Jinxed? Not Me

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008, 5:39 pm

Yesterday? Not so bad. We finished up around 3:30AM, thanks in large part to a couple of brutal coolers (Michael Mizrachi did something to anger the Poker Gods, the way they smote him) and the short stacks failing to double. We showed up thinking the final table was at two but, no, it’s at three. And it probably won’t start on time, since these TV tables never do. I’ll probably be another long day, though the two limit final tables I did last year weren’t marathons. I know–I’m jinxing myself, and this after lecturing Matt last night about his obliviousness to jinx protocol. But by mentioning a potential jinx in advance, you provide some measure of anti-jinx. You see how this all works?

I think of myself as a fairly rational fellow, level-headed, an empiricist, if you will. Give me the data, show me the facts. Don’t tell me what you "think", show me what is real. All that pretentious nonsense aside, I am absolutely riven with superstitions and weird routines and, yes, jinxes. Don’t keep talking about how long a final table will take–that’s a jinx. Don’t wash your Malkin jersey after a Penguins victory–what, you wanna wash the luck away? When watching a sporting event at Mark’s DO NOT stand in the doorway leading to the sun room. You did that during the Steelers’ Super Bowl run and used up all the positive energy.

These insane ideas are so deeply ingrained now that identifying and acting upon them is pure reflex. When I play tennis and I whistle a first serve down the middle I try to retrieve that ball for the next point. Before I leave home to play volleyball I always brush my teeth. When I’m playing video poker and I’m dealt three of a kind I always say, sotto voce,  "Bitches?". And of course I’m not the only person who succumbs to these crazy rituals and mantras. Hell, most people have their weird little totems and routines. Why? To be sure, most of us are touched in the head in some way, and if the level of your insanity only reaches the "I only drink with my left hand" stage you’re unlikely to end up in a straitjacket.

And these goofy superstitions make life a little more fun, yes? It’s nice to think that your team has a better chance to win if everyone in the room switches seats and reverses their jerseys. There’s also this–there is still much we don’t understand about the Universe. Dark matter, quantum mechanics, the state of the cosmos before the Big Bang. Hey, maybe the Penguins DID lose Game 6 because I had to work and didn’t watch it in our condo. That is a responsibility I’m more than willing to shoulder. Hell, I’m already shouldering it, I KNOW the Pens would’ve won had I been sitting on the couch drinking Sierra Nevada (and only Sierra Nevada, and ONLY from a glass). If I feel like it’s all my fault, I might as well get some credit for bearing the shame so gracefully.

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