It’s been too long since I’ve written for Bobcat Territory. This must end.

I haven’t taken a leave of absence for any particular reason, nor have I returned from my unprecedented-in-length hiatus with an epic tale. I have no sweeping saga with which to regale you (we’ll leave that for Bullets’ next Blogcat). Instead, I want to relate a quirky little story that, to me, illustrates the greatness of Life.

Bullets and I live in an apartment in Eastern Washington D.C., and we wade through the doldrums of lazy nights by occupying ourselves with various activities, for which we have so much room. These activities can range from Bottle Splits to board games, but our latest time-killer has been playing Asshole, my favorite card game, in which players attempt to get rid of their cards by playing tricks.

As I always say, though, for those uninitiated to the game, the rules beyond that are fairly simple: Google it.

We were playing one night last week when I noticed something strange. For the past 395 hands I’d dealt, the last card always went specifically into one of the three hands I’d carded out; this time, however, the final card ended in a different pile. The first time this happened, I brushed it off as a counting error, but when the same thing occurred while dealing the next hand, I paused in confusion. Noticing my hesitancy, Bullets asked, “Wait, are we missing a card?? The same thing was happening to me.”

With a flop like that, who even needs the river?

At this point, we knew it was no coincidence, and both agreed that we had lost a card. But we were baffled. How the hell could we have lost a card? Didn’t we play last night without any problems? We didn’t move from the couch while playing. Where on Earth could that card have gone?

What if we were missing more than one card? Had we noticed any cards missing during our last few hands?

We fruitlessly searched the floor around us. We checked behind, in front of, and within the toy chest that doubles as our coffee and dinner table (classy, I know). Nothing. We rummaged in and under the cushions of our sofa; in desperation, we even pulled the couch out from the wall, but nothing was to be found there either. Our efforts yielded squat.

Dismayed, we agreed to deal the cards face-up, grouping them together by face value so we could figure out which card(s) were missing. 50% of the way through the deck, we realized what had happened, and burst out laughing.

We hadn’t lost a card. Instead, impossibly, we had gained one. We now had five 5’s.

Don’t ask me how this happened. Apparently, we have matching decks, providing us a source for the other 5, but that still doesn’t explain how it got from the plastic bag in the drawer in our kitchen island into the deck that we’d been using the past few weeks. Perhaps Woody and Buzz were involved in some tomfoolery. That’s really my only guess.

Like I said at the onset, this is no legend, and yet, I was instantly struck by the genius of it all. Bullets and I had searched frantically for minutes on end, simply because we were operating under an assumption (that we’d lost a card) that we didn’t recognize we’d made. Our minds recognized that our card count was off, and yet, for whatever reason, we jumped straight passed evaluating all the possibilities into searching for a non-existent missing card. Then, after it all, we were presented a reality we hadn’t considered as a possibility.

Life had shown us four options for a  multiple-choice question. The answer, it turned out, was E: None of the Above.

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