Apparently it is.
I’ve played poker maybe twice since I moved to Richmond two years ago, and it just isn’t enough. So my wife had an idea: let’s invite her brother up for Saturday night, drink beers, have a nice meal, play poker and watch SNL, then drive to West Point for Easter dinner with the rest of the family.
Sounded great on paper.
First thing I knew was wrong was Jim, my bro in law, got out of the car using a cane. Something’s wrong with his leg — an inexplicable and painful ailment that swells his foot, yet manages to travel up and down his leg seemingly at will. So he hobbles into the house, I tell him how much beer I’ve bought, and he says, “We can go get some more later.” Turns out he was right.
Supper was magnificent: champagne chicken, roasted garlic smeared on Italian bread with butter, two different white wines. My wife is the finest chef on the planet.
I ran to 7-Eleven for a twelve-pack, then it was poker for about two hours. We knocked out Maria and then it was heads up for Jim and I for about twenty minutes — very fun, bets very loose, plying very tight — then SNL came on and we were ready to pause the game for 90 minutes of (I hoped) comedy, plus snacks.
The dogs were roaming through the house with us, so about fifteen minutes into SNL I paid no heed as Buster, my cocker, who just 5 weeks ago was in the Emergency Vet after collapsing due to a tumor deep in his sinus, came in and sat in front of me, staring at the sofa . . . where sat Jake, my labrador retriever, very peacefully.
As teen heartthrob Zack Efron walked through his monologue, suddenly the two dogs were locked in a snarling, black cyclone of gnashing fury — nobody knows what happened to start it — and right at my damn feet. I grabbed the lab’s back end and tried to pull him away from the cocker, who dangled, quite angrily and quite loudly, by the back of the neck in my retriever’s jaws. Fifteen, twenty seconds seemed like ten minutes, but finally I had the lab by the collar and the cocker lay bleeding in Maria’s lap, a fang laceration on the back of his head and an inch-long gash under his throat. It was not even midnight.
By three am, we’d had another lovely morning in the Emergency Vet in Carytown, which encompassed a shaved and stapled wound, a shaved and cleaned wound, antibiotics, a prescription, bloody towels, frayed nerves, me cursing the day I ever rescued the lab, very bad green tea that smelled like cardboard, and $183 missing from the bank account.
We never finished the poker game. Jim stayed up waiting for us and then slept badly — as did Maria and I. Easter morning I counted all the chips: Jim had won $6.75, and I had $8.25.
Buster is fine, thanks for asking. Jake is pretending he’s sorry, but he can’t hide his lying dog eyes.
I still need to get drunk and play some real poker, with no angry dogs, no trips to the emergency vet, and a weekend to waste in peace and play.