Thursday, May 21, 2009

Part Five.

I've been going through some computer hell the last few days, losing one of my three hard drives, and of course, it was the newest one having not been backed up for a bit.

I'm pretty much on tilt.

I'm angry enough right now to write a rant about which is more inane, poker forums or MMA forums, but fuck me sideways, I'm still in recovery mode. Perhaps next time.


Part 5 - Like they say in Law 101, "Caveat Losor, pal."

Some Important Concepts:

Hunting Camp: Through a fantastic coincidence, we are all dedicated deer
hunters. Indeed, many of us took up hunting late in life, typically about
2 years into marriage. Come deer season, we spend time at a cabin we have
up north in some prime hunting ground. Some poker usually gets
incorporated into camp. We're not big-time regular casino players like
many of you, although Snow White claims to be grinding out a nice profit
online just by playing Sklansky/Malmuth starting hands. We've been to
Atlantic City maybe 4 times. Thus you may be shocked and appalled by what
passes for poker among our group. Spaulding in particular is one of those
uber-fish that you guys luck into once in a blue moon. The liquored-up
guy who plays every hand, all the way, showing down rags whether he wins
or loses (oh, except against you - against you he's got the goods).

The Honor Code: The code is simple -- none of us has any honor. Not only
should you expect no one to help you, you should assume everyone is out to
screw you over, because they are (Holden himself refers to it the
"Anti-musketeer code"). Lying for sport is accepted in our culture, and
the dissemination of misinformation is considered a hobby.

"JFB": By the smallest possible margin. It's a Manbeast quote from one of
our frequent theological discussions. We had been discussing the concept
of Hell: Whether it existed, whether an all-loving God would ever send
one of his creations there, etc. We also discussed what sort of sins
might make one eligible for eternal damnation. Manbeast pipes up with his
philosophy: "I plan to live my life in such a way so that I don't go to

"Freeway spanking drunk": The gold standard of intoxication. It is the
level of drunkenness at which you no longer care about the legality or
consequences of your actions. The term was coined based on a news item
reporting some guy (amazingly, not one of us) getting soused to the gills,
wandering on to a freeway, then standing on the roadside, dressed only in
shoes, and vigorously spanking the monkey in full view of traffic. When
he was arrested he explained the whole misunderstanding with our favorite
excuse: "I only had 2 or 3 beers."

"Th'fuck?!": Spaulding's contraction for "What the fuck?" This highly
efficient phrase is generally used to denote surprise and confusion, and
asks the intuitively obvious question. Example:

Spaulding: "I'll take nine tacos."
Apathetic Clerk: "OK."
Spaulding: "Can I get some hot sauce for those?"
Apathetic Clerk: "We don't have sauce."
Spaulding: "Th'fuck?!" (Asking, in effect, can you explain how a
place that sells tacos doesn't have taco sauce?)

"Always Play Along": Pranking, spreading misinformation, and simple
deception being the glue that holds our subculture together, we very
regularly find ourselves in strange situations where we don't know what is
going on, nor why. The code tells you to always play along - someone's
getting nailed and you'll find out about it later, just don't blow it.
Failure to play along is considered unforgivable, and immediately marks
you as a target for a punitive operation.

Culture of Paranoia - The end result of the code is that we all live in a
state of near total paranoia. Snow White has a monitored alarm system on
his house. Not for fear of burglars, but for fear of black bag jobs by
his friends. He had it installed shortly after the Christmas Card
COINTELPRO. The story there is that somebody got his hands on my address
book. Same somebody had a rather compromising photo of me and an exotic
dancer wearing an elf hat, high heels, and nothing else. All my friends
and relatives got an interesting Christmas card from me that year.
Anyway, the wise loser searches his home after friends visit, and keeps
sensitive information behind a locked door, minimum. This may not be
enough, however. One loser, nameless because he still doesn't know about
it, was the victim of a simple but devastatingly effective ELINT
operation. A portable scanner, voice activated digital recorder, and
male-to-male cable (You can get the necessary equipment used (i.e. pawned)
for about $125) were employed to eavesdrop on his cordless phone
conversations 24 x 7, with no equipment needed inside his apartment. Many
a prank was born based on that information. If you're wondering, this is
perfectly legal. Choosing a cordless means choosing to broadcast your
conversations, albeit over a limited area. If you don't want third party
listeners, don't broadcast your conversation. Or get one of the newer
phones, almost all of which are digital, encrypted, or spread spectrum (or
something) and cannot be routinely scanned. Anyway, these are the
measures that we no-life losers will resort to just to nail a fellow
loser. That's why paranoia runs rampant.

*** Snow White says ***
The burgler alarm seems extreme - and it really is more so for protection
from intruders than friends, but if it does double duty so be it. You
see, in this group we have to be paranoid like the casinos: There may be
no scam going down at this moment, but at the minimum you KNOW somebody is
thinking about it, and watching for holes in the system. The least you
can do is not make it easy for them.
*** End Snow White ***

Dreamland - Manbeast's house, which has become the nearly official venue
for the home game. His finished basement is complete with a poker table,
pool table, pinball machine, 20 foot bar, a dart board, big screen TV, and
more. It's huge. We put out a buffet table every game. Sounds pretty
sweet, yes? Well, it gets better. [Cue music: One in a Million Girl
(She's a Beauty), The Plasmatics] Manbeast lives less than 2 miles from a
small time strip joint. Used to be that we'd break around 11, hit the
club until 12 (closing time - don't know why it closes so early), then the
die-hard players would reconvene at Manbeast's house. Now we don't even
go down to the club. Before a game night Manbeast, who is very much a
regular, buys a few six-packs from the owner, and recruits one or two
girls who know us to drop by Dreamland after closing time. It's good
extra money for them. Nothing untoward goes on, as far as you know.
Anyway, Darrel Ticehurst take note, we now have absolutely no problem
filling the game, and no one leaves early. We generally have to turn
players away.

Example of the honor code in action:

Flashback to Spaulding's married days...

(All those squiggly lines are supposed to represent your screen getting
blurry, as in a TV flashback. If you don't see the effect, start drinking
and you will eventually.)

We're out for a night of libations and gentlemanly camaraderie.

***Manbeast says***
Meaning we're going to get drunk and hit some strip clubs.
***End Manbeast***

Spaulding's wife forbids him from going to strip clubs. So he told her we
were going to a poker game.

We are at one of Spaulding's favorite places in the world. It's an
unmarked, warehouse-like building containing a "private club," which is an
after hours bar on one floor, and a strip club on another. Although it is
nominlly a private club, anyone can get in if they know how. By now you
should have figured out this isn't exactly legal. They must juice the
local machine though, because the place has never been busted since we
started going there in 1989. And it's obvious something is going on,
because there's a bank across the street and everyone parks there. Two in
the morning and a closed bank has an overflowing parking lot, yet no one
asks any questions. Obviously we're dealing with OC here.

It's a long ride to visit this place, and we have much classier ones
locally, but Spaulding insists we go here because the action is decidedly
more down and dirty. Being losers, we have to take action where we can
get it. Anyway, about the place: The bar is free to get in to, but to go
upstairs is $25. There is a small stage, but unlike most clubs no one
sits near the stage. The girls each do a set on stage, and then work
their way around the room going guy-to-guy. They dance in front of, and
up against, you for a minute or so, and you give them a couple bucks. The
also offer what we came for: lap dances plus groping. A good, grinding
lap dance is $20 for two songs. A $20 tip on top of that always suffices
to allow ones hands to wander.

Spaulding is freeway spanking drunk. One dancer, "Cheyenne," is almost as
drunk as Spaulding, and she is *making out* with some guys as she works
the room. Most of us pass on the making out part, but not Spaulding. He
tips her a $50 and soon they're going at it. He is all over her and vice
versa. They're humping so hard I think there was actual
bluejeans-separated insertion. By the time they're done mauling each
other, Spaulding's got a face and neck full of lipstick, and a few stray
bite marks. Naturally, he is totally unaware of it. By the end of the
night, more than one dancer has left lipstick on him.

It's a long ride home and by the time we get to his house, Spaulding is
out cold. As we roll up I remind the team about the lipstick all over his
face. Remember Spaulding's wife? She's probably already hammering up a
cross because of the late hour. If she sees the lipstick, well, let's
just say you better hide the cutlery.

Clearly, the ONLY decent thing to do is wipe off the lipstick.
Rhetorically, I ask the group "should we wipe off the lipstick or let him
hang?" The vedict: "Let him hang." So sayeth the losers, so shall it be.

Variable: Who wants to deal with the not-so-little Mrs.?

Manbeast: There's just no way I'm going to deal with Large Marge. She
already hates me - ever since I said her bloomers were big enough to
shammy shine a 747 with.

Shithouse: Nooooohoohohoohoo.

Snow White: I would have to answer all her questions honestly. I don't
think anyone wants that.

Variable: Well, what are we going to do with him?

Snow White: Dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.
We'll just say he got out of the car under his own power;
we don't know what happened after that.

Variable: Oh, that's cold.

Manbeast: OK, no problem. You tell her. If you get caught in the
crossfire, can I have your car?

Variable: I say we dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.

[Cue music: Peter Gunn]

So we coast up in stealth mode (headlights out) and stop a good 20 yards
short of Spaulding's house. We carried him - no easy task - to the dead
center of his professionally maintained lawn. In the dim glow of the
nearby streetlights the quiet, suburban night has an eerie quality to it.

We laid him in the cool dew, on his back. Manbeast grabs an empty JD
bottle and puts it on Spaulding's chest, positioning Spaulding's hand to
clutch it. Shithouse decided that the bikini top he had lifted as a
souvenir would look good in Spaulding's pocket, so he tucked it halfway
in. Snow White pours a little beer on him, saying "Into your hands we
commend his spirit."

Manbeast: Let's get the fuck out of here.
Shithouse: Wait, I have to take a whiz.
Manbeast: Fucking hold it!
Shithouse: Fine, I'll just use an empty bottle in your back seat.
Manbeast: Go here, we'll wait!

In the still of predawn hours, every sound seems amplified ten-fold.
Shithouse taking a whiz sounds like a rainstorm to me. I'm worried that
we're going to wake someone. Just then, a shrill siren pierces the night.

My heart stops. I whirl to look for the police car that I know is there.
But there is none. Someone had leaned up against (or collapsed on top of)
Marge's new BMW, which was left parked in the driveway so that the
neighbors could admire it. It's anti-theft system functioned flawlessly.
Goddamn German efficiency. We must have looked like the 4 stooges making
our exit, scrambling into the car while this siren blared around us, our
tires screeching as bedroom lights started blinking on all around us.
Spaulding slept, baby-like, through the whole commotion.

End flashback to Spaulding's married days...

Pranks - Pranks are an extension of the honor code and an integral part of
our lives. There's a guy who believes to this day that he helped us bury
a body. It's a great story, maybe we'll get to it.

The less sophisticated members of the group pull pranks that are really
little more than petty vandalism, or weak and uncreative fizzles. For
instance, Gary the Bastard would consider it humorous to subscribe
someone to Playgirl at their office. Very funny. Like anyone's going to
believe a person would subscribe to porn - gay or otherwise - at their
office. Manbeast, by comparison, would pull the fag-jacket COINTELPRO.
That is, he'd get a really gay magazine, like "Colt," (I just know. Shut
up.) and dummy it up with shrink-wrap and a mailing label. A paper
insert would cover most of the magazine cover, but he'd leave the title
and enough of the photo visible to remove any doubt about the magazine's
orientation. He?d address it to you, as a subscriber. Then he'd put it
in your neighbor's mail box.

Manbeast bought a high quality digital camera, scanner, and printer for
the sole purpose (although he denies it) of forging documents for use in
pranks. For example, when Gary the Bastard's dog died, he took it to his
vet for burial in his pet cemetery (yeah, right - Fluffy is in a landfill
in Newark.) Anyway, Manbeast dummies up a "death certiciate," ostensibly
from the vet, and mails it to Gary the Bastard. Under "cause of death,"
he fills in "It is my professional opinion that somebody bored this dog to

One of our favorites was a non-elaborate prank was played by Spaulding,
who is generally not known for "good ones." As always, it's a rather long

[Cue music: We Got the Beat, The GoGos)

Highschool. Friday night. We're riding around the boonies in Manbeast'
car, blaring music, drinking Millers, smashing the empties off of speed
limit signs, etc. Suddenly Spaulding announces "I have to take a shit."
Manbeast offers to stop, but Spaulding thinks he can make if we head
straight for the Cineplex (2 screens! Hey, this is the early 80s). As we
go, every minute or so Spaulding is groaning as he tries to hold back the
inevitable flow. Before we get to the Cineplex, a muffled splattering
sound fills the car. "Oh fuck, I think a made some trouser chili!"

He did. A family sized serving, too.

We stop and Spaulding gingerly removes his undergarment, placing it in a
Burger King bag found on Manbeast's car floor. He won't throw them away:
"My mom counts my underwear." Somehow, I think that factors into the
person he is today. He cleans up with some leaves and carries on,
bareback. Hideous.

Sometime later we arrive at the theatre. It is the gathering place for
most of our class on weekends, so everyone who is anyone is there. On
this fateful evening, there is a very special date. The quarterback of
the football team ("Lou"), superstud and Heathers-style obnoxious jerk, is
here with his babe-of-the-week, a very cute college freshman. They were
going to see the late show together. As the movie is playing, we're
outside drinking and socializing. Spaulding mentions how richly Lou
deserves to be pranked. Manbeast, ever the instigator, says "Why don't
you spread the 'chili' on his car seat?" The door was unlocked, saving
Manbeast the trouble of employing his talents with a coat hanger.
Spaulding set the trap, while Manbeast took the bulb out of the cars
interior light. By the time the happy couple came out to the car
*everyone* was in on the, eh, joke. Lou sat down, got this lemon puss
look on his face, and peeled out of the parking lot. The following Monday
as Lou walked into homeroom, Manbeast called out the now immortal line,
"Hey Lou, your girlfriend told me she had a shitty time on Friday."

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 6 - We mature, and take Opera classes with our wives. Ha!
Just kidding, it will be more of the same drunken stupidity, of course.

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