It was the spring of my senior year, at the very dawn of my - write it! - writing fiction career in the back of Mr. Hamm’s last period Existenialism class when in black and in English our brilliant, brown-eyed, contemporary Natalia Emanuel lent to me the following advice:
Start with the Rules, she said. Rather good, I think, for a short story and for a young life. To any and all wondering where in mine I am headed, I love you, and I am going on a road trip. Here are my rules of the road:
1.) No more than three buy-ins or $600 will be laid on any collection of table in a given day.
2.) If and when cash exceeds one thousand dollars, half will be deposited into my brokerage account.
3.) Away from the poker table, I will adopt a life of strict and self-competitive frugality. Drinking will be by far the biggest expense I delete. I will be creative in my accommodations, ingenious in others’. Food will be bought healthy and in tremendous bulk, like I was feeding kids out of a trough in the trunk of my minivan.
I will also not buy weed on the road. I will partake in these vices only when stopping by with friends in various states who are inclined.
Transportation will be provided by my mom. She has left me her Camry, as she heads on to Italy, India and I suppose elsewhere.
4.) I will not conflate my stack with the quality of my work. I will keep concern for each and a preference for the latter.
5.) Any day (24 hours) in which I lose more than one hundred dollars will be followed by a day (24 hours) of not losing more than one hundred dollars, nor $50, nor any more than the total dollar amount I spend on food that day, if I need to buy food that day. Gas will not be an expense on those days because I will not drive.