Yesterday Rev. Mom and I went to the Colombian store in Arlington to get a few New Year's supplies– phone cards to call a few relatives (I know– how very third world of me); empanadas to send off 2008 in style (or at least good for a midafternoon snack); a Spanish deck of cards to learn how to play tute; and a few other miscellanea.
As we waited for the empanadas, my mother talked to the shop owners and everyone unilaterally agreed that leap years are supposed to be years of bad luck.
I think that looking around friends' blogs in the interwebs and looking at the economy and everything, one could not help but agree: 2008, a leap year, was a year of hardship and penance.
I was born during a leap year –1976– and I don't consider my life any worse for the wear. I'm sure it was a challenging year, but along with the deep downs come soaring highs. After all, I personally have nothing but gratitude for that year, even if it was a chaotic and hard year for many. It was random chance I was born then, as much as I could have been born any other day in any other year. The catch, of course, is that had I been born in any other day of any other year I wouldn't be the person I am.
So it is with this just-gone year, which honestly was very good and kind to me even as it beat up many of those in my acquaintance near and far. Maybe it's not so much the year or the number or the superstition as much as a matter of things happening on any day of the year.
Only that a year can only logically have one beginning of the year and so today is that day in which we pin our hopes and alternately sit in dread of the outcome.
In Spanish we have a saying about something having "more rules than a game of tute."
I have to tell you: at first learning how to play this game was rather confusing– it does seem to have a lot of little rules and oddities that don't want to stick in your brain. However, after playing one trick you start realizing that tute, just like any other game or activity –life platitudinally included– is mostly a series of choices generated by random chance that is beyond our control. There are tiny glimmers of moments where you can elucidate the choices presented before you and feel as if you have some semblance of control.
But mostly, life is random beyond your wildest imaginings, and it's up to you to try to ride those waves of chaos as best as you can.
May your next 364 days and change be like a good game of tute to you and all those you know.
About the title: a trump card is a card that, for the duration of a trick, cannot be beaten. Donald Trump, thence, has an awesome and randomly fitting name.
I don't think I need to explain the bit about the ace.