Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I was pleasently surprised last night when I logged on 45 minutes after the start of the WPBT satellite. When my table popped up, I saw Nerd and doubleas, and as my nuts made a beeline for my abdomen I noticed their chip stacks hovering around 5K. "Crap," I thought. "I've been blinded down for almost an hour and I've got these geniuses stacked and licking their chops." Then my chip stack popped up and "Whaaaaaaaaaa?"

Deep stack? Half-hour levels? Giddyup.

And then...It's gonna be a long night. It was, though I bombed out retardedly in the third hour. Congrats to lucko and Wes for the seats and, as always, undying gratitude to Iggy for his hard work and philanthropy in setting thest things up.

I wish the point of this post was the play. But it's not. When I went out, I was hit with that all-too-familiar-lately feeling of loss, an instant sucker punch that says to me, "Well, that was fun, but remember real life?"

Poker has become an escape from all that ails me these days. The problem of late is that I've had so many horrific bad beats statistically improbable circumstances that the "escape" has become every bit as frustrating and unrewarding as everything else in my life. And yes, the attitude I've employed at the tables has contributed to some less-than stellar-play.


I know people who can affect a sunny disposition regardless of their state of mind, or heart. I am not one of those. The truth of the matter is that I'm in a dangerous place right now. I recognize it, but am unable to reverse it. My motivation is gone. I am weak, broken.

I have a hundred conversations in my head every day, chastising myself, attacking X, trying to reason it all out. It's not a nice place to live. So I spend my evenings trying to quiet the voices, with poker, with beer, with silly conversations with my friends. It works, temprorarily. But then the game ends, bedtime comes, and I'm back at Square One.

I'm running away, pure and simple. Doing the exact same thing X did. I'm not addressing my problems. They're too big, too painful, too insurmountable. I've clung to these daily diversions in lieu of addressing life issues. And I hate myself for it.

I have too much time on my hands and no impetus to fill it with proactive works. I'm floating, wrapped in self-pity, convincing myself that my needs don't matter. Nothing matters now. All that talk of being a better man and the measure of a person being how they react to their suffering...gone. I don't fucking care.


This is not a new place for me. I've been here before, though this is worse. Last time, it was better than two years before I pulled myself out, two years where I dug myself even deeper, burying my sense of self-worth. I sit here night after night KNOWING I can't do that again. Knowing hasn't helped me reverse the slide.

Back then, what finally began my ascension was a small triumph, a seemingly innocuous step forward that provided the foundation for everything else. It wasn't a random event, but it changed my outlook enough to give me a little strength, to stop flogging myself for all my failures, to stop replaying the past.

The past is my enemy. In it, I see so much that was good, perfect even, and it taunts me with those images of my happiness, now blackened forever. I also see the seeds of my current plight, feel them for the first time as they took root, expolding into the secrets that overwhelmed love and reason. I'm assaulted by these images in my every waking moment. I don't summon them. They are uninvited. I want only for them to disappear.

This is natural, people tell me. You need time to mourn, they say, to work it out. I know. But I'm wasting that time, prolonging the healing process. And sometimes, I can't fucking cope.


AJ and X returned from Sweden on Sunday night. It had been nearly two weeks since I'd seen my boy and when he saw me, he skipped over and held me tight for long minutes. There it is. I can feel my heart again. He doesn't know it, but he's my redemption. His embrace, his laugh, will save me, return me to myself. But I need to set about deserving that love. Right now.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Daddy said...

You're the fucking man, bro.
Know that.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I always thought you had inner demons with your hair....no, go see that doctor again, man...confront all the flaws you have...workout and get the six pack back...get a blow job from a nice girl...get AJ for a weekend and drive up to watch Oaktown play...I remember me and my dad doing that while eating Nachos all the time...also take him to that little park on the side of the stadium where he can play video games.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Rod said...

You have earned the respect and admiration of a large group of readers with your writings about poker, but even more impressive is how you honest you are when writing about your feelings. A lot of us are with you, even if we're not physically there. Live the good times to the fullest, and don't let all the other crap get you down.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Not sure if this dime store psychology will work, but someone once told me that when a relationship ends, its like a death, and a period of mourning is necessary to get it behind you. I can only imagine how this is even more true when you are married. So, good luck, god bless, and know that your mourning is natural and healthy.

Your honesty and writing skills amaze me.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger FatBaldGuy said...

There's gonna be hills and valleys, Joe. Hang in there, the next hill is coming up.


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