Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Death and Rebirth of a Salesman

I wrote this after reading Death of a Saleman for the first time.  Yes, I'm probably the only 37 year old on the planet who has never seen a play or read this masterpiece.

But, it hit the spot. 

Here's what I wrote for the discussion in class:

What scared me after reading Death of a Salesman is I saw a little of Biff and Willy in my own life. Willy for the way he works himself to the bone, feels empty inside while grinding out a living because there is no ultimate happiness. Willy: “I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me” (Klinkowitz & Wallace, 2007, p.2341) . No matter how many awards I have won at work, grades achieved, or even the smiles on my kid’s faces, I always think someone is still laughing at me. Despite irreplaceable friendships it was not always like that, it felt forced like I shoved myself into other people’s lives instead of being invited. The grind that Willy was on is similar to what I face. Getting up daily at 4:30am, home after 5pm, and I am typing this around 10pm because after helping with dinner, folding laundry, and tucking the kids in bed I finally get a chance to read a story that touched me a little bit. Sure, my life is nowhere near the mess of Biff or Willy as I have great group of friends, loving wife who does not blindly follow me, but there’s a emptiness, one that make me wonder why I’m still fighting the insecurities of yesteryears and the prospect of not fulfilling the grand life my parents thought their genius son should have (much like Willy talking up Biff too much).

Biff : “I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you” (Klinkowitz & Wallace, 2007, p.2388). It took a head injury, and several years of depression to realize that I enjoy working and that becoming a manager was not the end game, but instead finding work worth doing would keep me hungry to be alive. Writing has a cathartic effect; I can splash my dark feelings onto a page and cast them away like a minnow on a hook ready to hit the lake. Luckily, I stuck with it long enough so I can earn a little coin for my words on the weekends writing about a game that I enjoy due to its social aspect and now after several years at Target there’s work waiting for me in about eight hours that someone cares about, including me.

I could have taken the easy road like Willy, but instead I found the ability like Biff to take stock in who I am, versus who people want me to be and start anew.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2011 WPBT: Here We Go Again

Whitesnake firmly in your ear now?  Good.  Keep it in while reading.

I feel like a smoker having to sneak out behind a building under a rock just to take a drag and bathe in Febreeze before jumping back into cubicallandia.

Yes it’s been awhile, a long while, and like most people my schedule has taken a turn for the busy going on busier after wrapping up Event #48 of the Turbo Championship of Online Poker at PokerStarsBlog Sunday afternoon, there was still a two-hour audit risk assessment memo to write for one of my classes.

A couple of ice cubes in a tall glass with rum and Diet Dr. Pepper cured the nerves enough to sleep. But, nearly two month ago (TWO?!?!?) holy shit time does not stop. Ok, at the beginning of December likeminded individuals gathered once again in the land that Steve Wynn, Fried Twinkies, and $500 Captain and Cokes can be guzzled to your heart’s content.

The 2011 WPBT continued the tradition of meeting fellow degenerates that disguise themselves as people who have their shit together by cloaking their bodies with professional –looking fabrics, massive vocabularies, and college degrees. Yet, we all meet up to take off those things for three to four days in the desert to be people again. Stripped down to a bunch of smiles and real life, no hiding within an Armani suit or perfect hand gestures learned at a corporation’s build-a-better manager seminar.

You get to be you. And if that you happens to enjoy playing slot machines at 4am with a rum and coke in your pajamas, rock the flannels for all they’re worth.

My WPBT started quickly as after I touched down and waited for my roommate to saunter in from California, a little slot play was needed and after losing $50 or so, I was just about to go back up to the room when some magnetic force pulled me to the Rockin Olives bank of slots at the Monte Carlo. While chatting it up with a local who had plenty of cash but chilling after his friend the MLB headed back home, I was more interested in asking questions about his friend. Yes, he has worked a World Series, yes some players are actually pretty cool to chat with, and yes he gets great seats whenever he wants.

Then, my machine started going nutso immediately after breaking the drink seal (since I did not get the 1st class upgrade like last year). JACKPOT! Jumping, overtipping, hand-shaking commenced immediately as I get too excited about these types of things, when working in accounting you can’t too excited about the large numbers in the ledgers since they will never be yours. After filling out my first W-9 it was time for a quick drink at Sherwood Forest.

Quick because the AlCantExperience was bored and needed large drinks and large betting at the Palms for the Pokerati PLO/NLHE game. After a double SoCo/water back for him, usual for me as well and catching up with a friend who’s success I was very happy to hear about (Epic Poker) as we made it into the game for a few hours as one of my favorite reads on Twitter @Alexpokerguy was minding his own business, and politely tapped me on the shoulder when a group of bridesmaids with EPIC ASS gathered in the adjacent high limit slot room. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

After another drink at with Al, it was time to head back to the Sherwood Forest for craps (lost but won because I was surrounded by a table of WPBT go’ers who actually knew what they were doing), and settled in for some PAI GOW with Speaker, Maigrey, Chilly who watched me bet on another guy’s bonus spot and hit a straight flush, then 30 minutes later I hit my own with the seventh card being the same color but different suit and one pip off of a seven-card straight flush. It is my unicorn, and one day I will catch it.

Anything that happened from there to rockin my PJs at 4am before golf is a blur and I apologize if I got 86’d again because you people make this guy too happy just to be there.

I won’t say when the recap on golf, tournament, meeting up with my brother, Raku, LOSING MY VOICE, Rock and Roll half-marathon with several NAKED GUYS and several deep chats will appear on this page. But, I can say.

Thank you for your support. And boobs.