They say you should pursue a career in whatever it is that you would do for no pay. I disagree. I’ve seen way too many writers and artists whose passion for their craft has been diluted or even ruined by idiotic editors and art directors. They end up doing the soul-sucking drudgery work from nine to five, and by the time they’re finally off the clock, they’ve lost any steam for pursuing their true north.
If you asked me my guilty pleasures when I’m not getting paid for them, the list is fairly limited:
- Playing Tennis or Racquetball
- Playing Cards
I had the great fortune of playing hours upon hours of cards this past week with the “Sister Wives” during our annual “glamping” trip – you know, like camping, but with a general store 20 steps away from the air-conditioned bunkhouse, and did I mention that bunkhouse included a flatscreen with cable? As I was playing an intense game of Rummy with my friend Carolyn, it occurred to me, this could be my perfect job. When I start playing cards, I lose all track of time. I forget all of my woes. We could have two new Presidential administrations come and go before I noticed anything amiss. There was the one glorious night of never-ending Euchre, when I was pregnant with Jack. My cousins Jeff, Becky, and I had driven 6 hours to Strongsville, Ohio to spend the weekend with their brother, my cousin Greg. The next thing I knew, the sun was coming up, the birds were chirping, and we were still playing.
And there was the time when I lived in Florida and a group of tennis friends and I took a lengthy land yacht road trip from Fort Walton Beach to Cape Canaveral, playing Bridge for the entire drive. While others would drop out of the game, I was the constant. I never stopped playing. It remains one of my favorite memories of living in Florida.
I’d like to own a parlor where guests–vetted by yours truly–would gather to play cards. I’d hire a bartender with a beautiful Irish accent and a matching sense of humor to serve all of my favorite beverages. On menu would be Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, Starbucks coffee, New Glarus beer, Pete’s Wicked Ale (Winter Brew version), and Leinenkugel Grapefruit Shandy (but we would serve it year-’round), Riesling, Moscato, a killer Bloody Mary bar, and hard cider. Beyond that, it’s BYO.
I’d also hire a referee who knew the rules to every iteration of every card game, settling any disputes. I’ve seen some astonishing examples of “You mean you don’t play it this way?!?” where some of my opponents seem to coyly pull new rules out of their ass after we’ve already been playing it the established way for hours. These are the games I would include, offered with lessons from patient teachers for those who were interested:
- Gin Rummy
- Hands and Feet
- Michigan Rummy
- Backgammon (because I love it, and hey, I own the place!)
I’d have to add at least one trivia night pub quiz, since that is my other passion. My arm could be twisted to add dice games.
So…I’ve already named my new card-playing establishment. Are you ready for this? I’m calling it “ALL HANDS ON DECK.” With a name like that, I could fill the vacancy next door to Bob’s Burgers. So…if you suddenly see such an establishment pop up in downtown West Dundee, odds are high I’ve won the lottery. Just look for me there.