16 JUN 06
Carrie and Tina were either in the same class as me or one grade behind. I was in the 8th grade - a high school freshman in upstate New York. Dad decided to have a boys-night out, so he and I went to the best hangout for Dads with sons not-yet-old-enough-to-drink. We headed straight to McDonalds.
I remember this incident because it was a defining moment in my life. Dad and I are starting to dig into our fries (while playing Match! – to see who could pick out the largest fry at random). Carrie and Tina sat down one table over. I think I may have acknowledged them, but that’s about it. They proceeded to eat their ice cream and Dad proceeded to stare at me rather quizzically.
What? Is there something on my face?
Our conversation got muted and I knew enough to know that I was supposed to notice something, but I didn’t know what. It wasn’t until we got outside that dad finally burst.
How did you not talk to those girls? They were putting on a sex show for you, for crying outloud! The way they were tonguing those ice creams and giggling. Did you not notice that?
So many questions. How did I not notice? Isn’t that they way I eat ice cream? What’s a sex show? Is my dad a pervert?
I’m very good at the esoteric stuff, but sometimes when something is screaming in my face, I tend not to notice. I guess I’ve always been like that.
So, I just got back from a wonderful trip to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. I got the unbelievable privilege of promoting my sister to the rank of First Lieutenant. I didn’t even get too much crap for being an Army guy on a Air Force base. Actually, I was welcomed with open arms. Very cool.
So the night before, my sister takes me to downtown Shreveport to the local casinos. Sam’s Town has no poker (huh?) but El Dorado is spreading $1/2 and $2/5 NL. I didn’t bring a bankroll with me, so I did a “short buy” of $100 into the $1/2 game and had my sister sit right behind me.
Folks, there is nothing like the act of teaching to make you a better student. As I started to talk to my sister about the playing styles of each player, I began to realize that I need to make these mental inventories EVERY time I play. Maybe I’ve gotten complacent because I usually play with regulars, so I think I know them. I don’t know.
What I do know is that after I categorized each player to my sister, I proceeded to run over the table. I knew who would lay down and who would call. I could tell the good from the very good (an important distinction) even better than the good from the bad. I could predict the play of the short stacks and even knew who would re-buy vs. who was done when they got broke.
I guess it’s not dissimilar to McDonalds in 1979. It’s always been right there in my face. I just need to pay attention.
I’m thinking of flying my sister up here so she can sit behind me every time I play.