Stock Up On The Neosporin; or, Where’s My T-Shirt, Hank?

Friday, March 11th, 2005, 1:30 pm

Our volleyball league has moved from a local middle school to a plush community center that’s so new you can still smell the paint. Two full-length basketball/volleyball courts, a running track above, two big rooms filled with comfy chairs and TVs (one room has air hockey, foosball and several big video games), a library…its such a fantastic place it makes me glad I don’t pay taxes in the township where its located.

My only beef is with the playing surface in the gym. Instead of hardwood its this rubberized composite stuff that’s probably great for all sorts of activities and will last forever but is not especially forgiving when you land on it. When you play volleyball you occasionally need to dive for a ball, but after one tumble on this stuff I crossed diving off my list of recommended activities. You don’t slide–you skid. I expect a full crop of strawberries to bloom this spring on the elbows of my fellow players.

The surface may have a rubbery sort of texture but it’s still punishing on the body. Right now I feel like I fell off a medium-tall building. Everything hurts, and everything hurts bad. The 4 beers I drank last night took a bit of the edge off, but I forgot to bring a cooler to work today.

We got started and two guys I know came in late, and as they doffed their sweats I saw that Rob was wearing a black T-shirt with “USA POKER TEAM” in white letters across the front. Hey, where did he get that? There were four teams in play and mine quickly established total dominance, and it wasn’t until we got to the bar that I cornered him and asked what gives?

Turns out he was on some website, answered a questionaire, and they sent him the T-shirt. This was last summer, and he didn’t remember the site’s name. Oh well, no biggie…but then he turned around and I saw the “Full Tilt Poker” logo on the back. “Hey!” I said. “I know someone who works for them!”

“Really? Who?”

Here’s where things always get a bit complicated. Whenever I talk about the people I’ve met blogging, I can’t exactly say that I’ve “met” them, because so far I haven’t, not face to face. Not yet. And telling people that “Oh, Hank is this guy I met online”…well, you know how that sounds. It sounds like I was in a chat room dishing on Gilmore Girls, got PM’ed by someone and the next thing I know I’m at the Neverland Ranch dressed in footie pajamas drinking Cosmopolitans with 97 other kids.

I finessed the situation by saying that I enjoy poker and read his blog and the conversation didn’t go too far afield. Much of the conversation last night focused on the basketball games on the tube and the gaggle of cute girls who were sitting at the tables next to ours. Most of these girls are regulars at the bar we go to, all in their early twenties, ranging from the merely cute to the pretty doggone hot. There was an incisive discussion about who the hottest girl was, and being a contrarian at heart I chose not the two girls who dominated the talk but a girl at another table who looked like Avril Lavigne’s sunnier younger sister. The argument ended without resolution.

When I wasn’t watching hoops or girls or the rapidly- and constantly-falling level in my pint glass I was watching “Tilt”, which was on one of the TVs. Until one guy in our group asked that it be switched to basketball, and suddenly I was cut off in the middle of the big Matador-Hellmuth hand. But when I got home and was too exhausted and buzzed to sleep I flipped on the tube and caught the last half-hour.

You wanna talk about STUPID? Now, I admit I haven’t watched the whole thing, I don’t know exactly what’s going on. But you don’t need to be Mark Crispin Miller to tear this show apart.

Let’s see…there’s this huge poker tournament going on, our three heroes are in the middle of it…but they still have time to run off and chat with the FBI. OK, that seems unlikely, but we’ll skip it. Then we see Miami (just Miami) and a Fed go to visit a priest who may have some information about someone mixed up with…whatever it is that’s going on. Like I said, I’ve no clue what’s going on.

But here’s my problem–they ask the priest how he knew this one person, and the priest says something like, “He helped me get through Gamblers Anonymous. We said things to each other that are as sacrosant as what I’m told in the Confessional when people come to me for the absolution of their sins. I won’t reveal what he said to me, not even if I’m subpoened.”

And Miami sighs and says, “C’mon.”

And the priest says, “OK.”

I know, Miami also said something cliched like, “If someone had spoken up sooner, Seymour would still be breathing”. But the thing is, the priest said he would’nt talk, stalling the investigation, and five seconds later he’s agreed to talk. Wow, talk about some narrative tension there! A whole five seconds of doubt! Do I even need to mention that I’m not going to this priest when I have something really hairy to confess?

Next scene, we see Skip, one of the Matador’s completely ineffectual henchmen, coming to visit. I saw him get the crap beaten out of him last week, and indeed his face is messed up and his arm’s in a cast. The Matador says, “Skip, we appreciate your sacrifice. Why don’t you take a little vacation. Go to Tahoe for a few days, here’s the keys to a chalet, you’ll see Raoul, he’ll fix you up.”

Skip says, “Wow, thanks!”

He turns to leave and Everest says, “Skip, we’re gonna take good care of you.”


“Really, really good care.”


“We’re gonna take care of you.”

“OK! Bye now!”

Skip turns to leave and the Matador looks out the window and mutters, loud enough for Skip to hear, “Yeah, we’re gonna take care of you.”

“Yeah, I heard, thanks again! Bye-bye!”

Again, I exaggerate…but only just. Do the writers of “Tilt” think we’re so stupid that we would believe that Skip wouldn’t see that he’s being set up to be killed? I mean, had Madsen simply said, “Skip, go find a secluded spot in the woods and then call me with your GPS coordinates so I can find you and kill you with impunity” it might have been more plausible. Should we feel bad that a guy this stupid was killed? We should be glad he’s been removed from the gene pool.

The scenes with Hellmuth were ehh. I don’t know if it’s ever explained how Phil went from having a huge chip advantage over Everest and then suddenly he’s out of the tournament. I wonder how Phil feels about being in this show after how it’s made poker and poker players look. I mean, the Matador knocks Phil out, then drives to Tahoe (again, shouldn’t he be resting up?) to commit a cold-blooded murder. Yeah, can’t wait to play in the WSOP, I knock out the wrong guy I might get whacked!

OK, some light housekeeping–Otis is in old Vienna covering the latest EPT event. Fortunately each tournament features a two-Isabelle Mercier-picture minimum, so I’m a happy guy. Even though she was knocked out. Which makes me sad, so very, very sad.

Oh, and here’s my attempt to hang with the cool kids in the junior high that is the pokerblogosphere, here’s me as a South Park character:

Christ, I even look dull in cartoon form.

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4 Responses to “Stock Up On The Neosporin; or, Where’s My T-Shirt, Hank?”

  1. BG Says:

    Dude… you’re Butters…

  2. Pauly Says:

    You look more like Happy-go-lucky Gene than MEAN GENE!

  3. Mean Gene Says:

    I’m in disguise…

    Actually, that looks so much like me I could put in on my drivers license and use it to board a commercial flight. I bare my upper teeth when I smile. I have a brown jacket just like that. I wore a goddam black turtleneck yesterday.

  4. hdouble Says:

    I’ll start working on the Tshirt Geno. They are pretty stingy with the gear, since the only way you can get it is by playing thousands of hands. For example, the “Got Tilt?” T shirt will run you 2,000 points, which is a lotta hands. But I can probably swing you a “Ladies Lettuce Edge Scoop Neck Tee”.

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