Sitting down to a drunken game of Poker, I see George Bush shifting and shuffling through his cards. He doesn’t have much of a Poker face and looks more constipated than concerned. Slouched precariously close to Bush is Saddam Hussein (or perhaps he has hired a card shark to play this hand as he stockpiles food in one of his bunkers). Bin Laden has made a rare and equally uninteresting appearance, looking feebly at his cards, mumbling something to “Allah” and offering money to anyone he can find to blow us all up so that he can win and take all the chips. Kim Jong-Il marches in late and angry and tries to short-change the ante-boy oh boy does he have a poker face.
Then I see you; frightened, but trying to keep that political poker face, groomed and (nearly) perfected through several years of “higher” education. The game is five-card draw, deuces wild; Bin shuffled the deck, Kim and Saddam argued briefly about who would cut and George dealt them out in the interest of time. Now all you and I can do is wait for them to play their hands.
George is shaking his foot again-doesn’t exactly instill great hope in me, however, he comes from a long line of card sharks so maybe he’ll surprise us. He discards a four and takes a card from the pile of uncertainty. Saddam looks at his hand, inhaling slowly, his face drawn submissively to the ages come and gone since our last game; a game he ungraciously lost.
He hesitates and I quickly glance again around the room. I’m sure Bin’s got an ace or two up his sleeve and though Kim is quiet for the moment, I wouldn’t underestimate him either.
And then there’s you and I, and we don’t really know how to play this game because this time the stakes are different and the chips leave stains of blood on the table-the blood of real men who are losing this game regardless of which one of us goes home with the loot. We can bicker with each other, you to the left, me to the right or you’re right and I’m wrong, but when will we realize the frivolity in arguing our own personal ideas and opinions?
Blood spattered sand embraces the wind in the Middle East as we sit here with our petty-antes and count our cards thinking we’re actually playing this game. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter who you or I think it going to win or how, why, or when because what will happen will happen, ultimately, with someone else playing our hand. Then again, who told us this was poker in the first place? It’s nearly too late by the time we realize we’re playing Russian roulette.
Whitney W. Friedrich can be contacted at Witz615@aol.com.