Friday, January 06, 2006

A Day in the Life: A Guest Post from BigMike

Editor's Note: As you know, I'm off for the first two weeks of the year working on my Las Vegas book project. In the meantime, my friends will be taking over the Tao of Poker. Here's the third of a collection of guest posts from your favorite bloggers. BigMike is the one guy I know that should have a blog. (Well he has a blog, but has written anything on it yet!) He's one of the most intelligent people that I know and has a wealth of stories. I'm honored that he chose to share some personal things with us today. As AlCantHang wrote me, "This is as close as anyone is going to get inside of Bigmike." Agreed. Thanks again, BigMike!

A Day in the Life


Is this thing on?

Although I am criminally busy keeping my own blog fresh and current, I have consented to do a guest post for Dr Pauly as he recently did me a solid. Unfortunately, his blog style differs greatly from mine, so I will need to make some adjustments so that his audience is not disappointed. Please excuse my humble scribblings, they are in no way a match for the usual content you have come to expect from the good doctor.

What the hell... let me think a second...

So, I got dealt pocket aces. I was about fourth in chip count at a table of eight. I was dealt AA and went all in. Everyone with more chips than I had called. I was in the blig blind and they thought I was bluffing. I never bluff exept when I do. Besides, it is a goddamned free roll. I hate tournaments. I love leaving when I grow bored when I am seriously up. The side pot calculations were giving me a headache, so since I was all in, I went to the next item on my stack.

Steve called earlier in the day to tell me Michael was sick and they were off to the hospital. I had not had an update in about four hours so I sent him a text to ask the prognosis. I try not to bother them when these things happen, but the initial call concerned me. The text came back quickly: "Will call in 1hr may need surgery."

I winced. This kid is only three, but he already has my heart. I texted back, "Call when you need to talk. Take care of business. Love to you all."

How anal am I to use punctuation in text messages?

The flop came, A77. Nice. Still some side betters. Someone bets, someone raises. Stacks rise and fall. I am confident that my boat will float. More betting...

Item number three on my stack calls. It is my lovely aunt who takes care of my mother and ensures that I do not have too much disposable income. I get up from the table. Who cares, I am all in. The smells of the burning wood coming from the table tell me there is thought occurring at the table. Pot odds. Super Systems. Real odds. Odd reals. Whatever.

I leave the table. I am all in.

My mother has been dying for 20 years. Not in the sense that we are all dying from the moment we emerge from the nice dark humid room into this vale of toil and sin, but literally dying. When I was 15, my mother, in a valium rage (no really she's allergic) ejected me from my boyhood home. I proceeded to move in with my grandparents. Subsequently I went to a Public university after my grandfather informed me that Harvard was out of the question due to financial limitations. When I was nineteen, my mother had her first heart attack and reached out to me for the first time in four years. She was having a quintuple bypass (no balloon angio in those days kids). What the hell, she was still my mother so I went back. I sat in the hospital while she cried about the life she would not live. She was 46. It was finals week. I had not spent four years planning my escape from that one horse town to lose my academic scholarship, so I waited until the surgery was done and drove the 110 miles back to school to take my first test. All during the surgery, I was cramming calculus. Math does not come easy to me. I took the test (passed) and drove back to visit her for 15 minutes. You could only visit for 15 minutes every four hours. Her relatives were there, but they did not speak to me.

I was the one who abandoned her. When I managed to flag down the doctor, he told me: "She has a lot of damage to her heart. I would not expect her to make it more than six months."

Since then, I have relived that particular joy at least four times. Each time, the speech is the same.

"Michael, this is your Aunt Ruthie."

Caller ID escapes these people.

"Hello aunt ruthie, how is my mother?"

"She collapsed again during the dialysis. They have rushed her to the emergency room."

The caller waiting Caller ID starts to beep. I check, and it is the nursing home. Nice of them to call. Voice Mail.

"They don't know why she is passing out. Her kidneys are bad and so is her liver. They are not feeding her and her fluids are restricted. If my diabetes weren't so bad I would tell them but no one cares and they will not talk to me because you are her guardian. Honey did you send that letter? I don't know. I cashed your check, that god for the money. I was in a tight spot. Now remember not to tell anyone about this. It is between you and I. I will pay you back....."

Caller ID again. It is Steve.

"Aunt ruthie, hold on one second."

I click over to Steve.

"How is my namesake?"

"He doesn't need the surgery. His fever broke and he is responding. We may be able to take him home tomorrow. I am getting a hotel room so we can shower."

"Great news! Call me back if you need to talk, my mother collapsed again I am on the other line."

"Alright, talk to you later."

"My love to all of you."

"Same here. I hope your mom is alright."



"Yes aunt ruthie I am back. Where is my mother now?"

"The hospital. They had to do CPR on her! I don't know. My water bill is due..."

"How much?"

"No, you have done enough."

"Aunt ruthie, I don't have time. How much?"


"Same account number as in August?"

"Oh honey, I have no one. I am so sorry but...."

My aunt ruthie had divorced her first husband a few years before my parents euthanized their relationship. She made it abundantly clear to her children that they could never see their drunken no good father again. Of course, she had not counted on him inheriting nearly $25 million dollars 5 years after the divorce. When that happened, he contacted the now grow children and basically said he had not been in their lives for five years. He knew their mother had turned them against him so he would hold no grudges. Each of them could be lifted from their blue collar obscure lives and share in his riches. He would give them houses, get them educated, give them jobs. Their ship had arrived. One condition: NO CONTACT WITH THEIR BELOVED MOTHER. As one of them explained to me in a chance meeting, he said he wished he was above that sort of thing, but as she had continually pointed out, he was NOT. To this day, only her daughter with Downs still talks to her.

She has 7 grandchildren she has never seen. Karma is a bitch especially when there is a bitter assistant lending a hand.

" are the only help I get."

God bless wifi. I had already paid the bill.

"Aunt ruthie, I will call the hospital and get an update in a little bit. I will let you know what is going on."

"I love you kid."

"I love you too."

(What the hell? The truth is like atomic technology. Best used in a controlled fashion.

"Call me when you find something out kid. I love you".

The turn is a 2. Nice. I wish the table were full of bloggers playing a hammer boat. More all ins, more pot splitting. Big chip is thinking about it. What the hell is there to think about? It is a free roll for god's sake. My phone vibrates again. It is my realtor Patsy. I love that name. Any AbFab fans in the hizz-ouse? I walk away from the table.

"Patsy, what is the word. I have not heard from Dennis. Is my grandparents house cleaned out yet?"

My grandmother died in June. My grandfather died two years ago. I loved my grandfather more than anyone on earth. The old woman, as I affectionately called my NaNa, was an acquired taste. Fortunately, I had acquired it. I was surprised she made it as long as she did. They had been together over sixty years, and when someone you are that attached to, for better or worse dies, usually the other person follows soon after.

"Well Michael, Dennis has had some issues. It will be one more week."

"Patsy! Sweetie! I need to sell that house! I need cash. I have had to cut back on my drinking and gambling and was recently forced to switch to domestic women. This is a cash crisis. Embezzlement only goes so far Pats. Price the thing to move."

Patsy is blissfully free of irony.

"But what should I set as a price?"

"Patsy sweetie, you are the expert. Whatever you say sweetie darling, I just want cash."

Patsy has never seen AbFab either. (Really, no AbFab fans?) She never balks when I call her sweetie darling.

"But what price. Do you remember the numbers I gave you Michael?"

"Patsy, I don't remember my inseam."

The next all in is called. I have the nuts, who cares?

"Patsy, take the comparative market valuation and add 10%. It is a depressed area. If no bites in one month, shave the price 10% and then list it as reduced. If still no bites, reduce another 10% and list it as criminally reduced, priced to sell. If you need cash on the back end, no problem, just move the shit! I gotta go, the river is rising."

"Okay Michael, what about the other property?"

"One nightmare link in the chain at a time, sweetie. Freedom is not free. Oh the river..."

The river is a 2. Hmmm. Two pair on the board and my ace. Hmmm. Can the gods be so cruel. Poker baby! Another all in call! You must be joking! My phone is buzzing again. UNKNOWN. The bane of all Caller ID worshippers. Another pregnant pause while the lone chip possessor considers it. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! FREEROLL! Someone act. I answer the phone. No one even notices at this point. I have not had any movement since the all in, so why would they care.

Unknown is usually work. I hate work. Why wasn't I born rich instead of good lucking. (Rich, well hung, charming, orphaned, brilliant...)


"Hey Mike, it's Dunce from work (name fictionalized to protect the stupid). This job turnover you put in that said to call you with any questions. I have a question. What is the problem. We just had a shift change and I don't really understand what is going on with this customer..."

Call waiting / Caller ID. The hospital where my mother is. Got to take this one.

"Hold on a second, I have another call."


"Michael, this is Dr. Cameron (I fucking wish! Any House fans in the crowd? Tuesdays 9PM. TIVO it. Brilliant.) Your mother is in bad shape. They over dialysized her due to fluid build up around the heart. It did not help. She is on borrowed time. I am doing my best to stablize her but..."

"I want to talk to her." "Well, I will get the nurses to transfer the call into CICU but you should know that..."

"The last time I talked to her, he legs were itching and in pain. What are you doing about the symptoms? I know she is dying, she has been dying for 20 years, but what are you doing to make her comfortable?"

"Listen YOU, I have tried every God Damned anti itching med there is. She breaks my heart. You got a year out of her she would not have had without dialysis. You need to..."

"Doc, I like you. I don't need to do anything. Put her on a morphine drip if you have to."

"Her heart won't take that. She only has 20% usage of her heart at this point. Morphine might do her in. I will be consulting with her nephrologist, but her liver is failing too. That is what is causing her itching. I am sorry."

"Doc, I understand. It has been 20 years of this. Do you have any idea how long?"

"It's in God's hands now. Not reall-y soon, but not really long either."

Fan-bloody-tastic. That is nice and precise.

"Thanks for the call Doc, let me talk to my mother."

A few clicks later, and she answers. "Hello honey."

"Hello mother, how are you?"

"I want a beer and they won't give me one. Aunt ruthie brought me a hot dog with no sauerkraut. She brought me a cheese log too, but I wanted the sauerkraut. I hate when she tries to keep things from me. They won't give me any broth in my soup because of dialysis. I had a cheese sandwich today. I like the satellite you got me, I get the hallmark channel. They had a movie on today about..."

The bet is called. My God what a mish-mash of all ins. I have no clue who has what. It is time to flip the cards.

Aces over 7's. Read them and weep suckers. I have the nuts! Aces over sevens! What do the peasants have?

WOW! Sevens over twos! Amazing! Two boats! Sadly, mine beats his. Aces and Sevens! Wow two pair! Sevens and Deuces!

Nice hand, thanks for playing. What the hell were you doing in this hand? And finally, you guessed it, (or did you)

THEMS QUAD DEUCES BITCHES!!! Fortunately the voice was in my head.

"And so I want to go back to the nursing home. I don't like the TV here. The food is no good either. Honey, are you at work? I hate to bother you, but can you talk to the doctor. I really need something for the itching. And I am so thirsty and they will only..."

"Mother, you have to control your fluid intake. Your kidneys can't handle any more."

"I know, but that beer we had when you took me to dinner was so good. You know I haven't had a beer in a long time and..."

"Mother, when I get up there we will have lobster and beer. Screw the doctor! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Right?"

"Honey, come up soon. They listen to you. I don't want to say anything, I don't want to get them mad at me. I like the girls at the home and at dialysis. I don't want to say anything. Please come home this weekend."

"Of course, I will bring lobster and beer. I will come on Sunday. You will be back in the nursing home home by then."

"Okay honey, well I will leave you go. Thanks for calling."

"Love you Mother."

"I love you too honey. Don't forget the butter with the lobster because lobster without butter is no good."

"Yes, mother."

CLICK! Work! I almost forgot! (You did too, right?) A brief explanation of what I CLEARLY spelled out in the Queens English and I am off with work. I hate when I have to explain my writing! Dear reader, am I really that unclear? Work was dispatched with authority and the necessary reassurance. Gently dispatch I might add. I too was once new.

Oh shit! A bad beat story. Please forgive me Felicia. I read her blogging rules and she said no one wants to hear a bad beat story. Oh well, what's done is done. By the way, I love Felicia and you should too. If you don't, I have no explanation. Felicia is in my top ten. Felicia, Maudie, Pauly, G-Vegas anyone, Alcanthang, Evacanthang...

I hope that doesn't start a controversy, but it no doubt will. Fuck y'all if you can't take a joke. Life is laugh or cry the way I see it. (Have any of you seen the Fantasticks? A great play. There is one scene where the female protagonist is dancing and she sees suffering all around her and her dancing partner says "MASK!" She protests, but finally puts on her mask and then laughs at the suffering. No? Sorry, my references are much too obscure I am told). But seriously, quad twos! Who the hell would hold a pair of twos like that? I mean look at the flop! Live poker is rigged, like Life!

Bonus code LOVEME!

Dr. Pauly, I did what I could.

BigMike OUT! Peace!

BigMike is AlCantHang's wheelman and personal bodyguard. Some day he'll not only start posting to his blog, he'll actually give it a title.

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