07 June 2010

Day 72: Deepwater

Deepwater by Matthew F. Jones.  ISBN: 9781582340593.

There's an awful lot of poker going on in this book, and not a whole lot else of interest.  Unless you want a glimpse into the Manly male psyche as perceived by someone who is probably not very Manly (judging by the slim biographical information and the outdated photo), this is definitely a "last resort" read.  I can't tell if the author was more obsessed with his own penis (in the guise of the main character's) or penises in general.  He certainly mentioned them often enough, and for some reason seems to think that just because a female lusts after a man it means she gets wet at the drop of a hat.  I'm not sure what to think about men who ignore female physiology, but it's probably nothing good.  I was going to talk about poker, so let's stop with the analyzing of overtly masculine imagery and phallic fiddlings and talk cards.

I've never been a big fan of gambling, but my fiance's extended family uses it as an excuse to get together and eat copious amounts of food while ridiculing each other all in the name of fun.  This usually occurs on bank (i.e. federal) holidays, so of course I was present at the last game on Memorial Day.  Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure I met Danny's extended family a year ago on Memorial Day under the same circumstances.

I've occasionally played cards with them.  I don't mind it, although lately it hurts more than I care to admit to even lose the measly $5 we play with.  Poker is just not one of those games I care for.  On the one hand, you have to rely on your luck, on the other you have to rely on your ability to lie better than everyone else and/or be able to tell when they're lying to you.  These do not seem like characteristics that we should be proud of, even under fairly innocent circumstances such as poker games.

Part of the problem might be that I associate poker with my father, even though I don't recall him ever actually hosting poker games at our house.  He just seems like the kind of character who would host a game in order to fleece his friends in a "friendly" game.  I still picture him as he was in the late 90's, when I used to see him on a daily basis: with mostly black hair, going grey at the temples, salt and pepper beard, and a receded hair line with a bald pate at the back.  He had broad shoulders and a mid-sized midsection.  Not what you would qualify as fat, but definitely not fit or even just overweight.  He had substance to him, is the best way to describe it.  His mustache was faintly tinted yellow from his smoking.  To this day I cannot think of my father without thinking of the white pack of Kool mentholated cigarettes and the smell of nicotine.

His current appearance is still somewhat shocking to me, almost like he's become an old man overnight, although in the way of children, I've never considered him young.  He's older yes, but he's also lost something that gave him that substantial feel.  Yes, he's about 30 pounds thinner, but it's not just that.  He seems to have given up on living and is just letting life carry him along.  He's almost completely bald now with a thin strip of white hair running from temple to temple around the back of his head dome.  He lost the beard and mustache (the first time I saw him without them in years, I didn't recognize him and wasn't sure whether or not I should punch him to keep him from hugging me at my maternal grandmother's funeral).  He still smells like cigarettes and still smokes, although I imagine he'll have a little more incentive to stop with his recent bladder cancer. 

He just seems thin, without actually being skinny or skeletal.  It's like all the bitterness that's been inside him all this time has finally turned acidic and started eating him from the inside.  I don't know what my mother ever saw in him.  I don't know what even I ever saw in him that made me think I loved him.  There's so little left of him to love.  It's not that he doesn't have people to love him, or who would be willing to love him if he weren't so acerbic and sarcastic, it's that he focuses more on what he doesn't have and can't see past that.

He's one of those people who will die later than we expected him to, and when he does we'll all stand around and talk about what an asshole he was.  But he was so smart.  And had good taste in music.  And was occasionally a fun guy to be around.  But man was he an asshole.  He's just that kind of a guy, a bare husk of a man with no substance.

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