First things first, I guess: not only did I not earn my cruise for next year at the tables, I actually came back down a little bit. I had a really good first day and a half; by 10:00 day 2 I was up almost $350 and table captain. Then I kinda got hosed a little by the Poker Gods. Well in fact I got an urgent telegram from them, it was my death certificate and could I just sign there please.
Basically I experienced exactly the kind of cooler hand that always seems to haunt my steps at times of greatest import. Holding KJo (yes, the dreaded KJ, who long-time readers know as being the single hand by which I've lost the most amount of money) and out-of-position I raised 3x and, since it's a cruise ship, actually - this is true - got called by more people than were playing.
The flop came KKJ. Boy's night at the castle. I flopped Kings full of Jacks - the stone cold joint. I bet out about 1/2 the pot, call call, raise, fold, fold, back to me. No Hollywood, no dicking about, I shoved and leaned back in my chair, oozing power, unable to control myself but not really caring.
I got two callers. One of them had me covered, the other was down to his last fifty bucks or so. The table flips our cards over and the idiot with no money had a pocket pair, something like 88 or 99, something that made me think that for the love of god, he puts his last dime in the pot thinking that with this kind of action he's really good. - The other player had KQ. There was almost $900 in the pot, as memory served. I was actually planning next year's trip in my head.
Until, of course - what else could POSSIBLY happen - my opponent turned a Q and the bigger house. GG Crafty. Care to rebuy? Got the whole bit - flop sweat pouring down my face, ears buzzing, almost started getting tunnel vision even. I couldn't believe it - still can't, really.
Except this shit happens to me ALL THE FUCKING TIME. It's really discouraging. And you know the worst thing about it? It was destiny. I certainly wasn't going to do anything but push my hand - remember, cruise poker is ABC, nothing fancy, subtlety is wasted on the stupid and the drunken - and my opponent wasn't going anywhere with her - yes, her - king. She flops trips and with that kicker it's what, the third nuts at that point? So it's not like SHE was backing down. It just happened like a god damned train wreck and there was nothing anyone was gonna do but watch it all happen.
As for me, I went on opposite-tilt, and clamped down like a 90-year old nit. I folded QQ pre-flop to a $50 all-in, convinced I was beat, forgetting this is cruise poker. The guy said - yes, said - he had 99, not knowing what I held. I ended up down $37 for the week, and only got my shizzle back the last night when the table and the cards both started cooperating. In only an hour and 10 minutes or so I made back a good bit of change but I had to be back in the cabin by midnight to do the luggage thing.
As for the rest of the cruise, let's just say that although everyone had a good time I think everyone agrees that it's good to be home. Mom did her best to try to not be a millstone around our necks but toward the end of the trip she'd call us up dangerously early in the morning and ask us "what are we doing today?"
One of the most frustrating elements of dealing with my mother is that she tends not to believe anything I ever say about anything, regarding any subject whatsoever. Not because she thinks I'm lying, but because she thinks that I am her youngest child and how can I possibly be worldly enough to know anything that she didn't herself teach me?
Since it happens all the time, it's become a button, and when she presses it, it really goes up my ass sideways. So this might seem trivial to you but to me it was a constant source of irritation. Here is a partial list of the things that my mother heard from my lips but chose not to believe:
- That besides adhering to the rules of basic hygiene, there was no enforced dress code anywhere on the ship;
- That she would have a place to store her insulin in her cabin;
- That nobody was monitoring her food intake, and that she could indeed go to the deli and get a sandwich while subsequently hitting the buffet, while subsequently hitting the burrito place if she wanted to;
- That the ship would be designed generally to accommodate the overweight and the elderly, or indeed that there would be either of those types of people on board;
- (After hearing that they charged for booze and soda) That there would be anything to drink that didn't cost money;
- That thanks to gigantic stabilizers and generally calm seas she wouldn't need seasick remedies such as the 1,200 Dramamine pills she brought;
- That there was a state-of-the-art medical facility on board (she was so reluctant to believe this that she went down to deck 0 and asked for [and received] a tour, after which she was satisfied);
- That Customs coming back in to the US would have no objection to her bringing back in the little chocolates that were left on her pillow, and that she could still be in the "nothing to declare" line;
- That she did not have to go to the lobby to pick up her disembarkation paperwork, that it would be delivered to her stateroom; and
- That there were enough lifeboats to accommodate everyone aboard.
Remember: these aren't just things my Mom didn't know. These were facts that she was told by someone who's taken THIS VERY CRUISE twice before, and actually been on the very ship we were sailing on, and chosen not to believe.
Tootsie, who got a really good look at her behavior up close for the first time, came back to the cabin one day and said to me, wide-eyed, "Your mother's out of her mind!" Yes, honey, she is. Come here, darling, and tell daddy all about it. No, dear, I didn't mean we should call your father, I just meant...no, I was just being romantic. No, I'm sure your dad is fine. Sweetie, it's $2.00 a minute to use the phone, I'm sure he's fine, really. Well fucking pardon me for trying to be nice! I'll never make THAT mistake again. No - you go fuck YOURself. Yeah, right back atcha, ya douchebag.
The final straw came this morning, disembarkation day. She knew that we needed to be out of our cabins by 8:30. She knew, because we told her over dinner, that we were going to have a 7:30 wake-up call. And notwithstanding knowing both those things she called our cabin at 7:06, and when we did not answer, she called back at 7:12, and then again at 7:34. With nothing to say other than "did you see us coming in to the port?" So needless to say I was fucking cranky (with a small "c," you weirdos) all morning. Add to the fact that the plans SHE made to get us back to where our car was got all pear-shaped and let's just say I was glad to be back home.
Was it worth it? Well, karmically, I suppose so. She really did have a good time, couldn't have done it by herself, and can now cross off a huge thing from her list of end-of-life regrets. So in that respect I was glad to have done it. That, however, was the only perspective from which I could make that claim.
So that was the cruise. Elsewhere in the life of the Crafty Southpaw:
- The waiting period is over and I was able to pick up my new toy, my Mosin-Nagant 9130 rifle, discussed at length in a previous post. It's just gorgeous, in an ugly-duckling sort of way. Now that it's in my hands I can really appreciate the power and the heft of the thing, as well as the simplicity of its manufacture. It's funny; the guns that Americans buy are sporting firearms; they're designed to fire at targets, or clay pigeons, maybe a hunting trip a half-dozen times a year for the enthusiast. But this weapon, this is a different thing altogether. The 9130 was designed to kill the enemy, plainly and simply. The metal isn't shined to a high gloss; that takes time and besides, you don't want your weapon to shine in the sun when someone is trying to kill you. It was meant to carry well, to stay clean under harsh conditions, and to destroy the Third Reich one Nazi prick at a time. That knowledge gives it a power, commands it a respect that is hard to describe. I'm glad I own one. I can't wait to put it through its paces.
- I have decided that it's time, more or less, to move on with this phase of my life. I guess what that means is that it's time to bury my father, as it were; I have to be able to say goodbye in a way that I haven't yet been able to do. It also means that it's time to blow the dust off the ol' resumé and seek employment. So (in all likelihood) off comes the ponytail and out goes Gary to hit the bricks and see what there is to see out in the wide world.
- Part of this process of moving on was going to be shutting down the blog. For good or bad I associate it with this phase of my life, even though I started it before Dad passed, and before my life got more complicated than it used to be. I strongly considered the notion that if I want behavior to change, and if I honestly felt that a new start was what was going to do that, then a new start was something I should endeavor to do as completely as possible. But I'm keeping it going, at least for the present. I've really come to value the connections I've made, in some cases made some actual friends. And really, even though every last one of you is an irredeemable idiot, you're non-judgmental, encouraging, warm, smart, funny idiots, and I'm glad you're all in my life to the extent that you are.
- Speaking of the blog I've gotten some comments recently about the new look of the thing and wanted to say thanks. It was really as simple as making a few choices, clicking here and there, and spending literally 25 minutes on a new logo, which seemed to be going around anyway (I think Grrouchie was the first one on that stage). Glad you all like it.
Well, I guess that's it for now. Didn't bring any herb on board; missed it. With that said: excuse me, got stuff to do ;)
Meant what I said about you guys. Not so much the idiot thing. The other things. Good to be back.