Dartboard

Dartboard: (n) the target used in the game of darts.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

After I shared at a coffeehouse and sang my songs, some of the nice folks who attended invited me out to a restaurant called “Lums.”

Now, if you don’t know anything about “Lums,” I’m not going to try to articulate a great deal. Just think about delicious sandwiches and soups, with the addition of local delicacies like bratwurst and a very tiny deep-fried fish called smelt. (That is the extent of my tour journey through the essence of “Lums.”)

But what I remember is that this particular gathering of souls loved to play darts. The restaurant had a small bar with a dart board hanging on the wall.

I had never played darts in my life.

I had never regretted not playing darts.

But I wanted to be hospitable—especially since they were treating me to a “Super Weiner Dog.”

So they handed me a dart and said, “Go ahead. Take a shot.”

I was so indifferent to the prospect and so certain I would fail horribly that I just took it in my hand and threw it quickly.

It stuck right in the center.

I was shocked.

The friends who brought me to the restaurant thought I was some sort of dartboard hustler—so they pushed, encouraged and dared me to finish the game—against their best dartboard champion.

It was horrible.

You see, the reason I did well with that first dart—why I was so lucky—is that I didn’t think about it at all.

I just tossed it off.

For you see, when you play darts, standing there with one in your hand, if you start aiming for the center, the shakiness caused by your nerves and the lack of knowing how hard or soft to throw it, makes the dart go nowhere you envisioned.

Honest to God—after that first throw that landed in the center, I not only didn’t score points, but I never hit the board again.

After about ten attempts, my friends realized that I was hanging in mid-air of humiliation, so they cut off the punishment and we went back to enjoy our dinner.

As we sat down, one of the young girls who was there for the feasting said, “Here’s the problem. Darts don’t involve your brain. If you think about it, you’ll screw up. You just have to toss it and hope for the best.”

I overthought her statement.

Maybe it was the remnant of the failure still taunting my soul, but I will tell you—she’s right.

After you’ve tried something, practiced it, studied it and learned it…

Just go ahead and toss the goddamn dart.

Anything

dictionary with letter A

Anything: (pron) used to refer to a thing, no matter what

If you’ve ever parented teenagers, this response is probably one of your pet peeves.

If you ask them a question of any sort, they will either ignore you or reply, “I guess anything’s OK.”

I grew weary of this.

So one night when I asked my teenage sons what they wanted to have for dinner, and they replied, “anything,” I complied.

I went out to a neighbor’s trash can and pulled out the cast-aside leftovers of their previous lunch–some half-eaten sandwiches already drawing the interest of a couple of ants, the skeleton of a fish, and believe it or not, some broken pieces of pumpkin shell.

I found two bottles of partially consumed Coca-Cola, put it all on a platter, set plates, silverware and called them to dinner.

At first they were in such a state of oblivion that they didn’t recognize the placement set before them as being basically inedible, but perched in their chairs and reached for their cell phones.

So adding to the comedy of the moment, I asked one of them to offer grace. It was at this point that the child felt the need to look at the food, in order to determine the length and intensity of the prayer. Amazingly, he did not gaze at me in horror, but rather, looked at the spread before him, perplexed, shook his heads, and began to pray:

“Thanks for the food and the hands that prepared it, and for this day. In Jesus name, amen.”

Finishing the prayer, they both stared at the food–or shall I say, the “remains of the day”–and then looked at me quizzically, asking, “What is it?”

I smiled, grabbed my fork and spoon and touted, “It’s anything. Dig in.”

 

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