Poker And 37 Pieces Of Flare

04 May 2005

We live in the suburbs and, for the most part, I don’t like it. I drive 70 miles to work and back every day. Every car on the road in my neighborhood is a monster suv. Stucco, stucco, everywhere. Need to buy something? There’s the mall or … the … other … mall. But the thing thats gets me the most is the food. The restaurants suck. Big time. Every crappy chain restaurant you can think of, and almost nothing else. Think Jennifer Aniston’s job in that Office Space movie. Over time, much to our chagrin, we’ve eventually found ourselves reluctantly trying one after another. Upon leaving, we usually mark another place of our mental list of options. Ugh.

But a few places manage to creep over our ever-lowering bar and make the cut. And with so many poor choices, we and up back at the same five places fairly often.

We visited one such place this past Sunday night. I won’t get into names, and most around the country wouldn’t recognize them anyway. Looking at their website, they have about 40 locations in the western U.S., with about half of those in California. Many of the locations have breweries inside the restaurant with 10 or so different beers available. I’ve tried a few of them. They are not good. The best I can say about it is that its a mildly annoying place with so-so food. The factors that put it in our rotation are (1) the availablity of at least two things on the menu that dont involve steak or chicken and (2) something on the kid’s menu that an autistic boy with severe food issues can choke down without looking like we are poinsoning him and (3) it is only “mildly” annoying. number (2) is a very big deal for our family.

So there we found ourselves on Sunday night. We were seated and our waiter comes over. Lets call him… Keith. Keith says, “Hey, how are you guys doing? Good to see you! (looking at me) Hey , have you been playing any cards lately?”

It took me a second, but then I remembered our last trip to this establishment. Keith was our waiter that time, too. On that visit, I happened to be wearing my Binion’s Horseshoe baseball cap. That led to a conversation about poker in general and online poker. I didn’t mention then that I had just gotten a job at Full Tilt. Even though I was not wearing the hat this visit, Keith somehow still remembered me. Some more talk about poker. I still don’t mention my job. Then, he asks if I’m interested in getting on in one of the many home games he plays in the area. I reluctantly give him my email address and off he goes with our drink order.

This poker thing is getting a little creepy, no?

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Franklin Henderson