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Falcon Lair

How to Charm the Repo Man

Frank was one of those men who suffered from a lack of audacity. There was nothing special about him, other than he was being paid to shock and panic people. He rang my doorbell on an ordinary Tuesday and from a tattered and soiled print-out, he read, “Stefan Pinto?

How to Charm the Repo ManMy name precariously struggling out from between his lips, and as he looked at me, I could see wholehearted endeavor competing with recognition, a battle fought through his tuckered eyes. “I’m here to take the Mercedes.”

I read somewhere that when opportunity and preparedness collide, it is what we refer to as “good luck.” And on that early, hair-raising Tuesday afternoon, as I set out to fix a potentially debilitating situation, I realized just how lucky I was and how a conventionally bad thing can sometimes be a harbinger in disguise.

“It’s not here,” I told Frank.

Two weeks ago, an over-zealous, elderly driver, distracted by the courtesy of another, accepted a left-turn invitation and smeared $8,000 damage across the left back fender, wheel, brake lamp, bumper and suspension of my Mercedes. In order to avoid a potentially fatal collision with an(other) oblivious driver, I sampled the sidewalk and slaughtered an impudent “No Parking. Tow Away Zone” sign.

Having $8,000 damage on your new car is often difficult to swallow, let alone, be grateful for and as I correctly predicted on the day of my collision, that this happened for a reason, I wondered if the repo man could also take away a dream.

A Jewish lawyer once confessed to me as he sucked down the last swallow from his third Coor’s Light, that he really wanted to be an actor. Trailing laughter in the crowded, humid and smokey South Beach bar seemed to mock him and as he pretended to look at the ubiquitous football game on any of the television screens, I wondered just how hilarious that confession would be to his wife and imminent daughter.

Dreams fizzle and fade away, and as we rapidly grow older, it becomes easier and easier to forget why we said no and harder to accept that we are wishing we had said yes. Our fates are our responsibility, and unlike that Miami lawyer who chose to blame his yet unborn daughter for “preventing him from fulfilling his dream,” we can learn to realize that opportunities were/are everywhere, even when in the midst of a conventionally bad situation.

The repo man never rings twice and as replaceable as German cars can be, time has a tendency to be the repo man of our unfulfilled dreams. I don’t know what happened to that unhappy lawyer; whether he became an actor and finally chose to forgive his innocent, offing daughter.

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