Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on Boston

I know, two blog posts in less than 24 hours after no posts in 4 months. Forgive me - it's been a crazy 24 hours.

There are many others who have spoken their mind on the events in Boston - Michael and Brad come to mind. Between their blogs and Facebook posts, you can better experience the mental machinations of writers who do this better than me. Even Brad's "No..." on Facebook was more profound than anything I could say. But I will say this, my experience in Iraq taught me that security is an illusion. It's a good illusion because it helps us live our lives out from under the covers, but it's true. Anything can and will sneak up and get you.

I have a rental property. My tenant, a lovely lady in her 50s, died in her sleep last night from a ruptured aneurysm. Just one more example that if they don't get you from the outside, they might get you from the inside.

I always take moments like these to hug loved ones and make sure I'm appreciative for the things I have. You should, too. I am a little perturbed at the folks on Facebook and Twitter who chastise people for re-posting or re-tweeting graphic images. "You should have warned us!" they cry. Well, guess what? The folks on the ground didn't get any warning and it's fair to say they suffered far worse than your psyche. See the images. Internalize them. Remember them. I want you see. You NEED to see. Just don't let them keep you getting out from under the covers.


"Pardon me, sir. Can we have a word with you?"

It's a little intimidating when you're playing poker and hear these words. I'm sitting in the 4 seat and I slowly turn around, certain that the deep voices are not referring to me. Oh shit. There are 3 large guys in security uniforms standing right behind me and they are most certainly looking right at me.

Um, can I play my blind?

No, we'd rather like to talk to you now.

Now I'm in crisis mode.  What did I do... um... recently? I know I got pissed when some guy named Brian pulled my hand out of the muck and exposed my cards after I folded. I was pissed and it got a little heated. I may have accidentally knocked my chair over while standing up to protest. I may have raised my voice just a little bit much, and perhaps suggested we settle this outside. Not in so many words, mind you, but it could have been inferred. Did it really take 3 security guys to tell me I was no longer welcome in the casino? Surely they would have done that the night of the incident, right?


I'm a nice guy. If you read this blog, you probably know me. You know I'm a nice guy. I try to be nice to people. I enjoy tipping dealers because it always brings a smile and a thank you. It makes them feel good and it makes me feel good. That's how I'm wired. When I complained about the guy that pulled my hand out of the muck, another player that I didn't recognize branded me a trouble maker. Several other players jumped to my defense and said, no, not only does he usually not complain, but he's correct that this other guy was way out of line. He has a right to be pissed and it's amazing he's in control at all. Okay, maybe that last part was an exaggeration, but they were thinking it, dammit.


So, I stand up and face the security team. Mike, I know he's Mike by his official name tag, "Mike. Head of Security," is holding several pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, one of which has a picture. MY picture. It's my smiling face and my jacket and my hat. And it's on a piece of paper that has my name and a note that says, "DETAIN ON SITE."

Mike says, "Do you know why we are questioning you?" Fuck. This feels WAY worse than the speeding ticket I just got. I've gotten speeding tickets before, which really is my only run in with the law. I know how to act in those situations. Always be respectful. Call people Sir and Ma'am. Hope that they let you off. These boys had no intention of letting me off.


When I was about 12 years old, I stole a bottle of juice from the local store. It was thrilling, but my conscious got the better of me. After asking my dad 3 different ways if he ever stole anything, he put 2 and 2 together and confronted me. "What did you steal?!" I broke down immediately. "How did you know?" I sobbed. I stole a juice! I'm so sorry. He made me go apologize and pay for the juice. I also had to clean up the parking lot of the grocery store every day for a week. It was a great lesson and it marked the beginning and end of my career as a thief. Or so I thought.


Sir, you owe us $500.

Um, huh?

We know what you did, and now you owe us money. $500.  Now, please.


There are many things that go through your mind at a time like this. Can it be true? Did I sit down at someone else's stack? Did I bluff the wrong person? Was I angle shooting? While I'm trying desperately to sort this out, Mike says, "Marlene overpaid you and you just took the money. You didn't know?"


It's 2004 and I'm just starting to play live. After a big night playing 10/20, I was coloring up and the chip runner gave me $500 more than I paid for. I knew I shouldn't have gotten the extra $500, but what are you supposed to do when someone dumps a load of cash in your lap? I didn't really know what to do, so I did nothing. It was wrong and I felt guilty about it, but that's what happened. When the floor came over an hour later and asked for the money back, I didn't put up a fuss.

But now, I truly had no recollection of taking more than I should.


Here's the problem, if you can call it that. I figured out what was wrong with my game. Seriously. Long time followers of this blog know all about my epic losses. Well, I turned it around in a big way. So big that I truly wasn't paying attention when I was coloring up. It was an innocent mistake. I was up over $2K and asked for 2 grey chips, the $1000 chips at the Bay 101 casino. I had a mix of $100 chips and $5 chips and after racking up, they paid me for an extra rack and I didn't even notice. I watched the whole thing on video in the security office and it was obvious. I happily admitting the error and paid the overage immediately. Good thing, too. Marlene was going to be suspended if I didn't, and I would have felt terrible. After the whole sordid affair, I found Marlene and apologized profusely. I tipped her generously and campaigned (successfully) to cancel her suspension.

Still, I'm a little shaken by the whole thing. How is it possibly that I didn't notice an extra $500? Have I become so jaded to the dollar amount that it didn't matter? Is that a good thing? Is that related to why I'm winning lately?

Who knows? All I know it that I can't sleep tonight (it's 1:40 AM as I type this), and I can't stop thinking about it.