The One Where Melvin Udall Is My Spirit Animal

I was invited to a poker game recently and it was one of those moments when my life flashed before my eyes. I gotta say, it bore a remarkably satisfying resemblance to a movie. If that movie happened to be a mashup of Good Fellas, Dexter, The Fisher King and The Shining. Don’t worry, the amalgam makes perfect sense to me sans meds. I think . . .

Anyways, this invite held all the appeal of a lunch date with my dentist. Sans meds. So I did what any civilized member of society would do when faced with an unpleasant situation. I lied my ass off. Which means that maybe there is hope for me when it comes to the idea of peacefully coexisting with other humans. Okay . . probably not. But lying in order to extricate myself from said unpleasant situation is progress. 

The last time I played poker was during the Obama administration. The unfortunately assailable contingent I had invited over decided to involve themselves in a political argument about the Philadelphia Eagles. Things got so heated that I kicked them out. Admittedly, I could’ve reacted more sensibly to their imbecilic rantings, but hey, there were five of them and I only had three bullets in my snub nosed revolver, so there’s that. 

Fast forward to recently . . .

“We’re having a get together next weekend, gonna play poker. I’m gonna have beer,” 

I should have been insulted by the way in which this individual- I’ll call him Chris since that’s his name- introduced the presence of adult beverages to me. As if I need alcohol in order to function in any kind of social setting. Never mind the fact he was correct, I was still flattered. Of course he really doesn’t know me all that well if he imagined beer was an adequate sedative for yours truly. Beer is simply the gateway drug you gift me at the door, after which I take to fixing myself a well starched martini with three olives, stuffed with Xanax. 

“Man that sounds great, but I’m having the kids over . . .” I lied. 

This is why you have kids. Well, one of the reasons. I’m sure there are others . . . 

Of course, I could have taken Chris up on the invitation if only for the material. But it would have meant spending two hours and thirty seven minutes at a social gathering I had scant (zero) interest in attending (I worked up a scientific model in which I postulate this is the minimum amount of time I would need to invest. The presence of beer added forty six minutes). 

As the above scenario involving that motley crew of football fans attests, I have an allergic reaction to gatherings of more than two individuals. In my experiences, that’s where forgettable shit tends to happen. Don’t take my word for it. Just look at Congress, and the Cleveland Browns. So to think that beer is going to san my skrit, Guten my berg or Prima my donna is to bark a Don McLean song up a redwood tree. In other words, it’s like presenting me with a coupon for a complimentary prostate exam. 

Now, if I was truly immersed in the Zen of Ernesto Fonseca Carillo, I would’ve reported this gathering to the COVID police. Problem is, there is no such organization. Yet. So instead I’ll await the post game reports that are certain to be littered with horror stories. Because every time an individual has their bell rung in the form of marriage counseling or a DUI, it can only mean one thing. 

A social butterfly just got its wings ripped off. 







62 thoughts on “The One Where Melvin Udall Is My Spirit Animal

  1. B,

    You kill me. Honestly. I was sitting here thinking, why the hell does that name (Melvin Udall) sound familiar? Of course, once I looked it up, I slapped my forehead. Can I say the movie mashup of your life sounds muy interesting? I’m picturing which parts of each movie fit 😉

    I, to be plain-speaking as I am wont to be, feel is it perfectly honest to lie through your teeth to avoid an invite you truly have zero interest in attending. And, in the long run, is it not better to lie than to say: Yanno? The idea of spending two hours and thirty-seven minutes, (with just beer), with you and your lot, makes me want to commit seppuku…

    And, hell yes, that is why we have kids! Well, the main reason, anyway…

    No, ya done good, my friend. Best to lie through your teeth in this instance. A pas de deux is much more pleasant, anyhow.

    And, as you said, you’ll get the post-game reports.

    Perfect choice of song, as per.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      Melvin is an all time great character, in my humble opinion. And to think, they did precious little back story on how he got there and STILL made him into something that memorable.

      The movie of my life will have bucco redacted parts, of course.

      I would, say that. But I have to work with this individual and they would feel awkward around me, so there’s that. And besides, they wouldn’t understand the “When Hari Met Kiri” reference. At all.

      I thought it was the main reason, but I didn’t want to come off as uncaring.

      And much more efficient. Anything with “kids” in the mix gets the glazed eyes when uttered to someone with no kids.

      The post game reports will be sponsored by marriage counselors and bail bondsmen.

      Gracias. Muchas.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree wholeheartedly! And now that you mention it, that’s is true…

        Of course. And I am willing to bet we can add a few other movie snippets in there.

        Hahaha! When Hari Met Kiri! LOL You kill me. Buahaha… Pun intended!

        Of course you didn’t.

        Yes! Bonus, I say (to using the ‘kids’ ref.)

        Perfect sponsors, I say.

        You betcha!

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s brilliant, actually. You’re always hearing about how important it is to have a clear and definable exposition of your characters. And here we got next to bupkis and like it. Because a good story IS a good story.

          Snippets. Operative word. Snippets . . .

          Hahaha! Proof that the sword is sometimes mightier than the pen.

          Of course I didn’t.

          They would be more interested in hearing about my used toenail collection. If I had a used toenail collection.

          They woik.


          Liked by 1 person

          • You said it. A good story IS a good story.

            Yes. Snippet of one, smidge of another…

            In this case, anyway!


            Eeww. No way on earth you’d ever have THAT.

            They do


            Liked by 1 person

          • Always, no matter what the ‘experts’ say.

            Smidges are good, like a preview of the movie . . sans the gratuitous schtuff.

            No kidding.


            No huway!



  2. I think you and I are brothers from a different mother, Pilgrim. There is no amount of beer available to lure me to a gathering of sweat hogs playing cards. I can’t think of anything that would drive me over the edge then to have to squint over a hand and wonder which of the belching asshats is bluffing. I just hate playing poker period. Give me the occasional hearts or bridge game, fine. Poker no way. Your post had me laughing very, very hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Any admission of such guilt is totally your fault, seeing as how you’re my slightly older brother. But yes, definitely.

      Beer is so easy. And don’t get me started on the IPA’s, that behave as if they’re the newest disco club in town while the hard working beers keep plugging away and doing their thing. And they’re all fine by me, but as a shotgun partner to my beverage of choice.

      That’s me too! (Brother). To lose to that kind of company would keep me up at night, truth be told. And I ain’t crazy about it either, seeing as how I haven’t played since kicking out my crew that night.

      Muchas gracias hermano.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve played poker off and on over the years. What I’ve discovered about it is that it is far more enjoyable to play the game with people you know who don’t take it that seriously. What makes it incredibly painful for me is when the group consists of a bunch of guys I don’t know and they treat it like they’re in the World Series of Poker. I’m just there to play cards for a bit, see how long I can last and maybe walk away with a bit of loose change in my pocket.

    The last time I played with a group of strangers — I knew one guy who invited me to join the game — it was a game where each player could put however much money they wanted in. So you had guys putting $200 in. I put $40 in. I struggled for a little bit, but after three or four hours, I was up to about $160. I decided to call it a night. I don’t think they were happy that I walked away from the table at that point. Instead of staying until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning like they did. But this old man simply don’t do that anymore. Oddly, I was never invited back to that table.

    Liked by 1 person

    • King

      Its not a matter of the one thing with this group, it’s EVERY-A-THING. From the fact that Chris used to play poker for a shits and giggles travel the country in his youth kind of existence. And I dig him very much. But I’ve a feeling he takes all post-poker brouhahas more seriously than they ever should be taken. And I don’t want to see those cards since I like him as I know him.

      Then there’s the group, it runs the gamut. From an NRA guy to an organic food eating liberal. And I think one of the fellas makes bombs in his spare time, even though I have zero proof. Hell, my profile on him is most certainly the most interesting thing about him.

      I understand and relate to your story. When I went to Vegas, I gave myself the rather paltry sum of $250 bucks to play with. I figured, when in Rome. So I made the scene of several casinos and lost a good bit of that money on the slots. I found the challenge to be finding one that wasn’t owned by a retiree, as they play theirs AND the ones on either side, as I learned. So the I hit some tables, ended up winning all my stash back and then enough to buy me a beautiful spread at the Bellagio and then some.

      And you were better off, not being invited back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well … one of the reasons I’m not offended that I never got invited back to that particular group was that they had to take a cannabis break every hour. Now understand, while I don’t smoke the weed, I have no problems with other people doing so, but shit. We’re playing poker. Why the hell do you need to light up every hour while playing poker? It completely kills the game for me — taking a 15 minute break every hour. It was ridiculous. Made me wonder how they got through regular life if they have to smoke that frequently.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ROFL.
    “This is why you have kids. Well, one of the reasons. I’m sure there are others . . .” And all the “san my skrit” and “Guten my berg” stuff is what I live for, man.

    Your description of previous torturous episode reminded me of a time we went to dinner with my employers and a (Canadian) buddy. One of said employers and said buddy – clearly at opposite ends of the political rainbow – got into such a heated “discussion” in the very fancy restaurant, I was ready to crawl in my shoe. They were having the time of their lives, and totally oblivious to their obnoxiousness. Never. Again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha!

      I mean, I could list a bunch of other reasons if given the time . . I’m sure of it!

      And it’s a good thing to write this stuff, because when I say it in public, I get the craziest looks.

      No, no, and most of all no. That is another thing about this group. They run in polar opposition as far as politically charged price tags are concerned. So you’re talking Eagles, and Cowboys and a Patriots fan. An NRA paint ball blue ribbon cowboy, a liberal and I’m pretty sure a nihilist is also going to make the scene.

      How’s about I fire up Netflix instead and settle in with a friendly beverage.

      Yes? Meet indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t remember the last time played poker. Probably on a machine at a casino. But in a group? Who knows when. Once I figured out the identity of Melvin Udall, I wondered how much you influenced that movie. Getting together for poker and beer sounds like a time warp – something for the 20 somethings (which I know is not us) … but you tapped into my curiosity with the calculation of 2 hours 37 minutes. Did you use the Penrose-Hawking Singularity Theorum?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cincy

      Welp, I can’t even blame Obama for having broken up my last poker get together even though it WAS on his watch.

      My previous relationship with Helen Hunt might have had something to do with it. But really, who knows?

      We used to have football game get togethers until it became too rowdy for that. So of COURSE the poker game turned INTO a football game get together. And that, as they say in the movies, was that.

      How did you know? Was it the black hole of social ineptitude that gave it away? Or the density of the company? Well played!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hahah. I just spewed my tea all over my computer!!! Okay I lied but that post would have been worth the spewing. If there is Justifiable Homicide then there must be Justifiable Fabrication. Works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Funny!
    Well, at least you make an excuse… the kids are coming.
    I’m not so nice. I just say no thank you to free tickets to a mammogram!
    It was hard enough to get me to a SMALL social event before Covid…. now it’s next to impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bwahahahaha! I love “Beer is simply the gateway drug.” You crack me up, man. Yeah, we’ve all used family as an excuse for saying “sorry, can’t make it…” There’s probably no need for the rest of the world to see the wings ripped off, right? 😈

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true! LOL

      The kids are my million reasons why, but I do so love to give them shit every chance I can. Reason being, they never miss a chance when it comes to giving the old man shit. Hey, turnabout is the fairest of play.

      I ain’t gonna wanna see what happens on the other side of that testosterone laden enchilada, but I will tune in for all the grisly reports.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Rikien Wilder….look him up for hero. I couldn’t find your contact info but hopefully you can find him with regards to the MTA…it’s a different kind of hero, but to me he deserves note

    Liked by 1 person

  10. First off those movies rock. Secondly Don Neto? Dude that was a good series. But I bet if Don Neto was playing poker you’d be like all right I’ll bring the tequila. I don’t know about playing it though I haven’t been one for cards but sometimes I hear it gets intense and people get weird toward the end if they don’t really know each other. Maybe like Rounders only without high stakes and cool factor like Malkovich. But I’m still loving your story and the song that goes with it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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