And the 2004 Oscar Pool goes to…

Me! Beth Terry! I won it! I guessed more correct Oscar winners than anyone else at Ruby’s party last night! The $35 goes to me! I am a superior person! And yet…

You know the sinking feeling, the letdown, after working really hard to win something and then actually winning it? There’s elation when you find out you’ve won. Then, a few hours later, maybe even a few days later, after people have stopped talking about it, after you have told everyone you know, the darkness creeps in and knocks you on your ass. That’s Reality with a capital “R” baby. Disillusionment. Emptiness. The VOID.

Because a part of you knows that it doesn’t matter who has won. It could have just as easily been one of the other competitors. And then they would be having the moment of glory, and you’d be the one disappointed. And so? Does the Universe care? Nope.

As I watched the Oscars, I thought about the movie people in their glamorous gowns having their moments in the spotlight. What does it actually mean to be named “Best Actor” when your fellow actors have all worked just as hard and done the best that they could do? At that high level of achievement, how can you really say that one is better than the other anyway? And then, halfway through the show, they play the tape of all the movie people who have died during the year, and you realize that in such a short time, very few people are going to know your name, much less have been alive to remember you directly.

That’s why I don’t enjoy sports movies. I was trying to explain this to Michael Saturday night after forcing myself to sit through Seabiscuit. The formula is familiar. Athletes work really hard to overcome some handicap and initial disappointment to win the big game — usually, as was the case with Seabiscuit, by a nose (or a basket or a touchdown or a homerun or a lucky punch…) Cheers all around! And then what? Seabiscuit could have just as easily lost the race… and then there would be no book or movie or Academy Award nominations. Where’s the story about the horse that lost — by a nose. Like I said, at that level of skill, maybe on a different day another horse would have won.

And it’s all about living for the future, isn’t it? The big goal. A lot of us know this. It isn’t breaking news. But we do it just the same. Perhaps this is why I stayed in bed all day today, didn’t leave the house, and missed meditation.

That’s life. You gotta pay to play.

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