Mr. Friendly Says So
Monday, June 30, 2008
  Me Dear Sainted Mother
Another story refused from some godforsaken flash fiction site. What the h*ll do they know?

“Oooohhh, I guess I’ll go to da store meself,” moaned Mrs. O’Leary. “Too bad dough, cause me corns are killing me weary feet. Oooooh, how I wish my children loved me more than they do. Oooohh, ohhh, oooo. Me poor feet.”

Tom O’Leary rolled his eyes. So practiced he was at this he thought he could spin his orbs in their sockets. Too impatient to try today, he answered his mother. “Mom, what do you need from the store? I’ll go get it.”

“Ooooohhhh, don’t bodder yourself Tommy. I’ll eat da dog food here. Not that Fagin is going to need it anymore since you put ‘im down. What is it dat you said he had?”

“Rectal cancer Mom. Jesus, I’ve told you that a million times! You can remember ass cancer, can’t you?” He was here five minutes and losing his grip. He needed to get out of this house. Now. “Do you have a grocery list Mom?”

Mrs. O’Leary nodded towards the refrigerator. “Ooohhh, don’t go taking the Lord’s name in vain in me house Tommy. He may strike you down and take da house and me wit’ you. And tank you so much for going to the store Tommy. If I was to wait on your ten brothers and sisters, the police would be finding an old skeleton stuck to the recliner come this spring. Oh, and remember the Lactaid. Regular milk gives me da runs.”

Tom, retrieved the list and, with his back facing his mother, rolled his eyes one more time. It felt like his corneas would touch his optic nerve. He said nothing.

Trudging through the snow, Tom got nearly everything his Mom wanted from Coccas Corner Store. It was snowing like a bastard, maybe two inches an hour. Lugging four stacked and packed bags through hellish weather made Tom’s walk home ponderously plodding. That was all well and good, less time spent with the old bat. Since he was doing chores for her, his venial resentment wouldn’t need mention at confession this week. He walked home thanking God for the opportunity to offer his suffering up and dreams of sunny climes.

From a block away, Tommy could see his mother, bad feet and all, shoveling the walk in front of the house. Under his breath, he raced through an act of contrition until his rage subsided. He wished his eyes would stop throbbing.

“I was just clearing a path for you, Tommy. God knows I don’t want you to slip and fall,” she fretted. “How would you work if you were laid up for who knows how long? Ever since that, forgive me Mary Mother of Jesus, that bitch left, you have no one at home to look after you.”

She put down her shovel and followed him into the house. Tom’s eyes felt as if someone lashed them with barbed wire. Mrs. O’Leary’s coat wasn’t off when she said “Oooh, you didn’t forget the tea now, did you?”

The one thing Coccas didn’t have. Tom closed his eyes and counted to ten. “We can have coffee Mom,” he offered, hoping that caffeine might relieve his pain.
“Oh oh oh, I don’t have any of that either,” she moaned.

“I’ll ask the Marinellis if we can borrow some.”

“Those garlic eaters won’t give you nuttin’. Better to go wit’ out. I won’t drink it if you get it.”

“I think you might Mom. I’ll make it the way you like it. You’ll feel better.”

Returning from the neighbors, Tom hurriedly made sure his mother was comfortable, brewed the coffee, and downed two extra-strength ibuprofen. After serving her, he waited for her inevitable nod off.

Mr. Marinelli found the martyred Mrs. O’Leary’s stockinged legs sticking up from a snow bank in her back yard two weeks later. The police immediately suspected Tommy and began their search. Tommy, clever boy, figured the authorities would never find him in the Grand Caymans. And even if they did, a local priest guaranteed that God absolves guilt. All Tom had to do was ask. He did that and Tommy knew he was forgiven because his eyes never bothered him again
  This is not a Poker Blog
If you are pot committed before you look at your cards, should you even bother taking a peek?

I have no idea where the BigMan lives. For the purposes of this recap, that is a good thing. TheHost doesn’t know either and that’s a bad thing, he’s driving. Good thing MarkyMark navigates, although my faith in him is waning. He seems a little sketchy on the details.

“Yeah, this turn, take a left…I think.”

And so it goes. The return of the Colonie Three. Totally clueless and ready to tilt.

The BigMan has a lovely home, lovely wife, lovely kids. Unfortunately, my story isn’t about them. I could cobble seven hundred and fifty words together about domestic bliss but it wouldn’t ring true. I mean, for the moment, this here space is a poker blog.

Shall we get to it?

Deciding whether or not to call Mr. Vegas’ push on your big blind while your humble correspondent is the short stack doesn’t even rate as a bibliographical reference to the index of a footnote in the big book of human history. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, that is what this post is about. After putting up my blind, about two thirds of my stack, I mistakenly looked at my cards. Looking was incorrect because it took Vegas’ all of about two heartbeats to bet the rest of my stack. Immediately I saw the idiocy of my action but I went into the tank anyways, trying to think my way through. When Vegas got called, I stopped thinking.

My cards are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. I could be holding 7-2 offsuit and it would pay (in the sense that statistics and probability make sense) to play. I could play the board, I could play the hammer, it didn’t matter. I am getting over 5 to 1 for the rest of my chips. The clarity of pot odds chased out my trepidation. The apprehension from knowing what I held in my hand and the implicit probability (near 0) of a win, simply disappeared. Sometimes though, it makes sense to chip up irrespective of your cards. Ask the FlyingDane, he knows all things about sucking out and imputed, imperfect, improbable pot odds. I go all in, baby. What do I hold? The most fearsome cards in hold ‘em, the lauded hammer, 7-2 offsuit.

I am out in a flash. But I did the right thing. The problem with my game was that I got caught in the bind in the first place. That is today’s lesson kids: Don’t let the blinds get you or rather, don’t get bent because the structure of the tournament caused your downfall. That is the way cookie crumbles.

Big fun at the table anyways. The twenty man tourney split into two tables. My table consisted of the following ten people: theHost, WallyBall, me, Foley, and 5 people I never saw in my life. Host, Wally, and I are seated at one end; the end where the yakking never stops. To my tablemates from game one, if you want us to shut up, deal us hole cards that might stand up to a suited 9-6. Otherwise, your auditory bombardment continues unabated. I must confess that I was the worst perpetrator. Sorry, it’s hard to see 4-2, 8-3, A-2, K-5, 10-7,…and not get disgusted with poker and people. Now hobbling me with stoicism will not stand.

Someone has to speak truth to power.

Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, Vegas bounced me from Game 1. That’s when the BigMan flayed my dignity by making me the banker for Game 2.

I’ll try to get to that story shortly. It has a very, very happy ending.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  I Miss John Belushi
Back in the day, thirty years ago, I could be found on most Friday evenings during the school year behind the bowling alley. There the gang would hang out and drink, imbibe in drugs of dubious legality, and if you were lucky, hook up with the fairer sex.

Ah school days…

Just got to thinking about the scruffy dude with the twelve string acoustic guitar. I forget what his name was, just remembered he hung around the city, singing crappy covers. After a free beer or two, he would start playing his own stuff. Complete with harmonica, he’d ripoff Dylan or Springsteen, hoarse voice, mumbled words, and all.

It was my introduction to the faux-sensitive douchebag. Unkempt hair, shoes without socks, three-day old beard, denim jacket and torn jeans, he was a fashion pioneer or poseur. Not quite sure because I was just a teenager and only recently coming into my own fashion-wise.

I remember the Dude, as he shall be named here, for two things: his aforementioned appearance and the chicks. God, did they love the Dude. As long as he kept playing. Each heartrending ballad from the open roads of the Capital District or Asbury Park made the gals think “Oh my God, he knows, he knows…” Didn’t matter a lick that without the guitar, the girls would sniff “more disgusting Cohoes riff-raff,” he was gold as long as he could play the notes.

On the occasion that he would stop playing and get another beer, I might chat him up at the keg. Having siblings in the mental health business served some purpose as I couldn’t exactly diagnose him but I could determine that he was a bit off.

“Another beer dude?” I inquire.
“Don’t mind if I do. Troubadoring is thirsty work.” He accepts. Naturally.
“Dude, when did you pick up the guitar?”
“Man, it seems like yesterday but it was many, oh so many, years ago. I was doing a stint at CDPC*.” The dude was honest to a fault. And yes, he spoke like that.
“What were you doing there?” I am not doing my job if I’m not following up.
“Oh my man, I had problems. Problems with my Mom, problems with my Dad, problems with the service, and finally problems in the county lockup.”
“And did CDPC help?”
“They gave me the guitar and a new set of problems, with the ladies.”

I see…

Down in the office courtyard, there is another tortured artist belting out his psychotic upchuck, fingering his twelve string. Ruminating on lost love, broken hearts, and failed relationships, he sings to fourteen people, six of whom may be developmentally disabled. He wears a baseball cap, has a ponytail, sports some beard, determines that his stage tee shirt have at least three holes.

I want to rip that guitar out of his hands and smash it to a million splinters.

I guess that makes me another angry white man.

*Capital District Psychiatric Center
Voted Best Blog 2006 by the city of Cohoes, NY. Mr. Friendly humbly accepts this honor as he attempts to stamp out retardation in our lifetime.

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