I Forget How Much I Love To Play Cards

While some like the smell of a new book, I enjoy the smell of a fresh deck of cards. When Sara and I were younger we used to play cards for hours. Rummy, Speed, War, Slap Jack, Spades, Kings On Corners, Hearts, Uno you name it. I've recently started playing Solitaire again (and "Pounce/Nerts" with my roommate). Playing cards has always been a game of choice in our family. Gambling is of course only allowed if it involves candy -- Snickers bars are the money. I love everything about cards from their simplicity, variety, portability, and any other word ending in "ity" you can think of. The different races of cards always had my interest. "What does this set look like inside?" I always wondered. And yes, being the artist that I am, I even made my own deck of cards as a child.

Of the four suits, the spade is my favorite design (followed by the club). My color of choice? Black. Red is irritating; black is powerful. You can just feel the strength of the Ace of Spades in your hand, no matter what game your playing.

But why has my long lost love of card playing entered my life again? Well, it all began when Martin invited me to his going away party a few weeks ago. On the night of the party, I entered the apartment where I found everyone sitting in a circle happily playing cards. There they sat, like seven naive children unaware of the punishment I was about to lay down on them. They were playing Scum, a game I had played only once before. Cards? Sounds like fun. Because I was the newbie in the group they placed me in the position of scum (the lowest as you can imagine). I had to give away two of my best cards to the person in the number one spot while getting two of their worst cards in return. Alright, I like a challenge especially when it comes to dating. But this post is not about boys. I guess it could be about boys if I'm referencing kickin' their butts at cards!

Let me just say I'm good at a few things in life and one of those things is Spades. We weren't playing Spades, but I killed them all the same. All seven of them. In two games I placed in third and jumped to number one in just one more game. By my third straight win, I was going out in like 8 short rounds. At one point I won every set, one after the other, and was done half-way through the game (the losers keep playing to see who "wins" the next positions in line). This was too easy I thought. Or as my brother, Blake, would say, "I eat cardplaying for breakfast." I take pride in playing cards because it's a skill I've worked on since I was baptised at eight.

As the end of the night rolled around, I walked away in first place. "Always leave 'em laughing," George Costanza declares. However, the circle of enemies I had just made grew tired of me. Throughout the game I told them not to splash the pot, but they didn't listen. Okay, I also love movies about gambling and Rounders is definitely one of my favorites.

After the game was over, I was reminded why I gave up playing cards. It's too easy with most people and I need a challenge. I thrive on that stress of not knowing if the King is still out there or the uncertainty of how will I be able to transform a terrible hand into a triumphant win? Even the psychological struggle of not having control over what gets played next is pressure within myself that I find fascinating.

I gave up cards because it can be addictive. Games last well into the night. I gave 'em up because I didn't want to become one of those competitive people that gets angry when they lose -- or worse, try to change the rules or say something wasn't fair in the middle of a game. I never wanted to be one of those people that couldn't handle leaving a game being in last place. I didn't want cards to affect my emotions or worse, the people around me. I know that if I don't supress the urge to play cards, those emotions will surface and a spark will ignite that could explode. My great grandpa lost his house to gambling, and I'm sure I'm capable of losing even more if I'm not careful. I don't play cards any more for the greater good, or at least for the greater good of those seven "children." They couldn't handle that demon deep inside me as much as I can't. And that's why I abandoned card playing all those years ago.

If only there was a job playing cards that didn't involve gambling.


Blogger Sara said...

You didn't really abandon card playing, did you? You just didn't have anyone to play with -- well, anyone who was challenging enough.

I often wish there was a way to make money at cards besides gambling, too. Our family could be rich. We could be like the Mafia of face cards -- you know, without the lying and murdering and tax evasion.

I, too, love playing cards. It's a passion that is also buried very deeply, and when I think of cards, there is a slight burning sensation in the pit of my heart. I felt this tenfold when I played SCUM with my fellow church-goers. I was the newbie as well, and I smoked them all. Repeatedly.

It's a good feeling. A very good feeling.

August 18, 2006 4:27 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Oh, and I also wish that instead of playing sports for activities all the time, people would play cards.

Ultimate frisbee? How 'bout Spades? Or a little Speed. Or Nerts (a new favorite -- the panice and subsequent adrenaline rush in this game is off the charts!).

Sadly, it's the braun that wins. Not the brains. :(

August 18, 2006 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! Didn't I tell you guys that your Great Grandpa also won lots and lots of cash and won the Boatyard which is still in the family to this day (4th generation) and was goint to sell it to get money and grandma said, NO, WE are going to run the boatyard! And so they did. In the olden days card playing was very fashionable! But it can be a pesty way to loose cash and also a time waster. I LOVE to play with the fam, but would probably never play anywhere else. It also helps kids develop a better sense of memory and math. I don't ever do any of the things you do at cards, Lex. It is a total crap shoot for me! hahahahahLove MOM
Still no password or unsername DRAT!!!

August 23, 2006 3:47 AM  

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