I was never quite sure what that expression meant. I think I always assumed that it meant something like, when things get hard, you buckle down and get through it. But that's not really what it sounds like when you read it. So I've taken a more literal interpretation of it and it's become my life motto. When the going gets tough, the tough get the fuck outta dodge. Can't stand going out in freehold anymore? Find new friends in a new town. Lehigh doesn't do it for you? Rutgers is an hour away. Can't be around your family another second without risking explosion or implosion? Run away to Atlantic City for a week. Don't sweat it if you don't have a job, it's for everyone's good. And for the most part it was fun, but of course some people just can't help themselves...
It never ends
Maybe some of you guys thought I was exaggerating with the last entry. I don't blame you, I can already hear the objections in your head. First of all, he doesn't leave the house enough to have so many stories of mistaken identity. Secondly, people don't just up and say things like that to me, why would so many people be so blunt with a stranger? Thirdly, where did they get such random names? And finally, he doesn't even look like any of them! 1) True. 2) Good point. 3) I don't know. 4) Absolutely correct. I have no real way of explaining any of this other than to say that people just decide say whatever the hell they want from me. Maybe I just walk around looking like a punching bag that people want to unload on. If you needed further proof, I came across plenty this week down in Atlantic City.
Before I get into the details, though, I want to set the scene for people who are unfamiliar with Atlantic City, casinos, and poker rooms in general. These are intensely ugly places. If you've only been to Vegas then don't even bother imagining a similar place. The only comparison I can think of is that in Vegas you may need to know someone to get into a club, in Atlantic City you need to have a deformity. This is especially true in most poker rooms. If you look around the table you can list the afflictions in your head as you look at each player, "Toothless....Hairless....Jobless....Homeless....Faceless...." So bear in mind that as you look around a poker table at 1:15 AM on a Tuesday night that I'm the best looking person there, hands down..if you have em. So that makes it even more remarkable when it turns into open mic night for the Bryan Brown roast.
And for the record, there was definite fopa.
The first incident occurs while putting my name on the list in the front. The 50-something former addict takes my name and then asks for ID. Typical so I take out my license with the picture of me with short spikey hair, as opposed to my 60's mop of today. She grills it for a second then hands it back and tersely says, "Your hair looks better in the picture." This wasn't friendly banter, there was no smile. She just felt the need to bring one of my flaws to light, which I appreciated. As she's handing it back I go, "Yeah? People seem to be split about it," and I walk away. What the hell did I just say? Why did I dignify her remark and then give her some insight into my life? Stupid AC whore giving me shit and I just joke back about it. I always end up taking the high road but soon enough it's gonna be more like, "Thanks. Your teeth looked better before your meth addiction."
It's a day later and around 7 AM in the cardroom, a particularly eerie hour. Stragglers from the late night games and old people up early combine to form a game that's usually silent. But we caught a break and had a dealer that thought he was a stand-up comedian. He actually turned out to be quite funny mostly because he would have been swiftly fired for any number of things he was saying. At one point my friend Danny chimed in with something about us being strippers, clearly facetious to anyone with a pair of eyes. But this old black lady must have missed her glaucoma medicine, cause she looks at me and goes, "You? No no, you're too small to be a stripper." I'm stunned that someone doesn't know that that was a joke but roll with it and say, "Oh really? Fine you're not getting a lap dance then. It's all about the eye contact, lady, but now you'll never know." Got a good laugh out of the table but once again I laid off instead of giving her what she deserved. If a big fat woman told you she was a stripper, would you guffaw and then go, "Yeah right! You're too fuckin fat!" No, no you wouldn't.
We're into the late morning hours and there's actually a girl our age at our end of the table. Being the only people of sound mind and since I was carddead anyway, we became friends. It basically consisted of striking up friendships with the Asian dealers Ngoc and Hong for kicks, since they spoke no English outside of "Check-or-bet" and would smile politely to anything you said. But of course this wasn't just me being funny, I had to look like someone. So here it comes:
"You remind me of someone..."
"My favorite part of the day..."
"You remind me of Pauly Shore."
"What, have you heard that before?"
PAULY SHORE! In what way am I like Pauly Shore at all. Actually fuck it, it doesn't matter even if we're twins. Just another name on the list. Within 30 minutes I capped preflop and then got the rest of my stack in with KK vs. KT and lost, naturally. Simply remarkable. I walked around the casino for an hour wondering who it will be next week: Hideki Matsui, Simon Birch, Hillary Swank?
Aaaaand enough. Good stuff comes next time, that's just harder to dig up.