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A Silly Idea (Part 1)

Several months ago, I came up with the idea of writing about playing computer solitaire. As I thought about it I decided it was a silly idea and put it in the file of ideas. Then, several weeks ago I came across a book that brought it back out.

The book is entitled "The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays" by Caroline Knapp. She had written four books, multiple freelance articles, and for ten years did a regular column for the Boston Phoenix newspaper. She dealt with alcoholism, a food disorder, fear and died at age 42. I had never heard of her and selected the book by an interesting cover and title.

As I browsed it, I came across an essay "Satan deals the cards". She writes about how she is struggling with her attraction to a "mindless, totally un-redeeming activity" in her computer called Solitaire. She describes it as a "disease and it is contagious; every computer has it and most people play it. Satan deals the cards because once you start playing, you find it difficult to quit. Your mind says "just one more". She goes on to say she had played 2,825 games (the sadistic machine had a read-out). Ninety-six hours which is four entire days, twelve full workdays or a two-week vacation. All in all, the essay is funny but eventually it takes a serious look at a "having an addictive personality".

Every night I go to my bedroom and play Solitaire before bed. My idea is to play just a few games and eat a few crackers. As you can guess I quit after several hours! I say things like "just one more game, two out of three, that game was too short, I need to win at least one but I have discovered I had an "addictive personality". For many years I fought with the devil because I used food, television, work, and books to deal with life. It wasn't until I had my encounter at the well with a man called Jesus that I began to understand.

I think most people discover they are missing "something" in their lives. The Creator created us to have a special relationship with Him and until we find the answer, we look for other people and things, to fill that emptiness. Some people get married four or five times; alcohol, pain killers, abusive behavior, porno, the need for "more" things - big house, vehicles, hobbies, etc. Many of the things we choose might seem harmless but uncontrolled you lose and Satan wins!

Sharon White

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