Las Vegas, NV
I once befriended a hooker.
That didn't come out right. I should say that... I once became chummy with a call girl.
OK, now I'm really starting to dig myself a hole and my girlfriend is ready to grill me with a thousand and one different questions. Let me clarify even more... I had become acquainted with a high end call girl from New York City. We never actually met officially. Just lots of emails back and forth. She was an avid reader of my personal blog, Tao of Pauly, and a sometime commenter on Coventry Music. She seemed rather ordinary with one exception... she had sex with men for money. She did make any excuses about it. She enjoyed sex and had no problems selling herself. And her cookies weren't cheap.
Her philosophy was simple. Society was hypocritical and pointing fingers at prostitutes when they were all prostitutes themselves.
Look, we're all whores at some time in life. Some of us less, others are more. Sure we might not be taking it in the ass in the literal sense, but who among us hasn't been royally fucked over?
If you ain't a pimp, then you're a whore.
I didn't say that. Neither did Shakespeare or Bob Dylan. It might have been Ice-T or Ice Cube, Pete Nice from 3rd Bass, or one of the crew from Wu Tang? I forget exactly who, but the source of the quote doesn't matter as much of the simplicity of the underlying fact of the statement. It actually goes back to something I have written many times before... we live in a use and abuse society. If you ain't using someone, then you're getting abused by someone.
Pimps and hos. Royalty and peasants. The haves versus the have nots.
No matter what city I lived in, or what industry I worked in, I've always come across a section of people who will do nothing short of trying to exploit you. It's the nature of the game of life. Politicians do it all the time -- they use us to get into office and once that happens they will keep using us to stay in office. They're not really looking out for our interests, rather, they're concerned with their careers, their legacies, and paying back the juntas and companies who funded their campaigns to begin with. To the puppets in DC, we're that cute piece of ass that they want to nail... and will do anything possible to get us in the sack. Once the deed is done... that's it. They are going to fucking sleep. The worst thing is that they didn't even pay you. You did it for free.
Big Business entities are the most ruthless pimps on the planet. Come on, you don't actually think they care about your well being and compensating you for what you're really worth? To them you're just a number. If they could outsource your job or hire an illegal Mexican... they would. That's why it's important that you're are the ideal employee in their eyes -- to be blunt -- a fuckin' sheep. Otherwise, you have to be truly talented and indispensable. That's the only way they will put up with your bullshit and demand for higher wages.
A couple of years before the drugs war exploded in towns along the US/Mexico border, I first heard about the feminicidios... horror stories about scores of missing young women who were later found raped, murdered, and missing body parts. During my first visit to Juarez, Mexico I noticed pink crosses at the side of the road. I asked my friend from El Paso about the origins of the pink crosses and she clued me in on the feminicidios. The crosses were memorials constructed at the sites where dismembered bodies were discovered.
The feminicidios began in the mid-90s and escalated through the millennium. Some religious feared that the missing women were part of ritual killings during fin de siecle. A few journalists were had a theory the murders were the evil doings of the worst serial killer of all time. Law enforcement types suggested the murders were a precursor to the drug wars. The exact number of feminicidios varied from 500 to 5,000. Who knows for sure how many women died?
Many of those murdered young women shared something in common -- they worked at maquiladoras -- or massive sweat shops and factories for international corporations seeking dirt cheap labor. I read one theory that bus drivers were the ones doing the killings. Most of these workers had to be bussed from Juarez city center to the factories. When the girls refused the sexual advances of the bus drivers, they were raped, killed, and tossed out like a piece of trash.
However, the most compelling theory is the most haunting. One journalist suggested that the young women were killed because they were getting out of line at the work place by demanding higher wages and better working conditions. When they attempted to unionize or stand up to their bosses, they were quickly "removed" from the factory and never seen again.
What really happened in Juarez in the 1990s and early 2000s? No one knows for sure. My grand hypothesis is that combination of all of the above, but specifically the theory about the factories killing off workers who showed any dissent. After all, when was the last time the mutilated corpse of a "Yes Man" was found on the side of the road?
Ruthless suits don't resort to those gruesome tactics in the American workplace... yet. But more and more we're learning every day what happens to good citizens who are fed up with the system, unplugging themselves from the Matrix, and demanding their true rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately,it's easy to upset the herd when you roam the other way. Anyone outside of the box who decides to march to the beat of a different drummer is an instant target for ridicule. Our fear mongering society is quick to point the dissenters out to authorities. Once the federales get involved, who knows what happens next.
Yes, we're mostly a world of whores. Some of us grow up to be pimps, which is sort of like the lesser of two evils. Sadly, that's the supreme goal in life... to be the one exploiting a stable of prostitutes... instead of being the whore, turning tricks for peanuts.
In the end getting paid is still better than doing it for free. Sure, I write plenty of stuff for free on my blogs -- probably close to one million words -- but that's all part of a greater master scheme to get you to buy my books.
So kids, just remember that only sluts do it for free. Pro whores do it for the paycheck.
Please leave your cash on the dresser before you go.
Buddha preaches tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness. But the Big Bald B never had to deal with the infantile jerkoffs I've encountered in poker that tainted the WSOP.
I have a simple rule when I'm working -- if I can hear you over the background music that is played at a reasonable volume, then you're loud are therefore annoying me and eligible for an asshole fine.
God knows, well Buddha knows too, that when I start compiling lists of people I want to handout asshole fines to -- then I've lost all grip on Buddhism, which in essence is losing all faith in humanity. I can only deal with people depending on my philosophical leanings of that day. When I'm an existentialist or nihilist, then I either don't believe in or don't care about humankind. Right now, I'm in between philosophies of life, so it's a prickly stage. Ergo, why I have the sudden urge to impose asshole fines to nimrods and fucktards at the Rio.
When I go out partying on Phish tour, my friends came up with the concept of a "Wook Ticket" which is a fine you levy against someone who is doing incredibly stupid shit, committing party fouls, or acting shady in any other arena. Shit, we even give ourselves tickets as a joke, but also as a reminder we need to remember to have fun, but in a semi-responsible way.
I wish I had the balls (and the free time) at the WSOP to hand out asshole fines and "Tampon of the Day" awards. I know a few people who'd be racking up fines and tampons all summer. When I worked on Wall Street, if you complained about something too much you'd get "Tampon'd" or simply put, if you walked away from your desk to go to the bathroom or to a meeting, then you'd come back only to discover that someone taped a maxi-pad to your computer screen. I'm sure some of my readers find that offensive and sexist. And it is. But your daily goal was simple -- get through the day without killing anyone (especially yourself) and make sure you don't say anything that will warrant a barrage of tampons attached to your screens.
I'm at a rough spiritual point, something that always happens three weeks into the WSOP. Luckily, I'm my own boss and call the shots, so I'm counting the hours until embed myself with hippies for a three day music festival on July 4th weekend (a much need R&R before the Main Event). The festival experience is grounding in many ways and restores my faith in humanity and community. Spending the summers in Las Vegas dodging temptation around every corner and writing bullshit about the glorious pursuit of fame and power that is fueled by greed often warps my brain. It seems like every summer is like Dante's Circles of Hell for me as I drop out of purgatory and lose complete sight of heaven.
And it's when I get sucked out of purgatory and spit out into the hell's furnace that I lose faith in people. Michalski used to give me guff that I was a "people hater." He was half-joking, but noticed that I had an unyielding disdain for a significant amount of people. To clarify, I dislike a small group of certain people, but quickly write off anyone who happens to be a malicious parasite, or a black hole for negativity.
One of my biggest flaws is that I used to give people second and third and fourth chances. But after a while, I realized all of this Buddhist tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness malarkey is a load of horseshit. The act of forgiveness allows assholes to continue to act like assholes.
I would love it if assholes actually thought: "Shit, I fucked up, but I got a second chance, so I'm gonna try harder and be less of an asshole."
But in reality, it's more like, "Hahahah. I acted like an asshole and got away with it. Guess what? Now I can act more like an asshole because you're a pussy and a pushover. You're letting me take advantage of you, so I will continue to be an asshole."
When I come to those realizations, man oh man, my blood boils. That's when people I would normally shine on and turn the other cheek will evoke the wrath of my ire. Instead of letting them walk all over me, I will stand up and call then out for their douchebaggery.
One of the most important things I learned in life is that you have to stand up to bullies and assholes every once in a while. Because let's face it -- an asshole is not going to be less of an asshole because you call him/her out on it -- but, they definitely will become a bigger asshole if you let them get away with it.
I try my best to avoid going on people tilt. When Buddha's teachings couldn't help me, I turned to generic Vicodin, Percosett and other painkillers. Man, of man, did those little white pills help out immensely. The biggest jerkoffs and tools that I knew all of a sudden became Mother Theresa. It's funny how an opiated feeling makes you more tolerant of assholes.
I've often referred to Xanax as "crying baby repellent" during plane trips. Well, along those lines, painkillers is "asshole repellent" because when I gobble up fistfuls of pharmies, then and only then, I can be around the worst of the worst because I'm at eternal peace and can't feel a fucking thing.
It took me over 30+ years before I figured out that family gatherings are a lot less hellacious when I'm faded to the tits on opiates. A few self-righteous readers will chastise me for my unconventional behavior because I'm relying on an unhealthy coping method in order to deal with these people, but my counter argument is this -- I don't have a substance abuse problem when these assholes are not around. Ergo, I don't have a drug problem, rather I have a people problem.
Most of the year, I do what I can to avoid undesirable people. But sometimes, like family holidays and difficult working environments at the WSOP, I am unable to avoid contact with said undesirables. Asshole avoidance is impossible. So, you either have to be proactive and attack the assholes by reminding them that they are indeed assholes, or make the conscious decision to kick their ass. Alas, I'm a lover and not a fighter. The last time I threw a punch was during a bar fight in Argentina a few years ago. I don't intend to use violence ever again -- unless the assholes I'm railing against continuously fuck with my friends and loved ones.
I have been seeking out a peaceful resolution and want to coexist with the undesirable tilt monkeys, but when I'm unable to channel Buddha, I numb the pain with synthetic opiates.
No wonder the pharmaceutical companies, Big Tobacco, and the beer makers/booze producers are so fucking rich, because they sell three escapes that the masses turn to when they are overrun by assholes -- which happens to be everyday.
I used to love poker, but I've let a few assmunchers ruin what used to be a perfectly good time. The world is getting weirder and weirder every fucking day. Life is too short to let those fuckers win. It's time to start thinning the herd. Asshole fines will commence immediately.
It's time to start having fun at the WSOP again.