Worth 800 words

I’m glad I wasn’t 32 years old when I was in sixth grade. Back then, my classmates and I would be beginning our summer vacation. It would be a blissfull enternity of summer bike riding, looking for girls to kiss, and wondering if the girls in seventh grade would like us any more than the girls in sixth grade did. The three months before school started again took forever and that’s the way we liked it.

But if I’d been 32 back then, in addition to the potential criminal implications of me sneaking a kiss with a 13 year-old Andee Hill, my summer would’ve flown by in a second. Summer here in the Carolinas has already kicked off with a combination of drought days and hurricane nights. And it’s going to be over before I know it.

Here pretty quickly, I’m going to kick off my summer work season. I can’t say that I’m not looking forward to it a little bit. Still, there is a level of dread about leaving my family for so long. There is a slightly less, but still large fear about the amount of work and questionable working environment I’m about to enter.

Still, my buddy Pauly posted a picture on his poker blog the other day that reminded me of this time last year. It’s a pretty simple picture taken by the folks from LasVegasVegas.com, but it tell a lot of stories.

There’s a lot more to this picture than I can really express. It is, in essence, what I do when I’m on the road. That’s me on the far left. Standing behind me is Dan from Pokerati. That’s Pauly to my immediate left. B.J. Nemeth, formerly of CardPlayer magazine, is beside him. The picture completes with the girls from PokerWire and poker pro Adam Schoenfeld.

Things you don’t know by just looking at the picture:

  • My wife accused me of not wearing my wedding ring. I’ll admit it is hard to see in the picture, but when I blew up the photo, I was able to prove to her that I was wearing it. Not that it really mattered. I was in Vegas and it’s hard to convince one’s wife, even if it is really true, that you’re being a good boy. Note: When in Vegas, I only take off my ring to shower or if I’ve been typing for so long that my hand’s joints feel like someone has released a thousand mini-carnviores inside my knuckles. Also note: At the time of this photo, I was the only married person in the picture.
  • B.J. (obviously working harder than the rest of us) would eventually leave CardPlayer and go out on his own as a freelancer. I meet a lot of people on the road. B.J. is one of my favorites.
  • Pauly was in the waning moments of his second freak-out of the WSOP. I was still in a mentally good place and wouldn’t lose my mind for another couple of weeks. This year, Pauly and I have agreed to switch places. He’s going to stay sane while I loose my marbles in short order.
  • This is one of the few pictures of Dan that would show him in a working environment. I’m not saying he didn’t work. I’m just saying he was a phantom.
  • I had been on a rant for several days about how Diet Coke (seen on the table on the far left) had recently started using a bottle with a green cap. More than once, I accidentally picked up a Coke w/ lime and it pushed me closer to edge of marble-world.
  • About 12 hours after this picture was taken, I was still awake and playing cards in another part of the room. I started to question whether my deodorant had failed me or if I had forgotten to put it on the morning before.
  • A few minutes after this picture was taken, I took one of my favorite poker pictures of 2005:
  • That’s Jarl Lindholdt, a European poker pro, on the verge of potential elimination from a big-time tournament. I like a lot of things about the picture. First, look at everybody but Jarl’s eyes. They are all looking at the same place. They are all watching the center of the table where the final two cards will come out. What’s more, everybody is leaning (ever so slightly) toward the table. But look at Jarl. He’s not looking at the table. He’s looking at the dealer’s hands, as if he will be able to see the next two cards before they hit the table. There’s something about the picture that has a sense of pure…anticipation. Oh, Jarl ended up winning this hand.

    Anyway, I’m 32 years old and getting ready to head back out to Vegas. I’m wondering, if New Orleans can be called The Big Easy, can Vegas be called The Big Hard?

    Because, really, that would be quite fitting.

    Brad Willis

    Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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    3 Responses

    1. Michalski working? That’s an oxymoron!

    2. Good luck out there.
      I’ll see you on the 6th or so. Please hold off on losing your marbles until after I’ve come and gone.

    3. There’s nothing easy about New Orleans. Never was. But especially now. Dumbest nickname ever. 😉

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