Last week, I called a “time out.”
Fed up with a growing dependency on communication devices — and shackled pretty much to iEverything (which means my iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the Internet) — I finally said, “enough!”
Consumed by the shallowness of what masquerades as dialogue in the high-tech age, I made a rather audacious decision to jump off of life’s spinning hamster wheel. I needed a break. Not a vacation. I didn’t go anywhere — unless bolting “offline” qualifies as the heavenly seclusion of a deserted island. What I actually mean is splintering away from an unproductive, time-wasting daily compulsion that’s become an incarcerating bundle of puppet strings, albeit with the power of steel cables.
That meant doing what for many people would be utterly unthinkable. That meant ditching my smartphone. That meant essentially avoiding just about anything and everything associated with what’s called “social media,” which in reality is about the most unsocial means of expression ever devised by humankind.
I don’t have time for small talk.
When you approach me, get straight to the fucking point and wrap it up within a reasonable amount of time. Is that too much to ask? Otherwise, my mind will wander elsewhere and you might as well be talking to a wall.
This goes for every form of communication — telephone conversations, e-mails, texts, and most certainly our face-to-face exchanges. I can chose to ignore your phone chatter and texts if they start to bore me. But direct conversation carries with it a unique obligation to be pertinent and precise. So, do as I say!
What follows is a handy checklist on the ways and means to properly engage me in meaningful conversation. By following these simple rules and guidelines you will significantly improve your chances that I will both listen to what you have to say, and perhaps even care. There’s no guarantee of this, of course. You better shine like the hope diamond. And you’ve got about ten seconds to do it, otherwise my busy mind leaves the station. So, come to me loaded with your best comments and questions and be prepared to fire them at me when I’m ready.
Someone approached me a few days ago. His comment took me by surprise.
“You’re not at all what you seem to be,” he stated. “You’re not at all what I expected.”
Huh? I wasn’t sure how to take those comments exactly. I’m not what I seem to be? I’m not what he expected? How’s that?
The man went on to explain he’d read my writings. He’d watched some videos, where I often rant about various topics that piss me off. He even mentioned that he’d seen me on the “Poker Night in America” television show, where I occasionally go off the deep end towards the end of the program.
Yet, in person, I was none of those outlandish things he expected. Perhaps he was expecting some kind of crazed lunatic. I guess I turned out to be a little boring to him. I was certainly disappointing.
Final score: NY Rangers-3, Pittsburgh Penguins-2
That wasn’t the final score.
In one of the wildest NHL games you’ll ever see, the closing moments of tonight’s New York Rangers–Pittsburgh Penguins game played in Downtown Pittsburgh ended as a shocker. It was so insane, almost half of the 18,000 fans in attendance completely missed it. Here’s what happened.
Earlier tonight, I had the great honor of emceeing this year’s annual Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
I’m deeply grateful to Ty Stewart and Seth Palansky (from Caesars Entertainment) for being chosen by them to host the event and for being permitted to stand along with so many poker legends, both past and present.
The Class of 2014 was comprised to two inductees — Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu. Both of these exceptional gentlemen have contributed to the game immensely in different ways — McClelland primarily as a tournament official and industry leader, and Negreanu as a poker player and ambassador. I was pleased to see quite contrasting individuals honored in this way, which reveals there are many ways to be successful, have an impact, and make the game better. Both honorees have done exactly that, and more.
The night was made even more special because we all returned to the hallowed “place that made poker famous” (that’s the casino’s catchy tagline). Binion’s Gambling Hall (formally Binion’s Horseshoe) rolled out the red carpet for everyone who attended, hosting the gathering inside what used to be known as Benny’s Bullpen. Now, it’s called the Longhorn Room. My deepest thanks goes to Michelle, Paul, Jerry, Brad, and all the other fine people working at Binion’s who helped put the evening together, and who keep the tradition alive.