The hand we are dealt is the phrase that ran through the mind of Oswald Jagger as he was seeking to recover from a messy divorce and reflecting on his apparent inability to alter a future that seemed doomed to the forces of inexorable gravity. He knew that bread crumbs could be lifted with ease suspended from his finger. But he felt that people like himself would surely fall, in similar circumstances.
He had spent the third night in a row in the reclined front seat of his used Mercedes 240D in front of a truck stop heading West on 1-40. These sleeps were among his few real pleasures. They were deep and without anxiety. He felt that by making himself visible in the most trafficked area of a truck stop, right there by the lighted entrance, he was not likely to be disturbed. For whatever reason, this had proved accurate.
Over morning coffee, Oswald wrote in his open spiral notebook these words.
"The hand we are dealt is a most destructive concept. I shall die avoiding entrapment by the notion that every scintilla of my existence goes back to some set of cards that determined my fate with exactitude and even vengeful intent the day I was born."
He looked down at the words "vengeful intent" and saw he was allowing himself a measure of anger about the hand whose power he was denying. So he added:
"Of course, I deny categorically that, even if true, the callous attitude of my parents was more than a minor influence."
Oswald was suddenly jolted by a poke to his rear shoulder by a man who stood so tall that Oswald had to crane, on turning, merely to see the stubble on this man's jowly chin.
"What," he said.
"That your Mercedes?" a voice higher than seemed to fit the huge frame of the man demanded.
"Yes," Oswald replied.
The man sat down next to Oswald and turned to him. "How much do those cost?" he asked.
"I buy them second hand . They cost a lot less than a new car. And I can usually get good money when I sell them."
"Figures," the man said. "I'm Bill. I drive trucks."