Hang out for a quiet night at the Golden West.
I know it was a quiet night because the cops only showed up three times.
I also got to shoot some pool with The Devil, which was nice because we've both been so busy lately.
As anyone knows, you can’t shoot pool with The Devil without him insisting on a sizeable wager. It’s a thing with him, but you put up with it because he has so many positive qualities, too.
The Devil says to me, “If I win, I want a scorching hot kiss from those frosty lips every day for eternity.”
Then he says, “If you win, I’ll give you …” (dramatic pause) “... A fiddle made of gold.”
Then I say, “You’re constantly trying to pawn off those golden fiddles. What in the world am I going to do with a damned golden fiddle?”
And he says, “Are you kidding? Have you seen the price of gold lately? Plus, with a fiddle made of gold, think of all of the souls of men you could torture with your haunted fiddling. WhhooooOOOOoooooOOOOOOooo!!!”
“Okay, fine. What do you want if you win then?”
And I say, “I want the contracts to all of the lost souls of gunslingers, Navy Seals, and rock guitar gods. OH. And some prime Coastal California real estate. That’ll never devalue.”
And he says, “Prime Coastal California real estate? Who do you think I am, Jesus?”
I thought about trying to negotiate for Raiders season tickets, but look at me - I don’t think I’d need The Devil’s help for that.
Nonetheless, I was struck by The Devil’s question.
“Who do you think I am?”
It’s a good question for Halloween.
The boundaries between who we actually are and who we think we are and who we pretend we are get blurred. Things appear out of context.
I can’t say it any better than Kurt Vonnegut: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
I would never tell anybody that I know who I am.
That would be a damnable lie.
Who I am changes every second I exist. I am not the same person I was three months ago or three years ago or three decades ago.
These changes in the “am” are incremental and gradual and occur over time. I barely notice them as I move forward, yet when I look back, there they are.
The fact is, the am that I am right now is different than the am that I was a minute ago. So if by the time I ask the question, “Who am I?” who I am has already changed, how can I claim that I know who I am? How can I even answer the question?
Unless the answer is, “I don’t know.”
Or maybe, “It varies.”
So even though when The Devil asks you a question you'd be wise to answer it, the truth is, I don’t worry about The Devil’s question much.
Because when it comes right down to it…