Three Hands & A Deep Hole

Perhaps you’ve heard of Jessica McClure. Or Kathy Fiscus. Or Floyd Collins – if you’re a fan of classics: Ace In The Hole in particular.

Ace In The Hole

Kirk Douglas

Yes, I’m sure you too – at sometime or another – were stunned and stilled by news of a baby in a hole, or a girl stuck in a well, or of men trapped underground in an exploded mine, or of families feared buried alive in the rubble of a massive earthquake.

Say in Haiti. Or Turkey. Or Japan. Or China.

Like me, you too, perhaps, have held your breath, glued, wondering if that person will get out, or how, or how long it will take, and what story that person will tell if he or she escapes.

And what if it is a baby – as the clock ticks? Or a puppy?

Puppy in a hole

Puppy In A Hole

Something about being trapped in a deep hole grips us. A living death? Purgatory? A drab and desolate no-man’s land? Something.

Maybe it’s a primal fear!

In a journalistic piece called People In Holes, NPR reporter Mike Pesca looked back on the media magic created when a person is trapped underground. Ratings! That’s not new.

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

That’s Ace In The Hole (1951). Eons before the Internet.

Here – in A Sound Byte Life, as well as, on The Journey – this kind of media circus is not on folks’ minds. These folks don’t care much about ratings; they are exploring (having experienced the hole) getting out! How?! & Now!

Peena is in the hole!

Yep! Aren’t we all?

Here, we’re well aware of what The Sage said so very long ago.

Everyone living long enough will slip and fall into a deep hole and look up for help. Three hands will appear. The hand of a hustler. The hand of a riddler. And the hand of a clown. Choose wisely or be buried there.

So, what is Peena to do? Which hand should she choose? Which would you?

Pathos or bathos, onlookers are gripped. Tragedy is comedy. Questions percolate. How did she fall in? Why did she fall in? When did she fall in? Did she not hear the warning? Was she not told not to dig holes in the beach? Didn’t anyone tell her not to jump into manholes? What kind of hole is it? Who crosses a canyon in high heels? Did she, really?

Pundits are ever at the ready: passing judgements, making predictions, blowing smoke up their broad assumptions.

For a wide swath of bystanders, though, nothing is more fun than seeing the mighty fall. And wow! Not just onto the ground, into the deep hole! For some others, there but for the grace of god! Either way, many come camera-ready. Monetize. Monetize. Monetize. Candid pictures are cashable. Some of these anticipate – hoping desperately, actually – for a change in the weather, eager for a heftier drama. Tragedy is so fun. So cashable. Or is there something else that is going on deep inside the human heart and mind? Deep in the psyche? Perhaps, a stir of other kinds of questions shove some folks toward these thrills.

Who is the hustler? Who is the riddler? Who is the clown? What will the mirror reveal if I dare look into it?


It might appear that a lot depends on your angle of view. On whether you are full or hungry. On whether you are stuck or free. On who is in the hole. Or does it?

Perhaps – as the clock ticks – the truth of claimed values are served in the hole. Philosophers ponder such things. But not they alone.

Equally, this well-fed roundtable, hilarious in their disclosures engage the question. It is an enlightening discourse. Voices from many walks of life – professors, professionals, parents, students, athletes, business men, young, old, retired, the employed and the unemployed – put themselves to the test. And it is insightful.

Three Hands & A Deep Hole:

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How Does One Get Out Of A Deep Hole

It is true that not every hole is the same in size and shape and scope. However, being in the hole the feeling is the same. The experience seems the same across the board while you’re in the hole. The cry is practically the same form whoever is in the hole: Get Me Out Of Here! Now! In the case of Floyd Collins, “Get me out … even if you have to tear my foot off!”

My bet is that, first and foremost, you’d want to get out, but that you’d rather come up whole.

My bet also is, you’d come out changed, even if gravity (eventually) drags you back into that same-old-same-old shell.

What's Your Bet?

Regardless, life won’t be the same, neither for you nor for those involved. However, none of that means anything unless you get out.

If The Sage is right – experience, time and again the world over, proves The Sage is spot on point – then the vital question is HOW? And the best time to know the answer is NOW!

For sure, if Peena doesn’t get out in time 363 employees will lose their jobs. (A Sound Byte Life)

Then there is the issue of her life. It’s an issue of choice. And it’s an issue of urgency. And it’s an issue of destiny. And it’s an issue of purpose. Perhaps, it is just A Sound Byte Life!

Regardless, how does one get out of the hole?

There is a matrix of available strategies that take into account the conditions of the hole, the state of the man, woman, boy, girl or baby in the hole, and the predispositions of those – if any – outside of the hole. Obviously, preparation is key. Obviously, waiting until you’re in the hole to figure out how to get out of the hole is not all that smart.

So how does one get out of the hole?

Regardless of the hole, etc., three aces are always dealt. The wizard recommends coming to terms with them – the sooner the better – then play them well. Here are Your three aces:

1. (Ace Of Heart) Stop! Have A Reality Check

Marc and Angel Hack Life – Practical Tips for Productive Living presents 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself. It is great advice. Oddly enough, several of these tips are precisely the steps of this reality check.

Stop running from your problems. Face them head on. Stop lying to yourself. You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. (Well, I think you’ll sooner or later believe in your lies. Then you’re a goner!). Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Stop trying to hold onto the past. You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one. Stop being scared to make a mistake. Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. Stop blaming others for your troubles. The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. Beware of bullies: they’ll be ever ready to remind you to blame yourself.

The reality is now you’re in the hole. You want to get out. You need a lift, a ladder, a rope, a hoist.

2. (Ace Of Diamond) Start With What You Have!

Recognize what you have with you: what’s on you, what’s around you, what’s in you, yeah, what’s above you. A lot depends on what’s in you.

In the hole, these are not helpful to you, even if they have legitimate claims on you, for they will weigh you down. Note them well: skeptical, powerless, disappointed, upset, exhausted, suspicious, confused, stressed, numb, hopeless, disinterested, anxious, sickened, defeated, indifferent, poor me. Fright! These are loads you must shed.

These are helpful: calm, energized, excited. Yes, I did say, excited. Actually, adrenaline will do that for you. Flight. Let it lift you.

3. (Ace Of Club) Step It Up A Notch! Bam!

Be prepared to build, beg or buy your way out. This is not meant to be funny. Learn the TRUE FACTS about each. Each has its consequence.

Remember, this is not a survival strategy, i.e., how to survive in the hole. This is a getting-out-of-the-hole strategy. Preparation is the key.

Have a plan before you slip into the hole. This ought to awake you wide to what The Sage said.

Whether or not you’re prepared to build, beg or buy, know that three hands will appear. The hand of a hustler. The hand of a riddler. And the hand of a clown. It is wise to know – before you’re in the hole – what each hand will come to claim.

It is wise to understand your own bargaining power. That done, Stay The Course.

Breathe in plenty of fresh air. Maintain focus on the goal. Your goal is to get out of the hole in order to stand up and flourish again.

If not, you will be well advised to have a set of survival strategies – i.e. How To Not Suffocate In The Hole. Here are a few offered by New York Times: Living With Less. Add yours to the lot. And don’t forget: someone is holding the Ace Of Spade.

A Fun Quick Read (Nook & Kindle(


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