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Often when I spend time with ShirtlessRoland I feel like I should bring along trail mix, binoculars and a notebook. It usually feels like I’m observing an entirely different species that should be cataloged. For the most part he does exactly what other men do; he just makes it look easier. It is possible I’m simply captivated that life in general seems so effortless to him because of the time served with someone for whom every aspect of life was so damn hard. But more likely, I think, is the fact that ShirtlessRoland lives in The Zone. You know, that magical karma bubble that encompasses some people and greases the skids for all of their endeavors – or at the very least, keeps difficulty and frustration at bay.

Ah, I’m kidding. While there is ample evidence that ShirtlessRoland does inhabit The Zone (and that I can vacation there simply by standing near enough to him), it is not accurate that difficulty and frustration are kept at bay. Not all of it, anyway. Yes, he still occasionally ends up stuck behind the motorist who has no business driving in the left lane. And being the mere human that he probably is, more seismic events occur in his life, too. What fascinates me is that nothing bites his ass. I don’t mean in the literal, rabid bull dog sort of way or the literary Forest Gump in the jungles of Vietnam sort of way – though I don’t think those examples apply either. What I mean is in the everything-rolls-off-his-back kind of way.

I want to be like that and last weekend he gave me an unexpected lesson in Letting Things Go. His instruction was lifted from Nike: Just Do It. I found this utterly unhelpful. If I could Just Do It, I already would have. ShirtlessRoland said that though the time involved may differ, the process is the same for the big stuff and small stuff alike. He repeated many times, “You just let it go.”

But it’s not the same, I tried to argue. I can get on with life after being stuck behind a slow poke in traffic. Sure, I’ll be the first one to suggest unchaste things about his mother but it’s not like I memorize his license plate and hope to someday cut him off in traffic. With bigger issues it’s different because in addition to years of the well-practiced behavior of bottling things, I have this itsy bitsy fear that letting go of the transgressions means they weren’t really that bad in the first place. That maybe the transgressor wasn’t really so wrong. That maybe if I let it go that means they actually did the right thing and I should stop praying for alligators to devour them. But traffic – hey – I am behind a slow poke today, I was behind him yesterday and I’ll be behind him again tomorrow. Once I’m around him, I’m over it. It doesn’t matter that he’s always going to be an idiot. I’m still going to get where I’m going.

I’m glad I said that out loud, because the light bulb over my head seems to be voice activated.