Friday, April 28, 2006

Luck of the Irish

Oh how I love Fridays. I've always loved Fridays, except when I worked on Saturdays, I guess, but it's now the day I pick up AJ after a long week of abject loneliness drinking beer and playing poker, giving it special significance. Throw in the fact I'm positively giddy over pulling the trigger on the British Isles trip and you've got a guy with a noticible bounce in his step.

I'm also looking forward to playing the $200K Guarantee on FT on Sunday. Daddy needs Guinness money for next month. I'm gonna try to satellite in tomorrow, but am willing to buy in if I fail. I tried to satellite into the Stars $1 Million Guaranteed last night ($5 Re-Buy) and was looking at a pretty substantial double-up in the second hour when I got in on the turn with AK v. KQ. Darn three-outers. I haven't played a hand--let alone raised one pre-flop--in 4 orbits and this guy thinks KQ is ahead the whole way. God bless 'em. We wouldn't be where we are today without these fellas. I wasn't stung by the beat. I'm handling them so much better these days. If you curse your bad luck, you'll only give yourself excuses to play poorly. I might have read that somewhere. And it's true. I was much more upset about running JJ and TT into AA within a span of 15 minutes later last evening. Not because of the statistical anomaly of such an occurance, but because I pushed my stack into a better hand. Willingly. My bad.


I've been doing a lot of thinking about luck lately. I don't think I'm particularly lucky or unlucky. I'd say it's balanced out in my life. I've had some good luck to keep my head above water; I've had some bad luck that slapped me back down. But I'll never be one of those Six Sigma guys.

For instance, twice in my life, I've been on a game show. And both times, I was on the cusp of a substantial (for my then-financial situation) score, only to be denied, first by questionable behavior on the part of Chuck Woolery and....

Okay wait, I really need to tell that story. I was on Scrabble. I was nervous as hell and when I first got behind the tiles, I could barely breathe, let alone think. I quickly fell behind 2-0 to a human of consierably less intelligence, but got my bearings (just) in time to rally back to 2-2. We went to the tie-breaker speed-round (no tiles, just the clue and letters popping up). The clue was "They think it's the end of the world." and when I pulled "Doomsayers" out of my ass after three letters, the crowd went bonkers. Well, my friends and Mom did.

I set a solid time in the next round (two players; four words) and my opponent had less than a second on the clock when facing the last word. Chuck reminded him, a couple times, that he'd pretty much have to guess it on the clue since there was no time for the letters to come up. He took his sweet fucking time, too. He read him the clue. The guy, a Jerry Garcia look-alike motherfucker, repeated the question back (as is custom) SO. SLOWLY. that several young people in the audience began collecting social security checks before he finished. Then Chuck repeated it again. I've never put a clock on it (yes, I still have a tape), but it had to be at least 45 seconds that he got to think about the clue. And, of course, he guessed it right away and beat me out of $5K and a shot at the bonus round jackpot of $10K AND a returning champion slot.

Someday, Woolery is gonna pay.

The second time, which I've written about here, was on Greed about 6 years ago (you can catch me on re-runs on the Game Show Network from time to time). It was actually Super Greed, where the prizes are ratcheted up and once you hit the million dollar mark, you are GUARANTEED to take home what you've earned to that point. That's big bleeping money. My "team" was on the $200,000 question and I'd already eliminated one guy with my lightning quick reflexes in the Terminator round. So, we answer the question correctly and I'm sitting on 40% of that $200K (I got my share, plus that of the guy I eliminated). The question was "Which of the following are Pepperidge Farm cookies?" Easy. But our captain didn't know the answer (Chessman, dickwad) and took the buy-out, which was 10% of the question amount, split equally among the remaining 4 players, so I didn't even get 40% of that.

These instances make me think I'll never be that guy who hits it big. Which is okay. I know too many dreamers, people who sit around for that one big break, and that attitude can de-motivate one from pursuing more tangible goals.

For a long time, I let the idea of the payoff stop me from writing. The odds are strongly against me ever publishing anything. But that shouldn't be the motivation for doing the work, for satisfying this creative need. And coming to that conclusion has let me be happy with what I do get down (as long as it doesn't suck).


My marriage faltering is a pretty bad beat. There are reasons, some legitimate, some sketchy, that I ended up where I am today. There were things I could have done to make it less likely. I don't think I could have prevented it from happening at some point, however, because, in the end, it has nothing to do with me. So I've been feeeling a little unlucky, unlucky that a woman for whom I'd have given everything, didn't have the character to weather life's little storms with me, didn't have the strength to give herself wholly to me nor accept what I willingly offered her.

I came to the conclusion a few days ago, after a long talk on the phone with X (probably more on that down the line), that she had no idea how much I loved her. Was that due to my inability to to convey the fact to her? Or was she unable to receive it? I don't know. But it was always obvious to me.

Once you start trying to mend from such a life-altering experience, you get your perspective back. And if this isn't the way I wanted my life to play out, there remains an entire world of possibility out there. I have my boy, the love and support of friends and family and a lifetime of days stretching out before me, days filled with unknown pleasures and rewards I can't begin to anticipate.

So I guess luck is balancing out again.


At 11:02 AM, Blogger HCR said...

First one?? Joe your writing is truly awesome makes me think the drivel I have been putting out is subpar (kinda like the gum underneath the table, although it serves the same function it has lost all its flavour) but hopefully I'll catch up.
And while I'm on this kick link me up even if you don't know who the hell I am.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Huge Junk said...

You fucker!

I was soooo going to write on the subject of luck. Now I have to shelve it until people forget about yours because otherwise they'll be reading my hunk-o-shit going, "Didn't somebody else just do this much better a few days ago?"

Congrats on the cashes!


At 12:51 PM, Blogger Kel said...

"she had no idea how much I loved her"

{ding, ding, ding, ding, ding}

At 1:13 PM, Blogger BigPirate said...

Damn! I remember that episode of Greed. THe cookie question. Of course. Have fun in the Isles.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger ToddCommish said...

Hey, I lost on two game shows too... Jeopardy and Challengers. My "Shit" was whitesounded out (and yes, i have the vhs evidence) on Jeopardy and remains my televised zenith.

At 2:34 AM, Blogger geewits said...

I was like your wife. I wrote about some of it here:

But there's more to it. I could not seem to connect with him. I'm all about my sense of humor, and I'd make funny comments and he never laughed, never even seemed to hear me. I was the cook and the caretaker of our daughter in his mind (I guess, I have no idea). He also seemed so shocked when I left and told me how much he loved me. By that time he was practically a stranger to me. And it was too late.

I don't mean to imply that you did anything wrong. I guess sometimes people are just not in sync.

I eventually found the perfect person and we have been together more than 10 years. You will too. Oh and he re-married and I think they have been together for 15 years.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

No big scores?

I call shananigans!!!

Look up your WSOP seat run, 18K conquest, etc etc etc...

All its going to take is having the right tournament header on top of your final table and your next TV appearance will be noodling Courtney Friel and the $2+ million on the table.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger GoBucksIndy said...

I'm curious how hard it was to get on those gameshows? Care to elaborate on how lengthy the process was?


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