Monday, September 15, 2008

Busy as a Bee

By Pauly
Atlantic City, NJ

Four more days of work and I'm done. However, I'm fading fast.

I partied a little too much on Saturday night. The result? A hungover Sunday with a 13 hour day of work ahead of me. I struggled for the entire day. I had been on the rough end the last couple of days. In the middle of last week, I had an unexpected visitor. I spent less them sleeping and writing for myself and more time partying and catching up.

Last Thursday, an old college friend stopped by to say hello. I had not seen Clint in 13 years. He's been reading my blogs for the last couple of years, but from a distance. We had very little interaction aside from a few emails.

Poker players from the DC area usually end up in Atlantic City since it is the closest option they have for casino poker. Clint read that I was at the Borgata. He thought about calling to let me know he was coming but decided to surprise me. At first I did not recognize him. I was busy at my laptop typing away. I saw someone approach the media row out from the corner of my eye.

"Is Phil Laak here?" he asked.

I didn't look up and said, "No."

"How about Phil Lesh?"

That's when I looked up. I figured it was a Tao of Poker reader that was also a music fan since Phil Lesh played bass for the Grateful Dead. That's when I realized that it was Clint. 13 years is a long time. Slick Willy was still in his first term as President when we last saw each other. Hootie and The Blowfish's Cracked Rear View was the number one album that year.

Clint played some cash games and even helped get me a few bustout hands from the rail. He's a tall guy. Over 6-8. We played intramural hoops together in college and used to party it up together back in the day.

I've been in a weird head space the last month or so. The artist inside is hyper-grumpy and wants to let loose in the world. The battle within is between the malcontent artist who desperately wants to ditch poker and create other things while the wealthy businessman/pimp inside is holding him back and continuously saying, "Just a little while longer. Let's make a little more money, then we can quit."

Clint's unannounced appearance was a godsend. He broke up the monotony of a 2+ week assignment. At the same time, we were able to catch up and analyze our hazy lazy college days. I'm one to constantly live in the now... in the moment. I rarely look towards the future and the past because neither actually exist. It's the right now that is the most important thing for me. However, an intense examination of my past was inevitable when Clint arrived. He brought back a flood of college memories. Most of them were good and a few were bad. We focused on the good.

After my shift ended, we got super wasted and stayed up late talking about life and writing and poker and traveling. Clint even told a couple of blackjack bad beat stories that included getting slow rolled by the dealer on numerous accounts.

Clint even insisted that I leave the Borgata for a couple of hours. I never would have left the property of he didn't show up. We drove over to Harrah's. The poker room was packed. DonPeters and Bradley had made the final table of one of their tournaments. We decided not to play and headed to the pits to drink and gamble.

We opted for Pai Gow. Clint had never played and I gave him a crash course inside of 90 seconds. By the fourth hand, he easily picked up the game. We sat at a $15 table with a young Asian guy and a working girl. I didn't know hookers player Pai Gow.

I picked up four Aces (three aces and the Joker) on one of my first few hands. I never play the bonus, so I lost out on a 25-1 shot. I eventually grew antsy like I always do and started betting big. We had a hot Polish waitress. Clint and I tipped her well and she kept bringing us drinks.

I lost $130 playing Pai Gow but got my fair share of booze. We stumbled back over the Borgata and stayed up late. Partying until the wee hours and reminiscing. The conversation surrounded our old fraternity brothers. Larry is on his second wife. Curley is expecting triplets. Moe owns a restaurant in Oregon. Did you know that Shemp was gay?

It was sometime around 4:20am when we stumbled upon the iguana story. One summer in the early 1990s, I lived in my fraternity house in Atlanta. We had an empty room where a ferret and iguana lived. It was also the location where I tried to grow pot for the first time. Well, the guy who owned the iguana (the name of the iguana was Iggy) went out of town and forgot to tell someone to feed the Iggy the iguana. Well, Iggy the iguana got out of his cage/tank and feasted on my pot plants. Iggy the iguana got the munchies and ate up all the plants. My cash crop was decimated by a hungry and stoned lizard.

This past weekend, Mary came down from Brooklyn to player poker. She also crashed in my room. I had an extra bed and it seems like someone has been crashing there almost every night... from Derek to Clint to Mary.

Mary played in a tournament on Saturday. After she busted out, she wanted to have a drink. I just so happened to be drinking with AlCantHang at B Bar and watching the USC/Ohio State game. Eight days earlier, Derek tried to go shot for shot with AlCantHang... and failed. I fared much better, but when you drink with AlCantHang you just know you're gonna get fucked up. I definitely stumbled out of B Bar when it was all over. And the result? I woke up wicked hungover.

I need sleep. Lots of it.

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