REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Philosophical gamble
JACKSON, WYO – Susie stopped by the trailer after her book club meeting. “We talked about the novel Light Between Oceans,” she said, giving me the superior look she picked up after marrying Manchester and moving to the Pines.
“It was intellectual interaction of the highest degree. Why don’t you participate in book group Clyde?” Susie asked. “It’s more inspiring than poker night.”
I cringed. Book Club meant Susie would spend the next 10 minutes expounding about how this or that novel broadened her perspective, exposed her to different ideas about people, made her examine character personality traits, motivations, as well as the author’s shifting viewpoints. As an expert on female emotional states, I knew if I wanted a lusty physical response from her I would have to pretend to listen. What a pain!
And I resented her implication that poker is somehow less than intellectually stimulating. Poker night is not unlike the Salons commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Abnormal psychology is often discussed around the poker table, the theoretical complexity surrounding mental and emotional factors governing inexplicable attributes of ex-wives being a specific area of detailed investigation.
Sometimes we expand our psychological inquires to examine pervasive and bizarre sexual fetishes, as well as the perverted ancestral history of professional athletes. This generally occurs after a stupid idiot misses a free throw, thereby not covering the point spread and costing the one making the psychological commentary $300.
Biological anthropology, with its focus on physical characteristics, is often a subject of energetic debate, especially when the subject of Brazilian models and Asian girls is breached, each poker player offering unique insight or experience to what is a purely scientific inquiry.
This is not to suggest poker players are scientific nerds. Other academic disciplines including the humanities are often discussed. Performance art conversation focuses on the relative creative merits of various Vegas strip clubs. Culinary disciplines focusing on mixology, the art of creating cocktails, is a common subject. Sure, there are those who demonstrate unrefined tastes by sipping Captain Morgan Rum at the poker table. However, the more complex and sophisticated players accept such untutored palates as a show of inclusiveness and offer tolerance to those less cultured, less urbane, those plainly not from Hog Island.
Poker blends Ayn Rand’s philosophical laissez-faire objectivism (Goldman Sachs executives aren’t the only ones to profit by misrepresentation, lying and deceit) with Obama’s progressive concept of wealth redistribution (like when I rivered Fix; there’s no money sweeter than lawyer money unless it’s Realtor money).
I heard a noise and realized Susie was still droning on. “The novel was both heartbreaking and transcendent, the dynamics between characters well defined, the ending both stimulating and thought provoking.”
I turned my face, wiped my eye, as if embarrassed by a tear. “It sounds beautiful,” I told her.
“Oh Clyde,” she rushed to my arms. “You’re the only one who is sensitive enough to understand.”