A Thanksgiving Story
"My daddy likes to gamble."
--AJ to my 19 year old nephew – during our Thanksgiving meal
Terry and Stewart, my brothers’ boys were chatting about football, with Terry, the older of the two, mentioning that he had placed a bet on Kansas City (-1). AJ’s statement led to a deeper gambling discussion. Terry also likes to play poker online. As it turned out, we have even faced each other a few times online. I showed him his PokerTracker stats and teased him for his rock-ish statistics. Then I also made fun of his football pick.
"Well, uncle Speaker, if you’re such a good gambler, put your money where your mouth is!"
The punk-ass called me out in front of my boy.
"Listen, I don’t want to take all of your dad’s money. You need to take that back to school and spend it on ramen noodles, cans of Natural Light, and the contraceptives you won’t be using." (Don’t worry - AJ doesn’t know what contraceptives are. Rubbers, yes.)
I hoped that that my reply would end the smack talk. It didn’t. He proposed another option.
"It doesn’t have to be for money. How about this...Stewart got the inside scoop that the Target down the street has a shipment of Playstation 3’s in. And they open at 5am. I was going to head there after dinner and wait overnight to get a system. If KC covers, you’ll wait in line for me."
I replied, "That doesn’t make sense. What do I win if Denver covers?"
"If Denver covers, I’ll let AJ use the PS3 for the next two weeks. Just ship it back to me at the frat house."
This kid was good. And there is some serious degenerate blood running through my family’s veins. AJ looked up at me with his eyes and a big smile. My brother took a sip of his wine, and gave his son an approving grin. Almost exactly the same look Miyagi gave Daniel at the end of the first two Karate Kid films.
So I accepted the bet.
And as you probably know, Denver took another beat down.
And I was off to Target, with a backpack that contained a sleeping bag, my bottle of Bushmill’s, my iPod, and a deck of cards.
I pulled into the store’s lot, and realized that Stewart wasn’t the only one who got the inside information. There were already about twenty people waiting in line in front of the store. I couldn’t turn away – I had to set a good example, and show AJ that no matter how ridiculous the wager, you must always pay up.
I grabbed a spot in line, and figured that of the adults, at least eighty percent have never had sex. Thirteen out of the fifteen teenagers are more likely to suffer from heart attacks in the next four years than touch a woman’s breast. I was tempted to say, "Hey kids – how about eating some fruits and veggies, and maybe putting a little pomade in that hair?"
But in their eyes, I was no better than them. Just another douchebag wasting what could be otherwise useful time.
As I’m typing this, I got a call from DonkeyPuncher. Apparently he’s sitting at the airport across the guy who SUPPOSEDLY has better hair than us - Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy). DP is tempted to say, "You shit on my house!" or "Hey look, it’s a Nerd Herd." He pointed out that it must be a bad hair day for Dempsey, since he’s wearing a hat. Amateur.
End Bloggus Interruptus
I pulled out the bottle of Bushmill’s - the rest of the crowed looked horrified. Their faces told me that they could be tilted. Maybe I could be so obnoxious that they would leave the line. So I did everything in my power to annoy them. Singing 80’s metal lyrics didn’t work. Neither did dancing like MC Hammer to "2 Legit 2 Quit or explaining pot odds." Warbling the Mary Poppins soundtrack (AJ’s fave) failed as well. Those were some hard core nerds.
I finished the Bushmills in an hour and a half.
And passed out on the sidewalk.
"Mister, they’re about to open up the store." It was 4:50 when the kid who always gets picked last in gym class woke me up.
I had no fucking clue where I was. When I looked around me, the awareness of my surroundings returned, as did my hatred for that manipulative nephew.
I stretched my legs and did a few sets of jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. No sense in pulling a hammy during this.
They opened the doors and the crowd stormed in.
"Let’s get us a PS3!"
I sprinted towards the electronics department, shoving brats left and right. I ended up being sixth in line.
And they had FIVE PS3’s in stock.
The phone rang. It was Terry. "Uncle Speaker, was the mission successful?" I hung up on him.
Then I saw an attractive woman trying to console her son after their failed attempt at getting a PS3. No wedding ring. I was drunk and tilted.
So I got her digits.
Yeah. Mission successful.