Every year around my birthday my college buddy and I get together somewhere and act like college buddies. Last weekend a third college buddy got into the act, so we acted like three college buddies. We acted like three college buddies each.
When college buddies this old act like college buddies, they do strange things.
The old college biddies all get a certain Elvis Presley song stuck in their head at once, for the whole weekend. (Who writes, "All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me"?)
The old college buddies try to crack each other up—and for days straight, the only thing that's important is what is funny. In this effort, accidental original sentences are uttered. Just for instance, "Goats are the potato chips of bestiality."
The old college buddies get thrown out of a bar after a brief but noisy dispute about pool table etiquette. Never in their lives have they felt more righteous, even the next morning seeing themselves as heroic holders-up of ancient and noble principles.
The old college buddies find themselves in sun-dappled beer gardens, counseling the sorts of college kids they used to flirt with about their careers and relationships. (And astonishingly, the young college kids seem grateful?)
The old college buddies counsel one another, too. In a dark barroom one of the them reads Charles Bukowski's poem "Bluebird," which turns into an epic because he can't read it through his tears.
After his last fight against Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali sat in his dressing room with bumps all over his head, asking himself over and over, "Why I do this? Why I do this?"
The heart has reasons, my old man used to say—my old man who never had such a weekend in his whole life because he complained if you have a bloody mary in the morning "you feel funny all day"—that reason doesn't understand.