Jokingly, we used to say, sitting at a restaurant in Manhattan, any restaurant, don't sit with your back to the entrance door, sit facing the door, as if we were important enough to be rubbed out in a mob hit, and as if this seating arrangement would protect any one of us. This was in the days when Paul "Big Paulie" Castellano was in fact assassinated just outside Sparks restaurant off or on Third Avenue, not far from where I worked, and not too distant in time from when I, Pawlie Kokonuts, had walked by the steakhouse, which is now probably closed. Of course, it's not like one has to be important to be felled by mob bullets, or by anyone's bullets, or by anything. Collateral damage is the military term, ain't it. But the biggest fallacy of all, as we were saying at breakfast Saturday at the Good News Cafe, the biggest pretense of all is the illusion of control. Sure, if you had a machine gun, a Tommy gun, as it was called in the Al Capone days, you might be able to spray your attackers with hot metal before they got you. Maybe. But unlikely. You might more likely be in mid-bite of your ravioli or mid-dip of your bread into the olive oil or spreading butter on your bread or in latter-day modern life feeling your cellphone vibrate in your pants, only to realize it's your leg going numb from the onslaught of the loss of consciousness and blood in the final nanoseconds, just as you were formulating the syllables of a final joke about vibrators vibrate get it haha a joke they all have heard from you countless times haha as it dawns on you in the darkest of dawns that your dawns are over, buddy. The utter conceit of it all, to think you are not powerless, to think that your position, your positioning, your placement, your posturing, your posing, your pronouncing, your protecting will stave it off, will delay it, will forestall it, will spin a cocoon around it, will armor you against arms and the man, or woman, or transgendered, will make you quicker, safer, surer, you or yours, if only you had faced the entrance, if only sooner, later, this, that, a little over here, there, anywhere, everywhere, if maybe why not if that or this. The utter hubris of it. They say alcoholism is the disease of denial but the disease of denial is called by something else, a tiny four-lettered L word we all conspire to and with and for (and other prepositional propositions), something we all aspire to as we pray for its continuance fending off respirable dust unto dust, just as Father Luke once intoned or invoked, or maybe even choked on the words, I don't know.
And that, I postulate, as a poor postulant, is why the last episode of The Sopranos was right and fitting, in the familiar family way.