That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

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Posts Tagged ‘atlantic city’

Ain’t nothing special about a town where nobody wins.

Posted by kozemp on June 15, 2009

Okay, so it’s no secret that I get a little worked up sometimes. I wouldn’t say I have “anger issues” – to me that means someone who is uncontrollably angry all the time, and I’m certainly not that. I just get worked up sometimes.

A significant part of the problem, and this is also not exactly a secret, is that there are some things that will set me off far more easily than others. Most are some variation of what I (insanely) consider affronts to my sense of right and wrong, though it has been noted that said sense has emotional problems of its own. There might be some merit to that; known affronts to my sense of right and wrong include wearing inappropriate t-shirts, talking smack about Donovan McNabb, and not showing up at a movie theatre early enough. These things are clearly wrong. It’s not my fault if you can’t see that.

(For the record, if you buy a Che Guevara t-shirt at a store you’re a fucking idiot, if you want Kevin Kolb to start over D-Mac you don’t know anything about football, and if you think you’re going to show up to Lord of the Rings three minutes before showtime and get a decent seat you should sterilize yourself to protect the future from your genes.)

(Actually, now that I think about it, all three boil down to “you = stupid.”)

So, I get worked up. Left unchecked this will tend to lead to situations that are socially awkward at best (“look, it’s not my fault your fiancée is clearly a homosexual”) to downright unpleasant at worst (“someone call 911 before this idiot bleeds to death”). Over the years I’ve developed ways to combat this Hulk-like process, and most of them have been abysmal failures (c.f. drinking, smoking, married women). None of these things worked; indeed, for the most part they just caused problems of their own. About five years ago, though, as my married/engaged/otherwise unavailable women period reached both its end and its absolute nadir – the whole “your fiancée is a homosexual” deal is NOT one of those things I made up – I discovered something that not only cured my black moods but didn’t create other problems in its wake:

Cleaning.

I’m not sure how it started – given the time frame it likely had something to do with the woman marrying the gay guy – but I remember one day that spring just getting more and more pissed off. I was about to explode. Anyone who has trouble with their temper can tell you – when it gets going it can be almost impossible to stop. It’s like a wave that just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it breaks, usually on the person or thing closest by. And this day, oh man I was fucking pissed.  Jaw clenched. Fists balled. Ready to drop the hammer and start REALLY destroying shit.

But, for some bizarre reason, instead of smashing everything in sight, I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming the living room floor. And we are talking SERIOUS vacuuming. I was tossing anything on the floor smaller than an end table onto the furniture. I was flinging recliners and other furniture across the room to vacuum under them. When I was done in there I moved on to the dining room, stacking our antique chairs on the antique tabletop and pushing the liquor cabinet into the corner so I could get every square inch of carpet.  In the sunporch I moved the end tables out onto the front steps and, Superman-like, lifted up the couch with one arm so I could push the vacuum under it with the other. A half hour after I began I had cleaned every square inch of carpet on the first floor of my house.

Standing next to the vacuum I surveyed the space around me and realized I felt better. A LOT better. Cleaning, who would have guessed?

So over the next couple weeks every time I got pissed at something I would get down and dirty and clean up part of the house. Clear out the fridge. Disinfect every surface in the bathroom. Polish the dining room furniture. I went completely berserk on cleaning.

After a couple months of this me and some of my friends went to a big summer event movie. I think it MIGHT have been Spider-Man 2 but I cannot reliably say. As is my custom for such things I arrived 45 minutes before showtime and advised the other people in my group that I would only hold their seats for fifteen minutes, and that after that they were on their own. As I sat down in the theatre my friends called to say they were running late. They wouldn’t get there until about 2 minutes before the movie started.

“What the fuck?” I said. “I warned you that you’d get stuck in traffic.”

“Oh, we don’t know about traffic yet,” they said. “We just left.”

Now, again, anyone who knows me even a little bit will tell you that I am maniacal about punctuality. Some people are pathologically late; I am pathologically early. Being late, barring absurd and unforeseen circumstances, is the single most rude thing one human being can do to another. As far as I’m concerned there is no greater insult than telling someone you’re going to be someplace and then not showing up when you say you will. It did then, and does still, drive me ABSOLUTELY FUCKING INSANE.  And now I’m being told that my friends are going to be late, not because there was a huge accident or their car wouldn’t start, but because they just didn’t leave in time.

General, take us to Defcon 1.

“Okay…” I said. “Okay, you know what, fuck you. You didn’t leave until after I told you the rest of us were getting here. I’m not holding your seats. You’re on your own.” When they started to protest I stabbed at the “end call” button on my phone.

Normally this is the point where I would start loudly berating the folks I was with about how much I hate people who are late and how people who don’t show up on time are the scumbags of the universe, I would disembowel them, etc etc. Instead, and my memory of this thought is remarkably clear, instead I sat there, stared at my cell phone and thought:

“I could be at home washing the windows right now.”

The worst part: I almost got up and left and went home to do just that. I actually had to force myself to stay and watch the movie, rationalizing that if I got up and left that would have constituted rudeness on my part to the people I was already with, so powerful was the urge to clean. In the years after that my cleaning urges subsided a little bit – partly because almost immediately after that summer I started to mellow out considerably and have since had far less free time to clean than I used to. Nowadays I actually get frustrated by the fact that I hardly have time to do serious cleaning any more.

This past Friday, though, I was at the Tropicana playing poker. This is bad enough in and of itself – I haven’t played at the Trop in almost two years, and there’s a good reason for that. The Trop is a terrible place to play poker. The room is small and cramped, the chairs are uncomfortable, the players are miserable, the staff is a remarkable combination of rude and incompetent, you have to walk through that godawful Quarter thing to get to the poker room, and the building has a nasty habit of falling down on people. I only went there because before I had left I learned that the bad beat jackpot at the Trop was up to $200,000. The bad beat jackpot is something of a lottery, obviously, but if I’m going to be down there playing poker ANYWAY I might as well go to the spot where I could at least theoretically win a shitload of money just for sitting there. For a shot at a hundred grand (in a bad beat hand, the loser wins half the total jackpot) I will man up and play in the hell that is the Tropicana.

I got seated at a brand new table about two minutes after I signed in – short waits and new tables are always excellent – but five seconds after I sat down I immediately regretted the entire chain of events that had led me to that spot.

For starters, my table was dead smack in the middle of the room. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board where each space was a poker table with 10 people and a dealer sitting at it. My table was Paul fucking Lynde in the center square. This meant having to wade through a massive sea of humanity just to go to the bathroom or make a phone call, and I mean a SEA. Because of the $200K jackpot the room was insanely crowded. I’m not sure if it actually was the most crowded poker room I’ve ever seen or if it just LOOKED like it because the Trop shoves their tables too close together and drops their ceiling to like 8 feet and generally gives their poker room the ambience and dimensions of a large self-storage unit.

Secondly, two of the players at my table were shrill women in their 70s who repeatedly complained that when they sat down it was a 2-4 table and the casino can’t just change the game and the stakes whenever they want. It was patiently explained to these women, first by me, then by other players, and finally by the floor that if the casino gave 30 minutes notice they in fact COULD change the game and the stakes at the table. After having the laws of the state of New Jersey explained to them, the hags continued to complain that they wanted to play 2-4. The floor repeatedly offered to seat them at a 2-4 table, but they refused. They wanted to play 2-4 at THIS table. This went on all night. Sigh.

Thirdly, the guy I was sitting next to was the worst kind of Ivy League-Manayunk douchebag. The guy wore cargo shorts and a pastel blue Polo shirt with a collar he appeared unable to operate. And I mean, literally, a Polo shirt. The jerkoff fucking horsie on the front and everything. This gentleman spent the entire night pestering the waitress to bring him beers – “imported, sweetheart, only the imported” to a waitress 30 years his senior – and yelling at the Phillies game on a television that was 40 feet away. “Come on J-Roll!” In my ear. In his pastel Polo shirt. ALL FUCKING NIGHT. People like that should be hunted for sport. I had to try and play poker 8 inches from him.

Fourthly, in an effort to increase my focus on other players at the table I had deliberately neglected to bring my headphones with me when I left the house. Thus my iPhone sat on the rail in front of me, taunting me with the playlist I had loaded to it just that afternoon. “You could be listening to me instead of this rabble,” it said, “but you didn’t WANT to listen to music while you played tonight. What a fool you are.”

So I sat there, miserable. Despite my misery I was playing decent poker but not very much of it; playable cards were few and far between. At some point just after 11, though, my luck nosedived and I was cursed with good cards that didn’t hold up, and against bad players to boot. At one point I had a huge two pair all-in against a terrible player with one pair and a good kicker, only to have my hand counterfeited by the board. I lose a big chunk of my stack.

At about 11:45 I get in a hand heads-up with the jerkoff in the Polo shirt. I have 89 of spades on the button. The flop comes 8d 9d 3c. I am in supremely awesome shape here. The douchebag checks to me and I make a reasonable bet, about 2/3 the pot. He immediately pushes all-in; I have him covered with about 35 bucks to spare. Now this guy has been playing pretty terrible poker all night, and when he makes this play my instinct almost instantly tells me: he has big diamonds. He’s trying to scare me away. If he had a set he would just call and try to get another bet out of me.

My brain screams: he’s got nothing.

I call his all-in and he turns over AK of diamonds. God damn I’m good. I’m a 5-1 favorite with two cards to come.

As the dealer counted out our stacks the douche yelled, “how could you make that call?”

I gave him my standard answer for questions like that: “Because I’m good and you’re not.”

The dealer bangs the deck and lays the turn and the river:

Ace.

Ace.

I throw my cards into the center of the table and yell, very loudly, “FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

As the dealer awards Captain Douche the pot and the floor hustles over to ask me to please refrain from screaming profanities at a volume that will cause permanent hearing damage, there is only one thought in my head:

“I am gonna clean the living SHIT out of my room when I get home.”

JLK

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