Perfect DayShane Kowalski
Bowling is not a warlike game. Nothing strikes back. You get ten tries to do it again. The pins do not seek retribution. I’m in the Zone today—feel it in my Hands, my Heart. The world can’t enter. Today is another day. I drink my Rolling Rock on a vinyl divan. I watch the cracked, red explosions of the lights above each lane. The dulled, beaten pins below waiting to be knocked again. Who is anyone to feel safe?
Jimmy Barlow got laid off last Tuesday. He still comes to Leagues. In his chewed-on shoes. He says Jesus did this. It’s 7 o’clock on a Tuesday night here and the blue collars are chatting up theories, possible and impossible conspiracies. I know the Truth. This wasn’t an accident. We’re all meant for one Impossible Day. Even Winners don’t get to sleep. I’m in the Zone. It’s preordained. The world can’t be saved every day.
The State must be abolished. I take the ball in my hands, pretend it’s the skull of virtue I’m tossing at each Industry that continues our Suffering. What’s the trick? Conviction. In. Beliefs. How could I not be winning now? Who couldn’t love this son-of-a-bitch throwing meteors at the ten moons of Krypton? Know thyself.
At the bar they have two TVs. One is playing coverage of today’s events. Infinite planes disappearing into infinite towers. The other is playing a rerun of Married With Children. In one way or another, aren’t we all married with children? Don’t we all have to protect what’s ours? Isn’t everything that happens every day to us ours?
Except this Strike. I can’t share it with anybody. It’s mine. Harry says I’m on a roll. I know he’s jealous. He drinks his beer and will go home to a three-legged dog and a wife who thinks Uncle Sam is Jesus. I can’t teach him the Infinite Spin Technique. I can’t undo his Trauma. What would I do if I wasn’t here?
Probably dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex. Probably putting a brick through a cop’s windshield. I could be siphoning back the money from the great terrorist banks that have perpetuated infinite falling towers since the dawn of mollusks. But I have a bowling ball in my hands and I’m in the Zone. Who will remember this?
One Strike leads to another Strike. And another. And so on. Until the Universe is made. I read it in a book. We have no business being here otherwise. I can feel the secrets of the world inside me. The smell of nachos, hot dogs, stale floor in the air. Terrorism is just another form of Capitalism. We go home with ravaged bodies, belly aches, heads throbbing, and climb back into the darkness to live again.
I have a wife at home I love. Who loves me. When I’m finished here, I’ll go home and lie next to her, and while she sleeps, I’ll whisper into her ear The things I know for certain in this world are LBJ killed Kennedy and I love you. I bowl another Strike for posterity. Harry, sweaty drunk, laughs and says I’m perfect like he doesn’t want to believe what his eyes are seeing. Of course. It happens all the time. Someone somewhere screams.
I’m in the Zone. I grew up wet, alone, confused in a cave—taught myself Greek, String Theory, Radical Compassion, Sonatas in A-minor, Communism—I can whistle perfectly “Tutti Frutti”—I can bowl a Perfect Game. I know my name and that’s all that matters. What stops me from stopping the ills of the world, you ask? I have to go to work. The world turns on without me. Somebody dies. Another person dies. Infinite buildings fall. Somebody stop me from being Perfect! Reverse the course of History! But there is nobody who will come to slap the bowling ball from my hands. Time Travel doesn’t exist. Except for Winners. I’m not a Winner though…
I’m just another guy who’s having another day. I’m alive. We’re always in the dust of the dustup, always in the fog of the forests, always in the leap of the frog—a philosopher writing in Chinese said that. I make sense of my continual survival by standing alone on a mountain, on just another day, like any other day. Could’ve been tomorrow for all I know. Strike! The world can crumble around you and your friends and family might leave you and you might find an orphan beaten to death in the middle of Grand Central Station, but today is still just another day. Never forget… You do something once in your life and they throw roses at your feet. That’s all it takes. One time. It’s perfect.