Monday, October 15, 2012


I quit my job blowing leaves, telephone bills up my sleeves 
Choking like a one man dustball, freedom rock slimeball talking in code 
We went down, lit up the shack, grabbed me a beer out of the sack ...
Leaping up into the air getting juiced up beyond belief 
And they were singin' like this! 
Winos throwing frisbees at the sun, put my soul between the bun 
Now I'm wonderin', now I'm drunk, how I'm runnin' like a flaming pig 
(Beck, Beercan)

Personally to me, writing about my foibles is a lot of fun, and I’ve been writing some somber stuff lately, so I’m setting aside the gravitas for a little levitas, and speaking of levitas, this is about a FUBAR poker night.  Why write about a FUBAR night of poker, no, about FUBAR in the first place in an occult-fringe blog, well, this is the place for connoisseurs, remember, it’s not the place for run of the mill mainstream “paranormal” interests, so I'm relating the story as a lived-out experience, call it an ontophany, of the Tarot Fool Card 0.

This happened late 1993, it was about the time my father was languishing between life and death, which was difficult to take on a day to day basis.  Not that I was close to him, but I did love him, and had always been protective of him. He was an enigma riddled with a labyrinthian puzzle, his Zodiac was a miasma of crossed wires, he was a mass of contradictions, and exuded all of the above and then some in his day to day encounters with human beings.  When he was starting to die, I didn’t think much about it, but concern for his state of Limbo was always on my back burner.

I was married to my ex-wife at that time, which was another esoteric journey for extraneous reasons, but to work out our frustrations, she and I decided to go play poker at the Commerce Casino in L.A.  We had played professional poker for a couple years, but I had enough of the bankroll partnership and that was that, but to make a long but effervescent story the shortest possible, we decided to go play poker this time for frivolous escape.  If we made money, fine, but I didn’t really care any more.  I was in apeshit mode, basically, because I wanted out of that relationship, my dad was in his death throes, and I myself felt trapped in Limbo.

We started playing $3-6 limit Texas Holdem.  That was never a limit I would play, I never played anything lower than $15-30 limit, pot- or no-limit back in the day, because the crapshoot factor would get too high with chasers and amateurs wanting to see the river card at any cost.  Bluffing would be impossible at such low limits, so I’d never bother trying unless I really was sure I could get away with it.  Which was quite rare.  Anyway, that’s not the point.  The point is that we got there listening to Dexter Gordon’s cassette in our car, and “Three O’clock in Morning” was going through my head.  I suppose my intention was to stay till around 3:00 A.M. and call it a day.  

So I was playing $3-6 Holdem and wasn’t really having fun, because the players were lousy and the game was video-poker quality bad.  Solution: Beer.  Yes, so I started with the beers.  I had one beer about every 30 minutes.  I was in apeshit mode.  My ex-wife would be my designated driver, so I went for it.  

Three o’clock in the morning came and went.  When you’re sitting and playing poker in a casino, you lose track of time.  You don’t know if it’s day or night.  And you don’t care because the cards keep coming, non-stop.  And I kept the beers coming, non-stop.  I had to stop drinking between 1:30 AM and 6:00 AM because that was no-alcohol time, but as soon as it was six, I started the beers coming.  One every half hour, at least.  

I was losing my shirt.  I had dropped about $500 in about 35 hours of playtime, straight.  Now that’s not a bad amount to lose, people have done far worse in those games, but it was due to the fact that I at least had some professional instinct in me to maximize my wins and minimize my losses.  The $500 dent wasn’t the issue.  I was gassed out of my gourd.  If I were drinking two beers every hour, that would make about sixty beers or so by the time the 35th hour came around.  Maybe most of the money went to tips and beer, and I was breaking even.  I had no idea.  I was FUBAR.  

Well, I had just about enough of $3-6, because I wanted to make my money back, so I moved up to $5-10, at least.  I didn’t have enough at that point for a buy in at $10-20.  I bought one stack of chips only, which was all I could afford.  100-bones and that was the last of my bankroll.  When I sat at the table, I didn’t know where I was.  But I still remember everything, I hadn’t blacked out or anything like that, notwithstanding having had no sleep for about 40 hours, and about sixty beers later.  

When I sat down at the table, I didn’t know where the hell I was.  I asked them what they were doing, and the dealer said, “$Five-ten holdem,” and that was that.  I couldn’t quite figure out what that meant.  I saw yellow chips being flung on the felt, and cards getting turned over.  I put my chips out there.  The players were laughing.  At me.  I must’ve been a sight.  They shoved the pot toward me.  I started raking.  One pot after another, and they kept shoving the chips toward me.  The players weren’t laughing any more.  

The one hand I do remember even to this day, was when I saw two Queens in my hole cards.  I looked at the board with all five cards spread, I looked at my hand, and checked several times, because I saw Queens everywhere, in fact I counted four of them, and I wasn’t seeing double.  I distinctly remember seeing the Queen of Spades on the board, and I said, “Are we playing Hearts?”  There were some disgusted chuckles, but I wasn’t trying to be funny.  I honestly didn’t know what game I was playing.  So I shoved chips into the pot, there were more chips that went in, I kept putting more in, and I flipped my cards over (as by sheer instinct), and needless to say, my quad-Queens took the pot.  In literally about 20 minutes (because the same dealer was still dealing), I had caught a rush that raked in a full rack of $5 chips, and I had made back my $500.  My ex-wife was standing behind me giggling, and said it was time for me to go, so I obeyed.  

So about 60 beers and 36 hours later, my bankroll was still even, and I was in for a massive hangover.  But the occult part of the experience to me is in the question: how do these rushes occur when FUBAR, what prompts the sudden attraction of good luck?  I believe energy fields get shifted relative to mind-state, and sometimes we might interweave with that field of sheer cosmic grace, which picks you up when you no longer have the ability to do it for yourself.  There's the aspect to it of what T. McKenna called the "cosmic giggle."  It wasn’t about making back the $500; that was just gravy, but it was just one of many points. I learned about being cared for, and that it’s not always just hard knocks, regardless of my apeshit buffoonery.  Personally, to me, it was a kind, little reminder; things unfold in mysterious, dreamlike ways sometimes.

To me, it was just one of those epiphanic experiences, specifically, a vicarious, visceral living-out the Zero Tarot card: The Fool.