I can’t always tell the whole story the way I want, even here. To some extent, this fact alters the story irrevocably. Tell, don’t tell – it can be hard to know which path will make the story evaporate into clear morning air, and which will encase it in a nice new pair of cement shoes. Suffice it to say, when someone offers twice to fill me in on my short-comings, with brutal honesty and nothing but genuine concern for me, it’s a sign things have deteriorated in the relationship.
Anyway, Damon Runyun has already told the story, and I will just add this – my ears remain un-cidered.
“Son,” the old guy says, “no matter how far you travel, or how smart you get, always remember this: Some day, somewhere,” he says, “a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son,” the old guy says, “do not bet him, for as sure as you do you are going to get an ear full of cider.” Damon Runyun, The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, 1933