Shell Game


I was playing the shell game. This’ll work, I said. This’ll give me the edge. This’ll give me the advantage I need… Chasing the advantage is what it’s all about. I knew that. I knew that only too well. I knew the importance of always having the advantage. That’s what it all comes down to. That’s the name of the game. Got to get that advantage – there’s no leeway there. There’s no forgiveness if you fail. You’re gone. You’ve had it. You’re finished. No forgiveness. No second chances…


That’s why I’m playing the shell game – because I need that advantage. That’s the sort of universe we live in you see – a very unforgiving one. You need to have some kind of a tactic, some kind of a strategy. And it’s got to be a good one. The shell game is a very powerful strategy, as I have come to understand. It’s not the game where you put stuff under paper cups – that’s not the type of shell game I’m talking about. This is a different game entirely. I just call it the shell game, for reasons that will become clear to you. It’s my game – I can call it what I want! The shell game (my shell game) is a very powerful strategy because it offers a very significant advantage – the advantage in question being that reality never gets a chance to catch up with you. Reality is a tricky customer at the best of times and you need a strategy to keep one jump ahead of it. Reality’s a dangerous customer too; very dangerous, if it catches you off your guard…


I can’t even begin to tell you how dangerous reality is – you can’t afford to give it any chances at all. You can’t afford to take your eye off the ball. No sir you can’t. Not where reality is concerned! I’m being silly, I know. Facetious, kind of. But you know what I mean. I know you know what I mean. You might pretend that you don’t know (and God knows I understand all about pretending) but we both know that I know. Am I right? Are we going to admit to that? Secretly admit perhaps, but that’s OK. I understand all about secrecy believe you me…


So like I say I was playing the shell game, only it wasn’t the sort of game people usually think of when they use this term – as I have also said. I have my own private meaning attached to it – a meaning that only I know about. I’m all about private meanings, private languages. That keeps me one step ahead in the game, you see. That gives me the advantage. Playing the shell game is all about making sure that you have the advantage and the way to do this is always to pretend to be something other than what you are, always to pretend to mean something other than what you actually do mean. That way you’re always one step ahead. That way no one can work out what you’re really doing. You’re ducking and diving too much you see – they just can’t keep up….


There’s more to it than just this, however. That’s not the half of it. The main part of the strategy is that you don’t let yourself know what you’re doing. You have to outfox yourself in the shell game. You have to outsmart yourself. That’s where the advantage lies. You always have to be living on the edge. More than this – you always have to be inventing a new edge. That’s why I call it the shell game – because it’s like you’re a kind of shellfish living in its shell and every time reality threatens to catch up with you have to secrete a new layer of hard old shell-material. To insulate you. To protect you. To keep one step ahead. That way reality can never catch up with you…






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