Saturday, December 31, 2005

Touch Me I'm Sick

I'm still sick. Going on 4 days worth of flu-ridden misery. I'm not one to complain about illness and I rarely get laid up for such an extended period of time. In fact, I can only recall twice in my life where I've been knocked down to a significant degree. One time was my senior year in college. The week before finals. Fucking cute. I got a major stomach flu, the kind where I had to write my extremely long PolySci term paper--that was half my grade--15 minutes at a time because that was as long as I could stay upright. Somewhere in that week-long haze, I drove myself to the hospital, very nearly getting an unscheduled lift when I fell asleep at the wheel. Fortunately, I was at a stop light. Then I fell asleep in the waiting room. Then my wonderful health care provider initially diagnosed me as having appendicitis, despite the complete lack of pain in what would generally be considered the appendix area, and, you know, pain there would be a symptom of appendicitis, I think. I managed to convince them to rule that out--after another wait/nap in the waiting room--and they settled on stomach flu, for which they prescribed nothing.

The other time was equally inconvenient. I was visiting Sweden for a mere 5 days, meeting the dear and patient wife's parents for the first time. After a day and a half in Stockholm, my body rebelled against the pristine air and I spent pretty much the rest of the time in moderate delirium with a temperature of 104 degrees. Whenever anybody talks about socialized medicine and how wonderful it would be if we had a workable system here in the US, please note that, after a wait of nearly 3 hours at a Linkoping health clinic--yes, I slept in the waiting room that time, too--I was sent on my sicky way with a few echinacea tablets to cure my Super Flu. Excellent. The kicker to that story is that about two weeks after my return to the US, there was a major story in the local Swedish newspaper about a nasty strain of flu that had hit the area and experts traced its roots to America. I infected an entire country.

I was thinking about this second case as I lay wide awake in bed this morning circa 4 a.m. "You should be resting!" says the dear and concerned reader and you're right. But I had a sneezing fit that not only woke me, but soiled my bedding to an alarming extent and I couldn't get back down. So I got up, fired up a tobacco cigarette (I miss weed most when I'm sick; nothing takes one's mind off a raging sinus headache more than the recuperative herb) and wrote a story. About a delirious sick guy. It has potential.


I was up until one playing/watching poker. I busted out of two Full Tilt tourneys, both when holding KK, which brings the total to four times in the last 10 days that I've been busted out of FT tourneys with KK. That's what you get when you lay a bad beat on the wife of an FT programmer. Consider me chastened.

After destroying several family heirlooms, I raibirded Bobby and his run to a third-place finish in a 20+2 MTT on Full Tilt. He had KK hold up twice. Better still, he dropped a hammer on the final table. Nice goin', dude.


Looks like our plans for New Year's Eve have been scuttled by my Ill. I can't drink (so you know it's bad), though I seem to recall mixing cold meds with about 4 beers generates a remarkable buzz, complete with the inability to enunciate multi-syllabic words. People were inquiring as to whether I'd recently had a stroke.

2005 was a good year in many ways for me and those close to me. If I had to sum it all up in a single word, this year brought Possibility.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I was in a rut, because there's a negative connotation there that I didn't feel. But, approaching 40, filling the roles of Dad and Husband, satisfied with my career path, I had the faint idea this was it. This is how it is and how it will be; the road is long and straight. I wasn't particularly chagrined at that idea. I find enough humor and verification in my daily life. The problem is when you set your mind to process only the mundane.

I'm prone to fugues. Anyone who's ever tried to get my attention when I'm "deep" in thought knows this. I'm distracted, unavailable. I'm running down so many scenarios in my head that I can't see a foot in front of me. More often than not, these mental ping pong matches are tinged with worry, about finances, performance at home and at work, tasks not yet begun or completed. And I get so wrapped up in them that I'm not open to new experience.

That changed a bit this year. I found inspiration. In this stupid game of poker and, moreso, in the literate musings of dozens of similarly minded individuals. I read, and learned from, so many and if I didn't quite say, "Hey! I could DO that!" I did, at least, think, "Hey! I'd like to TRY that!" Quite surprisingly to me, it opened up a long dormant creativity, a fact which excites me every single morning when I awake. In one unexpected swoop, a goal that I long harbored, but upon which I rarely acted, became a primary raison de etre.

It's a perfect storm of sorts. Poker united my competitive and inquiring self. Writing allowed me to get out of my head, clear the mundane bricks which stack there and seal off the possibilities. A year ago, I was relating bad beat stories and endless hand histories at the $10 SnGs on Party. Now I'm actually proud and protective of what I (figuratively) put to paper, have played in the World Series of Poker and will have to file an income tax return listing a five-figure poker profit.


Best of all, I am enriched in countless ways by my new friends. Thank you, all of you, for your company and humor, your advice and support, your openness and honesty.

Cheers. Let's give 2006 a proper ass-whuppin'.


At 8:43 AM, Blogger Huge Junk said...

Thanks for railbirding me last night. I probably would have gotten bored and pushed with something stupid before the bubble without you guys.

Congrats on infecting the country of Sweden! Not many people can claim something as impressive as that.

I'm with you completely on what poker and this little gay community has done for a lot of us.

Creative outlet for the constant thoughts bombarding my brain, a chance to revitalize the competitive juices that my shittier and shittier athletic skills can't deliver, and friends I never would have met without it all.

I'm looking forward to checkraising some douchebags with you in 06, and hopefully spending some time in Vegas tilting cashiers, telling people casually that we played in the WSOP, and whatever other types of jackassery we may find ourselves in.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger facty said...

Happy New Year Joe, D&P, and AJ!

I told fhwrdh to unclick the Bad Beat Button - all is forgivin for the thrashing you administered with your vile JJ v. my beautiful AA. Your KK should hold up now (mostly).

At 9:19 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

Indeed, lets light this candle in 2006

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

Happy New Year! Excuse me while I avoid your sick ass with a 10 foot pole :) j/k. Here's to 2006!

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Easycure said...

Let's kick 2006's ass with WPBT bloggers cashing in the Main Event. Who will it be? Joe Speaker? Otis? Easycure? Bobby "IPod" Bracelet? DoubleAs?

Or all of the above?

Happy New Year friend.......from my family to yours.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Gene said...

Come midnight I will raise a shot of NyQuil in your honor. I'm not sick or anything--its just gonna be that sort of party. SoCo with a Robitussin chaser, that's my cocktail for the evening.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Dr. Pauly said...

Happy New Year....!

You get no sympathy from me for being sick, you pussy! Hike up the skirt and act like a man. Steve McQueen would never have complained about the sniffles.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Donkeypuncher said...

You passed a disease around a whole country! I think only Paris Hilton is the only other person who has accomplished that feat.

It was a real treat reading you all through 2005.

Happy New Year Mr Speaker!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Human Head said...

Fo Sho. A very Happy New Year to you and yours!


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