Games lost, by the Philosopher Fisherman

by @michaelvitaly

“most games are lost, not won.”

So I immediately approached the truck and a man dressed like a fisherman greeted me with a smile and open palm. “How are you?” I said quite jovially as if I’d known him for years. “Good, good,” he responds and then I look over to the water where he sits, see he sort of presides over this little tugboat being rained upon by clear blood looking water from the shower hose rigged above. He was a carney.

And so we chatted about things here and there near and far, for just a few moments, as the rest of the bus, the very happy yellow school bus from the outside, but whose innards seemed strangely unimpressed by their surroundings, almost unhappy.

But on they walked and there I stood about to play a carnival game. For free. For the mere enjoyment.

The tugboat’s top stood out like Abraham Lincoln’s black stack high above a basin not so proud and long as his face; the boat was short and stout, like a kettle out the oven that’s been flattened near a crepe. A filled one.

And so I readied myself, like a golfer or a weightlifter, grounding myself and trying to counter balance with my one shoulder messenger bag to get the best throwing stance possible to try and get these rings around the tugboat’s top. And one: whew, right over the top. “At least I got it close,” I thought for a quick second before I shifted my weight back and forth. And I grabbed the second ring, this one bright orange. Clang! –“Woah!” from the fisherman, kindly and warm — “Nice,” I thought but just for a second, and I was readying my feet again. As I lifted the third ring I thought of nothing else but the ring and the tugboat. Getting the ring to the tugboat.

And I lost. I hit it again though, but it seemed merely a consolation prize, getting to knock it twice but never landing it through. “No matter,” I thought and smiled at the kindly artist, as we chatted some more. He was in fact an artist as was the designer of this entire game who was working the ski ball around the back of the truck. Joel Kyack.

I could’ve won a mirror painted by him. If I had only won that tugboat toss. And I shook the fisherman’s hand and was greeted around the corner by another man who was dressed in a yellow rubber rain suit complete with heavy duty suspenders. A fisherman.

After getting to see some of his other work in the Frieze Art Festival, I could tell he was certainly a fisher of men. Philosopher Fisherman.

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