Outdoor Poker

Imaginary Husband asked last night if I knew what I planned to get him for his birthday.  Of course not, his birthday is in September.  But, like the parent of any 8-year-old boy knows, I knew this meant that he just discovered something on the internet that is really expensive but he just must have.

Yep.  Tickets to a Woodstock-esque music festival.  Five straight days of camping in a field with 24-hour live music performances on three different stages.  If there are individualized heavens, this is what Imaginary Husband’s would look like.  Plus power tools.

I’m not a prissy girly girl. I can hack it in the great outdoors.  I have been camping before, but this is 5½  days and 5 nights in a field in still-summer-hot early September. So I asked whether there would be adequate shower facilities.  “That’s the beauty of it,” he replies, “the campsite is right next to a water park!”  Time out.  The plan is to bathe on water slides with thousands of other filthy stoned campers?  Or are you suggesting that this magical water park has more than a single disgusting shower in a bathroom that is only there for optics and—maybe—the occasional #2?  I am Italian.  If I go more than 2 days without shaving it becomes a safety issue. I need a real bathroom.

But it is his birthday, so we are doing it.  I expect to receive massive doses of DEET, PABA, and chlorine, which I’m pretty sure combines to form mustard gas.  In exchange, I get to host more elaborate and obnoxious poker nights than ever before!

But not tonight, actually, poker will be hosted by everyone’s favorite Columbia Heights hipster clerk power-pair, Neal (Friedman ’09) and Jen (Rader ’11).  They live at [——-] and, weather permitting, will be dealing cards outside on their extravagant rooftop deck.  And the fact that both camping and decks are outdoors means that this is a coherent theme for a poker email.  Ta DAA!  Their house is right next to [—–], so you can plan your happy hour accordingly.  You can still RSVP to me, as long as you RSVP to somebody, so I know how much liquor to bring.



Well another major event in the development of what has long been recognized as a pervasive inappropriateness in the intellectual property community has finally come to pass.  I knew there would be drama, and the Federal Circuit would eventually get involved, but I didn’t think they would actually bring out the ax full stop.

But they did.  The PTO actually canceled the Redskins’ trademarks.  The words, the logos, the whole franchise is free to copy.  Pending appeal, of course.  Not that I ever really respect intellectual property in my poker emails, but I was tempted to put all sorts of Redskins imagery below to tarnish and dilute these vulnerable marks out of spite. But then I remembered that those logos suck.*  Sorry if you were a ’Skins fan, but you’re not going to be anymore.  Either because you found a DECENT team to root for, or because your team gets a new name.

I am a Giant’s fan (by marriage) (seriously, it was in my vows), however, so therefore I really am in no position to be mocking anyone.  You know your team is disappointing (and you are a hopeless nerd) when you resort to trademark law to take a dig at other teams…

But I digress.  Poker!  Let’s do that.  How about 8pm at [——-].  We have air conditioning this week so it will be a lovely and luxurious experience.  Please RSVP because it is super important and I said please.

*Also, Goodman is a Native American.  (Seriously, he is a member of the Creek tribe and his family lives on a Choctaw reservation in Oklahoma).  He was not part of the proceeding to cancel the names, but let’s all think of a disparaging slur to call him every time he raises “America.”**  Just because.

** “America” is a bet of $1.60.  You should come to poker and learn these things. It will improve your life in almost unobservable ways.  Almost.

Sanitary Poker

The average human touches his face 2-5 times per minute.  If we assume that each touch lasts 1 second, that means the average person spends 5% of their life with their filthy fingers mushing germs around their mucus membranes.  I have allergies, so I probably spend at least 10% of my time rubbing my grubby fingers into my eyes, nose, and ears.  This knowledge inspires a heightened grossness response when combined with the knowledge of how disgusting the things we touch can be.

When I was in college, I did a study on the cleanliness of various bathroom fixtures in public places.  Turns out that the toilet itself is pretty clean in most public bathrooms.  The toilet paper dispenser, flusher, and various other surfaces in a bathroom stall are not so bad either.  The faucet is filthy.  The door handle also pretty bad.  Washing your hands does a good job of removing some grossness, but does nothing to remove most of the terrible things I found living on the faucet.  My conclusion: washing your hands in a public bathroom is actually worse than not washing (for you; and for the bathroom, but not for society; it’s an externality).

Most public bathrooms now have automatic faucets that you don’t have to touch (I like to take some undeserved credit for that).  So washing your hands is now a real net positive.  My bathroom at work is probably the cleanest place in the office.  It is professionally cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day.  Everything is automatic.  And they still have antimicrobial soap and hand sanitizer in case you erroneously touch any already sanitized surface. This enables us to return from our restroom trips completely sterile and return our fingers to what they spend the other 95% of our day touching: the single filthiest object ever created by humankind.

My.  Keyboard.  Is. Disgusting.  Every key is in a contest to be the grossest thing on Earth and is losing only to the beige-blue fuzz that grows in between the keys.  Close behind is the mysterious granular material that lines the surface underneath the keys, which I think is the petrified crumbs of 4 years’ worth of $5 foot-longs, cemented by hand-sweat and conference call spittle into a kind of sedimentary grime-rock.

And once a week, my nasty fingers leave my repulsive keyboard to smear themselves all over a bunch of poker chips, joined by the putrid finger smears of several other vile keyboard pounders in this city.  I am willing to wager that NONE of the keyboards or poker chips in this foul convergence has ever been cleaned and disinfected since its sordid inception.

Until today.  OK, I realize it is possibly the worst poker theme I have ever thought up, but poker this week will be “sanitary.”  The chips have been washed, and everyone gets hand wipes before you play (but after you hand over your slimy money). Alcohol is a disinfectant, so we are good there.  The table will be cleaned.  The cards will be new in-package.  The conversation, however, will be as dirty as ever.  So come down to a sparkly-clean [———], at 8pm.  RSVP so I know how many pairs of nitrile gloves to buy.