I have this handheld deuces-wild video draw poker game. It’s a good diversion for when I’m waiting for my computer to start up or if the TV show I’m watching gets a little boring. (That means I play it a lot.) There are 10 winning hands worth varying amounts of points: three of a kind (5 points); a straight (10 points); flush (15 points); full house (20 points); four of a kind (20 points); straight flush (50 points); five of a kind (80 points); a royal flush with deuces (125 points); four deuces (1,000 points); and a royal flush (2,000 points). It is tiding me over until I get back to Las Vegas.
Over the years I’ve played with my little game, I’ve gotten every winning hand – even the four deuces – a few times. But the top hand, the royal flush, eluded me. One source says the odds of getting a royal flush with a deuces-wild game is one in 45,281. Realizing it was a longshot, I never really expected to get a royal flush, though heaven knows I tried. How many times have I had four of the five cards I needed, breathlessly “held” them, paused before pushing the “deal/draw” button again, only to be disappointed. I resigned myself to getting every other hand but that one.
Until last week.
Playing the game one morning last week, the 10, queen, ace and jack of clubs popped up on the screen. I just needed the king of clubs. I held the four cards and then hit the draw button, expecting to get a deuce and therefore a 125-point royal flush. I could hardly believe it when the king showed up. It was a royal flush! The most difficult hand of all, the one that’s almost impossible to get, and I got it!
Happily, I watched the numbers roll up to 2,000 points. That little handheld game showed me something I needed to learn, or at least needed to be reminded of: Anything is possible. With persistence and confidence and optimism, even the most far-fetched and seemingly unattainable of goals can be reached. You have to at least go for those dreams and keep trying. It’s never to late to start dreaming – but it’s always too early to stop.
And that's why that same week I sent a manuscript package to an agent, a short story to a magazine and a scholarship application to a top-flight writers' workshop. Because anything is possible!