Poker Face.

The game is clear…he has two pair, you have a straight….straight face that is, whilst holding five cards of pure nonconsecutive, unmatched shit. Not one pair, not one suit. But you need to get your fucking game face on and beat this mother fucker at his own game!

Whew, that escalated quickly. Let me take a Xanax real quick (kidding, I don’t take those) and simmer down. It’s a game, it’s all a game. From the selective sweet words, to the ol’ asking for forgiveness rather than permission setup, to the intense cuddling, to the phone calls and visits, etc. It’s the hand he’s dealing you, Monday through Thursday; a fucking Royal Flush. Stakes are high, which means the reward is high.

Friday and Saturday however, you’re lucky to get two pair…maybe even three of a kind. Why? Because the penny slot machines are there, cheap to play and much less of a risk if he were to lose. When he gets bored with one machine, he moves to another. Hell, he may even spend a whole quarter to get his fix. While you’re holding your cards thinking, “okay, three of a kind is good…I might win with this hand,” he’s playing another game. The game other like-minded players can afford; pennies, nickels, quarters.

You lose, sweetheart. Dealer’s choice.

You question how your three of a kind didn’t win because surely he didn’t have better. He didn’t. He just wanted to play another game. A game you weren’t playing because he already won the one with you, whether his hand was actually better or not. He already knows you’re sitting there contemplating your hand, until he decides to play the game with you again. And while you’re sitting there dumbfounded and visibly so, he gathers the cards back up, shuffles, and starts again.

This goes on. And on, and on, and on. Until one day you realize that no matter how many games you’ve played with winning or losing hands, there’s no progression because once you feel like the winnings are certain, he folds. He returns to the penny slots and you start getting frustrated. Tears may even ensue out of pure frustration. Sitting there alone, staring at your cards, wondering how do you get better at this game? How do you win? Why do you keep playing, anyway???

Because you enjoy the company, the thrill. You enjoy the Royal Flush you’re dealt from time to time and what feeling like you won the jackpot does to you. You continue to risk the uncertainty of the hands your dealt for the few glimmering moments of happiness the feeling of winning gives you. It’s orgasmic, it’s genuine, it’s unique, it’s love. It has to be, with so much passion…right?

Well, sort of. You’re gambling…and with that, you’re putting something at risk: your money, your time, your possessions, or even worse, your heart. Taking chances is great, but when the gamble means sitting at the table holding your cards until the dealer returns from his break, what are you getting out of it? Just walk away from the table!

It is never that easy. Some even call gambling a disease. It definitely could lead to addiction though, that’s for sure. So what do you do if you’re not ready to walk away or if you’ve become addicted? You get better at the game. You think of what you need to do to not only keep your head in it, but always and I mean always look like you’re winning. Even when you know there’s no chance in hell this hand will win, look the part.

Play the game and keep playing until you’ve exhausted all possibilities of winning, you’ve had enough, and you’re ready for rehab. But if you want to continue to play, even when the dealer steps away, then get your fucking poker face on and play that game. When the dealer goes to the penny slots, why not give roulette a try. Put the cards down without wondering whether or not you have the winning hand, and go have some fun with black jack. Heh.

Point is, DO NOT LET HIM BEAT YOU AT THE GAME. Even if he has the winning hand, smirk and re-shuffle those damn cards like you are mother fucking David Blaine and start again. Poker face, on…even when you look at your hand-o-shit. Squint those eyes, purse those lips, and play. You’ll never win if you never try and you’ll always lose if you always give up. So long as you want to play this game, play it, and play it with fucking ferocity.

Remember, when those penny slots entice him, grab an ice cold cocktail and brush up your skills with some cheap video poker on the other end of the casino. Game on, sister. Game. ON.

 

 

 

 

Final Destination.

Yesterday, my cousin’s husband posted on Facebook: “Thank God i didn’t end up working in Vegas God has other plans for me i was going to work that event (Sonny).”

This morning, my other cousin posted: “My brother n law Sonny just passed away :(.” 

Um….woah. WOAH. First of all, I feel it’s in bad form to post something like that on social media before the rest of the family even had a chance to find out. That irritates me, but I digress. Secondly, Sonny was in (from what I know) good health and just like any other day, was going to carry on with life but sadly, didn’t even wake up this morning.

Floods of comments and posts “praying” and offering condolences appeared faster than I could keep up with, while scrolling to try to find out what the hell happened. Then I called my other cousin and asked if she read that post, she said her mom already called her. Then she brought up a good point…she said “I don’t know, that’s some final destination shit.” Referring to the movie, Final Destination, where (if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it) a group of teenagers “escape death” by getting kicked off a plane that shortly after takeoff, crashed. From then, death tumultuously progressed from one person to another who missed the flight. One accident after another picked off each person in the order they would have died, if they would have stayed on the flight.

The movie posed the question, is our death planned out for us? And by whom? Would we live differently if we knew the date and cause of our own death? I am not heartless, I am saddened by Sonny’s death. I am confused as to what happened. I am thinking about the last time I saw him, probably a year ago. He was a funny guy who you could joke around with. I liked Sonny and he seemed to make my cousin happy all these years. I feel so sad for their children.

But making sense of a sudden death for me, means over-analyzing it in even the most unforeseen ways, such as linking it to a “Final Destination” type scenario. Sonny, less than 24 hours ago, told Facebook that he was supposed to be in Las Vegas at the music festival where the worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred. Claiming that “God has other plans for me” really irked me when I originally read it, but now I’m thinking about death. Death, as a “God.”

Everyone claims God to be a creator, but is [any] God also a destroyer? There’s much debate about the role a God plays in life, creating it, ending it…but if any spiritual being is one that takes life away, why worship said spiritual being? We punish humans for ending lives, but some feel it’s “God’s plan” when lives end? Hmmm….

That paradoxical question, I fear, will never have an answer. Ever. So why did Sonny die? Was it simply “his time” or “God’s plan” and because of whatever reason he missed working the music festival as he normally would, death decided to take him anyway? Is death also a spiritual being? I have so many questions.

The only thing certain in life is death. Imagine if we knew when we are going to die. Would we avoid everything that particular day just to “stay safe.” Or, would death eventually find us and take life anyway, as it did in the movie. When is my time? When is yours? If we smack death in the face by gratefully notifying others we were “glad we missed it,” will we then be punished regardless? Conclusively, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. We live to die and we die to live. Though we can’t live in a safety bubble nor can we avoid the moment our life is cut short. Even if we seemingly do avoid it, we will ultimately, whether we’re ready or not, reach the unfortunate finish line.

So death…a mysterious part of life and as I stated, the only certainty in it, WHY? It makes you think though, or at least I hope it does…there are so many ways to die, but there are just as many if not more, ways to live. While Sonny and the victims of Sunday’s shooting are now as we say, “resting in peace” I implore you…do your best to also live in peace.

There’s a saying that I love: “it’s about the journey, not the destination.” So knowing we will eventually reach our final destination, get there with laughter, love, happiness, knowledge, and experiences that will make you look back and know that when it is your time to go, you’ve lived wonderfully and can look death in the face and simply say, “okay.”

Prayer.

What a word. What a concept. What a mind-boggling and powerful way to send condolences or blessings to any given noun one feels the need to. But what does it mean exactly? WHO or WHAT are you praying to? HOW may I ask, are you “sending” prayers?

A God by definition, is “the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.” That being said, why are so many “sending prayers” via a source of moral authority who seemingly “allows” tragic events like a mass shooting to occur? Am I the only one who feels that sounds a bit like an oxymoron? Where’s the morality in that?

So…what do people hope to accomplish by crafting so many “sending my prayers to…” posts on social media? Does that make them a good person; a God-fearing person? If I’m 100% honest (some tell me I’m TOO honest), these posts annoy the crap outta me!

Slow your blood from insta-boiling and hear me out. I get it, I really do…everyone wants to appear sympathetic. Everyone wants to look like a good person, like they care, etc. But what is that post doing? Other than generating some “likes” and “OMG so sad!” comments, it does absolutely nothing. Nothing for the affected, anyway. It’s really only stroking the writer’s ego. I can pretty much guarantee that 90% of people who say the word “pray” in any variation (especially via social media) are not and have not in fact, prayed in any way, shape, or form for the present circumstance and probably have not done so in who knows how long.

That’s fine, really. Social media has become the common platform to express one’s rightful opinion and when you think about it, that’s all that “praying” post is, an opinion. An opinion when you don’t really have an opinion, but so desperately want to be apart of the commonality that makes one feel they’ve contributed something to the greater good.

I woke up this morning to a text from a co-worker saying “please tell me you weren’t in Vegas this weekend.” Shortly after, my boyfriend showed me his phone and said “did you see this?” I immediately started reading about it and listened to the radio for updates on the way to work; each description of what happened made me cry.

I pictured the fear struck in everyone at the festival and I got a gut-wrenching feeling as if I was just punched in the stomach. I had to sit in the parking lot at work and wipe the tears before I walked in…like everyone else, I just couldn’t believe it. Then I turned on my computer and read the headlines which included video clips of the moment it happened, so I logged onto Twitter. I figured the only way I could help at this point was search and re-tweet the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s important blood donation center information/phone numbers to locate loved ones’ posts. That was me, doing my small part. . . but it is not enough.

In the midst of countless redundant posts “sending prayers to Las Vegas,” I just about went on a (shorter than this blog post) rant on Facebook, but realized it was useless. As the sun is beginning to set, less and less of these posts are popping up and everyone seems to be calming their effervescent condolences and going back to business as usual. Look at my selfie, hey Trump do this don’t do that, here are my pictures from the weekend, etc. And by all means, life should go on as such.

What’s interesting in times like these is everyone seems to be so connected for a brief moment, sharing the same basic common ground…to support the human way of simply, living life. Then the dust settles and opinions spark debates about gun control, heightened security measures, and of course, conspiracy theories. My oh my, do we sure become opinionated during tragedy. Myself, included.

So why do people continue to hashtag pray for whatever, truly knowing it has done and will do nothing? Furthermore, am I any less of an empathetic human for not “praying for” the current series of unfortunate events? Just days and weeks ago, everyone was “praying for” those affected by the natural disasters which wiped out half of the Caribbean. That didn’t change anything, did it? Puerto Rico is still without power, its residents living in a somewhat archaic state.

Not one person I know donated their time or money (and trust me, I know this to be a fact because people are so quick to post about their good-doing for even more likes), not one person I know shared anything other than one prayer filled post. So it goes to show, be it Mother Nature or pure senseless human stupidity, nothing changes and prayer (although a comforting touchstone to some) is nothing more than a transparent notion.

Am I saying don’t “believe” or stop “praying?” By all means, no. I realize prayer and beliefs are a sense of support. I feel everyone should do what makes them happy and comfortable, including sharing your opinion. I’m just saying, prayer will only go so far, from the neurons in your brain creating the inductive reasoning to, in this case, your thumbs on your phone. But just as my act of support that involved a more logical method of retweeting pertinent information, it is not enough…DO SOMETHING.

Then what am I going to do, whine about it? Well, yeah…I suppose that’s what this and many other blogs entail: another opinion that can be perceived as whining. I can’t go to Las Vegas and physically offer help, but I can take a trip to my local blood donation center and that’s my next step. Does a bag of my blood solve the problem? No. But it helps, which is what I encourage you to do especially in crucial times, help.

Now…this little group of words may not ever be read by more than myself because frankly, I’m not even sure I want to tell anyone about this little blog…so by the time it reaches even one person, this particular mass shooting and the aftermath may be settled. Though, in recent years mass shootings have become an unfortunate norm. That being said, do what you can, when you can and take serious action when it is needed…but please, for the sake of humanity: don’t. just. pray.