with the FreeCell cult, er, community, that those numbers are sacred and we all have proper reverence for game #11982.
So then, it is entirely possible that after weeks and months and hundreds of hours, I could be on the cusp of breaking the consecutive games record and be dealt the unwinnable game.
Still, I refuse to let that thought deter me. Lack of patience, time, skill, perseverance, those might all deter me. But the possibility of facing the unwinnable game shall not. For I am not doing this just for myself, but for the children I've yet to bear. I want one day for them to be able to log onto freecell.net and say to their friends, "That Bone in the number one position, who spent several thousand hours on this website, and now has severe carpal tunnel syndrome, that's our dad."
Besides, great accomplishments are rarely easy. Do you think the Wright Brothers never had any setbacks, doubts, or arguments? Sure they did. Orville would say, "Why do I always have to be the one risking life and limb and doing the test flights?" And Wilbur would respond, "Because somebody's gotta be on the ground working the stopwatch." (Source: Bone's Revisionist History Of Aviation, Vol. 2. Also, Propellers To Popcorn: Bone's Book Of Famous Orville's.)
And so, for my next trick, I will now attempt to set the world record for the most consecutive games of FreeCell won.
If you're interested, the current record is 19,793. My high so far is 10.
What? I only started yesterday.
"Countin' flowers on the wall, that don't bother me at all. Playin' solitaire 'til dawn with a deck of fifty-one..."