Jack wrote these two posts in December, 2005:
Minor mystery here this morning. Got me wondering and the cats spooked to high heaven.
I went out for my wake-up smoke and discovered a LOT of blood on the front porch. A lot. No evidence of where it came from, why it’s there…
No corpse lying around that I’m able to find in the dark sporting a half-inch hole in the forehead and two in the chest, so I’m reasonably certain I didn’t get up during the night, shoot a prowler, and casually go back to bed to deal with this after daybreak.
I slept fairly soundly and didn’t hear anything during the nightl. The security camera didn’t pick up any noise. But somewhere out there in the world there’s a warm-blooded creature with a lot less of it circulating around inside him than he had yesterday.
Strange way to start a day.
I decided I needed a break from the numbers and all the mud and blood, so I headed off and spent the last nine hours or so playing blackjack. A modestly spiritual experience, as blackjack tends to be on a good day.
Anyway, it was good, the cards were right except for a couple of dealers who kept bringing me back down to even, after which I had to begin the long struggle upward again.
As I got my old levi jacket around my shoulders and prepared to come home and face the angry cats and whatever comes next after blood, pit boss came over and gave me a high-roller card for a meal. I took it down to the snack bar and got two meals, instead, one to go. Then sat around talking to a guy about my age for an hour, us telling one another how sorry young people are today compared to how unsorry we were when we were that age.
Talked a lot about how the country’s gone to hell in a handbasket, how young people don’t know nuthun, don’t work, how the whole shebang is doing the long swim down the commode because smart, hard-working, literate, mostly wise men like ourselves ain’t going to be around to pull things out, etc.
First time I ever came across talk of that sort I was a lot younger listening to old guys saying much the same things around the time Sputnik I went up. Then a little later I read Pliny the Elder stealing the ideas around 100 AD.