Little Post Better Than Big Post
I was about to write something absurdly long but I thought better of it and decided to cut to various chases:
I took the day off yesterday, but instead of catching up on sleep I woke at 6:30AM, took out the garbage and cleaned the garage, did some cooking, some cleaning, then drove to a new huge mall/shopping complex that opened about 15 miles away. I mostly wanted to go to Borders--I find I need the psychological recharging visiting a bookstore gives me more often these days. But I wandered the mall for a half-hour or so, not really looking for anything in particular. Good thing--I don't think there was a single store in the whole place that catered to guys over 23. What I did find was a Steelers clothing store, a Pirates clothing store, a store that sold Pittsburgh sports memorabilia (including jerseys and shirts), a sporting goods store that sold jerseys...fine if you're Phil Ivey, but I was looking for a place that sells the sort of sharp threads a guy with my style and joie de vivre
requires. No luck.
To Borders. I should say that I was pretty much exhausted--Monday night we played five games of volleyball, then went to the bar to watch our Steelers play the Chargers. It was a rough game on the nerves, the officiating was awful, and there was a vocal crowd in the house. I did my part, especially after I drank about eight 99-cent drafts. Everyone took off around the the start of the fourth quarter, so I saw Roethlisberger get submarined while sitting in my living room. I immediately called Dr. Mark, who said a blown ACL was his immediate and uninformed diagnosis. Jeff Reed booted the game winning FG a few minutes left, but it wasn't hard to imagine that the Steelers' season had been deep-sixed.
By the time I got to Borders we knew that Ben was going to be OK, that the inside of his knee did not resemble a freshly-baked spaghetti squash. But I was still totally whooped. I looked through the poker section (there's a new book by Penn Gillette about how to be a poker cheat that looks interesting), but ended up grabbing a volleyball book to flip through as I took a break in one of their comfy leather chairs. But the book didn't interest me much, and though a nap really sounded good I didn't think the Borders staff would appreciate me sprawled in a chair snoring like a chainsaw.
I wandered the fiction aisle, checking to see if Bernard Cornwell has a new Richard Sharpe novel out. I turned to see what was stacked on the opposite shelves, and found myself staring down the Self-Help/Psychology texts. Neither subject appeals to me--God knows I need Help, but there's no way it's coming from my own Self. I turned to leave, and found that I was staring at the Erotica section. Someday I'll figure out what the difference is between "erotica" and "porn". One answer--that "erotica" is "porn" that women like too--seems a bit trite. Like I said, someday I figure out what the differnence is. Yesterday wasn't the day. Not today, either.
On the bottom shelf were a row of paperbacks, all the same typeface, with different colored covers. There were about 20 different editions of Penthouse Letters.
Oh the humanity.
A book caught my eye, and I pulled it off the shelf. It was The Game,
which I wrote about yesterday. The book is leather-bound and the pages are gilt-edged, so that it looks like a Bible--I don't know if I'd feel stranger reading a Bible or a book about picking up women in bars. Not that I have anything against the Bible, per se--it just seems that the people who most strenuously bring the Bible into discussion are people I'd like to avoid.
I sat down in a comfy chair and blitzed through about 75 pages of it in an hour. An interesting read, some of it laugh-out-loud funny, some of it so pathetic it made me cringe. I'll probably end up reading the whole thing and post a review, but let me say one thing right up front--some of the techniques described in the book may work in L.A., but there is no goddam way they'd fly in Pittsburgh.
Tuesday night they have poker at the bar I was at for the Monday night game, and as all the womenfolk in our group were having their monthly Girls' Night dinner I thought it might be a good time to play some cards. Matt joined me, and as he isn't a poker player we ate dinner and drank too much beer (exactly what I needed in my exhausted state) and watched the Main Event coverage on the TV. Poor Jennifer Harman. Poor, poor Jen.
While we were eating and drinking and watching a nice-looking blonde in a black dress walks in and takes a seat at the bar. Early twenties, had a figure that might well be described as "lush". I'd been telling Matt about the book I was reading and we were both laughing about it, and I mentioned that one rule is that you never approach a girl who's sitting or standing by herself.
"Why not?" Matt asked.
"I don't remember." To be a serial seducer is not my fate.
So we're watching the poker and admiring Sam Farha's orange shirt when this guy walks over to the blonde. Young guy, about her age, he's wearing a red T-shirt and has the baseball cap on backwards and something glittery in his ear. My attention flits from the TV to the guy, as I try to determine if his approach is working. After reading a fifth of that book I feel qualified to offer criticism. She laughs at something he says, and then an older couple walks up and the kid walks toward the exit with them. Ah, bad news, not good to go out scoping with Mommy and Daddy. Hell, even I know that.
And then the guy turns around and I see the lettering on his T-shirt. It looks like a homemade shirt, something where you go to a store in the mall and they iron them on or something. Anyway, here's what's printed on his shirt--"SPITTERS ARE QUITTERS".
Now, there's only one scenario I can imagine that his shirt was describing. I cannot imagine how anyone could go out in public with that printed across his chest. More than that--I can't imagine how anyone would let their KID go out broadcasting that message. "If my child ever went out wearing that shirt," I told Matt, "he'd soon be a dark brown stain on the carpet. You'd need a squeegy and a roll of paper towels to sop him up with." Am I being an old fuddy-duddy, or do I just prefer a more sophisticated style of flirtation?
Nine-thirty approached, time for the late tournament. They have poker Tuesday and Wednesday night, but Tuesday's don't get as many people. We only filled three tables, which was OK by me. I was totally fried by now, and as the first hand was dealt I really wasn't much in the mood to play. A good thing--I was dealt junk for the first six hands or so and did what you do with junk--I threw it away. The second episode of the Main Event was ending, and the guys at my table were talking about it and about poker in general. I thought about doing some name-dropping, "I know some guys who were covering the World Series...oh, there he is right now, up on the screen", but I didn't. I sat there and listened to the table talk, knowing that I've read and thought and written more about poker than everyone in the room times three. Which depressed me to no end, because all I was doing was folding hand after hand. I know, that's a big part of poker, and if you're sitting down with a table of maniacs who will call your all-in with fourth pair, tight is right. But one thing I've noticed about live poker, in the little I've played, s that passivity is much more frustrating. I guess I expect more of myself as a poker player than mere patience. Again, I was very tired.
I saw a flop with KQ, folded when it missed me, and was soon high-carded to another table. I sat down next to a guy who'd knocked out four players. My first hand there he raised all-in under the gun. He had more chips than the rest of us combined, and in the big blind I found the ace and king of diamonds. It was folded around to me and of course I called. If I was gonna play I wanted some chips. He flipped over AJ and I figured I had him right where I wanted him. The flop came with an ace and two spades. He had the jack of spades. You know what's coming. That it was the Ace of spades that killed me on the river seemed a bit much. He was a bit rude about his suckout, ignoring me when I said "Nice hand", which of course it wasn't, and then he said something like "That's another one". I just walked out the door and into the charmless night.
Sorry, this was supposed to be a little post. Though if I'd written what I've been thinking of writing you'd have been here a lot longer. And I don't have the energy right now for the 5,000 word braindump I was sketching out in my head. I'm pretty much whupped right now, in a number of ways. Here's hoping a good night's sleep kicks over the circuit breaker.