An Unlikely Glimpse

Last week my father-in-law told me, “Mark my words: The Artist is going to win at the Oscars and win big.” “Isn’t that a silent film?” I asked. My father-in-law is a lover of small, quirky films. It would be like him to champion such a cause.

“A French silent film.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”

Twelve years ago I found my wife sick in bed watching a new TV series. “Is this that Survivor show?”

She admitted it was. I watched with her for a few minutes before I had seen enough. “Well, this is doomed to fail.”

I was in a literary agent’s office in January of 2009. He produced a small, book-sized device from his jacket pocket. “Amazon just sent me this,” he explained.

“What’s it called again? Never mind, let me have a look.”

I scrolled through Of Mice and Men. “Well, that’s pretty nice, but no way people use this instead of a book. It’s just not the same.”

It’s fun to be right, but I’m happy to be wrong about all my predictions. The last thing I want to know is the future. What a terrible curse that would be: the end of discovery. As it is, the future always arrives like the perfect ending to a story: surprising but inevitable. Why, the clues were all there, but somehow I didn’t see it coming. Maybe next time.

Though probably not. My crystal ball is cracked, reflecting back only what I believe in that moment. I stare into it all the same from time to time, thinking I might catch a glimpse, but seeing only a distortion of myself. Not so pretty viewed this way – a splintered thing, frozen in time. Better the look I catch in the darkened window as I pass, a shadow on the move, a sentence in search of its next word.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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