"Be the ball, Danny."
If you say that to a friend of mine, she'll look at you and smile. It's the smile of a person who knows she should be smiling, but really isn't sure why.
You might follow up with the tell-tale "Na-na-na-na-na" golfing Zen phrase.
The smile will fade slightly. She'll look at you and offer something like this:
"You're talking about the 80s, aren't you?"
My friend, BB, grew up during the 80s. She's a striking, girl-next-door, all-American brunette. In another life, she might have worn something Molly Ringwald-ish, but I see her more as an Ally Sheedy, or a more intelligent, early Demi Moore.
Regardless, at the time we were all yucking it up to Fletch, Caddyshack, and Weird Science, her family was trying to avoid lions, tigers, and a stray elephant.
Her parents were missionaries in Zambia and BB, in effect, missed the 80s.
After nearly four years of forcing 80s movie references on her and seeing the smile of the 80s-less, her husband and friends decided they'd had enough.
Which forced me into Sam Walton's Warehouse of Horrors.
When you walk in the door, the smell of new tires hits your nose like unrefined petroleum on an August afternoon. The old lady checks your card to make sure you're not trying to illegally buy in bulk. Once you cross the tire threshold, a cavernous expanse of clothes, TVs, and bulk cheeseballs opens before you.
Oddly, I felt the need to welcome BB and her husband as we walked into Sam's. It's not like it was my house or anything, but somehow I ended up with a membership to the place and they needed some bulk items.
While Joe and BB trolled the aisles for a five-pound block of cheese and a three pound sack of pepperoni, I made my way to the book aisle. While not a metropolitan library, Sam's is not a bad place to pick up a mass-market book on the cheap. The discounts are usually 40% or better.
Joe and BB were trying to decide if three pounds of Italian sausage was too much. And better yet, how many mushrooms is too many (no snickering, Pauly).
I picked up The Da Vinci Code and flipped through it. The cover price had been reduced to $14. It's hard to find a trade paperback for that much anymore. I read a couple of paragraphs and tried to decide if my pop culture fire base needed a little stoking. Everybody is talking about the book and God and Da Vinci. After a couple more sentences I decided I wasn't in the mood to confront theology-based fiction. Anyway, I preferred Chistopher Moore's Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff. Maybe I'd re-read that instead.
I threw out my back picking up Bill Clinton's My Life. I nursed my vertebrae back to health by picking up John Grisham's new pamphlet. That's much lighter. After ruminating on how a popular author needs no more than to write a novella to make several million dollars, I headed back over to find Joe and BB.
"Ragu. It's gotta be Ragu. Garden Chunky Style." Joe was insistant. If it wasn't Ragu, he wasn't going to buy a gallon of it.
I obviously was not yet needed.
I wandered back into the book aisle. That's when I saw it.
As recognizable as any name-brand logo on the market today, there it was: The WPT poker set, complete with a deck of cards.
Before completely wrecking myself, I did, indeed check myself.
I looked over and saw the cases of Box-o-Wine, Lee brand dungarees, and pre-made salad by the 55 gallon barrel. No doubt, I was in Sam's Warehouse Club.
I let my eyes fall back to the book rack. Before I could clearly focus back on the WPT set, I saw the word: SUPER.
No, surely not.
I pulled the book off the rack.
At one time, Super System's claim to fame was that it had never before been sold for less than $80. At the beginning of the most recent poker boom, copies were going on eBay for about $40 a piece. I picked mine up at Walden Books for a little more than $30.
I flipped the book over and stared at the back cover.
I've seriously tired of the countless news articles, Internet columns, and television news broadcasts about the poker boom. I've done everything I can NOT to write about poker slipping into the mainstream.
But how can I ignore the fact that the bible of poker is now being sold in Sam Walton's Bulk-o-Rama?
I'd pontificate a little on the above facts, but I think they speak for themselves.
Holy bucket of cheeseballs.
I led BB and Joe into the checkout aisle and prepared a great game of manipulation and trickery. The plan was to use my membership card, but let BB pay for the groceries. As it turned out, my game was unnecessary.
The check-out clerk said, "You're Otis, aren't you?" It's good to be recognized...sometimes.
I allowed that I was in, fact, Otis (or some facsimile thereof), BB paid for the food, and Joe and I talked about getting up a new home game.
Which leads us to tonight.
While there likely won't be any poker played, we will finally educate BB on what it's like to be a true child of the 80s.
Joe spent the day making homemade pizza. Then tonight, on two screens...
Screen 1 - "The Breakfast Club"
Screen 2 - "Fletch"
Screen 1 - "Ferris Buellers Day off"
Screen 2 - "Caddyshack"
Screen 1 - "Heathers"
Screen 2 - "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
Screen 1 - "Princess Bride"
Screen 2 - "Weird Science"
If you have to ask which screen I'll be watching, you really don't know your Otis very well.