Poker Cats

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why we fight

Crazy people walkin’ round
With blood in their eyes
And all she wants to do is dance, dance
Wild-eyed pistol wavers
Who ain’t afraid to die
And all she wants to do is-And all she wants to do is dance.
-Don Henley

There's not some other world out there where everything's gonna be okay. There's just this one, just this rock.
-The Thin Red Line

So last night I'm sitting upright in an office chair of some luxury high rise in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, peering down, peeking at my cards, tossing some chips out or throwing the cards away.
I'm warm and happy and winning money at the not-so-aggressive game. Mark is at the other side of the five- or six-handed NL table. It's the first time he's been out at a live Atlanta game since he's been back from Chile. And the first one I've been to since the lucrative Emory game petered out in February. It's good to be going to games with him (and soon others from our crew), a pair of wayward Jedi taking on all.
Nearby on the TV is FOX news. It's New Orleans, looking every bit as appealing as war-torn Iraq. Table talk was of all the chaos there and I'm thinking how can this be? Harrah's New Orleans -- the place where I enjoyed playing $3/6 in May when I went there with Jill -- I read, is now a police command post.
But I know how it can be. We've dealt with chaos abroad in some areas of Iraq and it was only a matter of time before something like this caused similar mayhem on the homefront. A nuke. An earthquake. A hurricane.
"Don't say this wouldn't happen in Atlanta," someone says. Oh, yes, it would.
Already, the hurricane's after-effects caused a ripple in Atlanta with spiraling gas prices. On Wednesday, it hit about $4 a gallon at the gas station near our watering hole. And then the gas was all sold out by the time we finished dinner. I was a little worried about driving to the poker game out of concerns about fuel but I guess my fears were unfounded -- there was plenty of gas available. It was just $3.30 a gallon.
It's such a fine line between the warmth and coziness of civilization as we know it and the chaos and violence that makes for good cable news spots. The blog title is from one of the episodes of HBO's awesome Band of Brothers mini-series.
Why do we fight?
We fight for security and stability. Or else atrophy sets in. What happens when the works of man are left to their own devices? You get Rhyolite, the old mining town in Nevada filled with the decaying buildings of yesteryear, instead of its Nevada cousin, Las Vegas.
It's a fight against time and Nature. A fight against ourselves, our needs and aggression. A fight against our complacency -- we can win by better planning and preparing for the things that can eat at our very civilization.
We fight for the ability to do this -- hold a friendly poker game in the middle of the week, where the only thing you have to worry about is the rocky gray-haired man two seats to your right slowplaying you. To compete without battle or guns. And to find a way to have fun on this rock where we spend our entire lives.
New Orleans, more so even than the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, has taught me to be grateful for what I have, where I live and why it's important to support the things that provide upkeep for that way of life.

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