I don't like admitting defeat. But I do like to give credit where credit is due. 2010 has been a fun and exciting year in poker for me, and for a lot of my friends. I don't think there are very many people who know me who do not also immediately think of Scott Williams. This is purely accidental. I hear all sorts of stories.. people who believe we're cousins, (or as he puts it "kissing cousins"), people who think we're poker partners, people who believe I'm a hooker he picked up at the Horseshoe (long story), and most frequently.. people who believe we're married or at the very least romantically involved. I often hear from friends of friends of friends, people recounting stories of being at a table with us (Why does he always draw my table?!) and saying "Oh those two, they're so funny." Or more frequently "Hey Jen, where is Scott?" if I'm out in a card room without him. I will go on record by saying that him and I are not, and never have been (even after considerable alcohol impairment) anything more than just really good friends. I honestly know nothing about his love life, and I only tell him the parts of mine that are funny or entertaining.
"Funny" is the word that almost everyone who knows either of us, associates with either of us. And when we get together, we have a good balance of feeding each other material for entertainment purposes.
What a lot of people catch glimpses of, but maybe not the whole scope, is that we have a long standing practical joke rivalry. We're constantly in competition, whether its through prop bets or good natured embarassment of the other. We enjoy getting laughs out of others, but its deeper too.. we also really like besting the other. The reason him and I are able to be such good friends.. is absolutely nothing is off limits. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that whatever extent I go to, to humiliate him, will not cross the line. Better yet, we're both the type to actually applaud a well timed joke.. even at our own expense. I'm actually proud of him when he executes a perfect insult, and I know he's at least a little proud when I manage to turn an entire poker room on him.
This year was fairly back and forth. I lost an "anything goes" bet on American Idol. (..so, so lame. He BARELY won). I got him to accidently drink a solid mouthful of tea tainted with about four pounds of table salt during the Gulf Coast Poker Championship. I lost a bet for my hotel room key in a poker tournament in front of dozens of strangers who now honestly believe me to be a prostitute. I evened the score of his 7th place finish in a ring event, by managing a 7th place finish the same day in a later event. He invited a really creepy stalker of mine to join us for dinner at a really fancy restaurant, where my stalker proceeded to inform the waitstaff that I was his sister and we regularly engage in sexual activity. I convinced a flamboyantly gay waiter at a steakhouse that Scott couldn't live without him, and he proceeded to rub his chest all over Scotty's back during a poker game while cooing sweet nothings in his ear. We both got owned by four guys right out of prison, in the bar at the Beau Rivage when the whole scene took a turn straight out of Deliverance and we were equally fearful for our odds of getting out unharmed. There was poetry and random comments like "you sure do got a pretty mouth" (And the guy was talking to Scott). We both managed to pick up a girl in the same bar weeks prior, get her up to the hotel room, and still NEITHER of us got any action.
Up until now, either one of us would clearly declare ourselves the winner in both witt and humor, not to mention the perpetual torture of the other. Tonight though, two days before the New Year, he actually made me marvel. You see, I greatly appreciate when someone goes to lengthy extent to pull off a gag. Tonight when I came into the poker room, there was a wrapped present. Complete with bow. The paper read "Ho ho ho" (He calls me the "Poker Ho"). I didn't take the bait and actually stayed as far away from the offending object as possible until he had the other poker host deliver it to HIM at the poker table. He then declared that this was, in fact, my Christmas present to him. (Odd, because I was pretty sure that we had a mutual understanding that Christmas presents were stupid and not necessary between us). So this was an unexpected twist. I knew it would be funny, whatever it was. But I was a little afraid. Midget porn? Extenze male enhancement pills? A penis pump? Whatever was in that box, I had a prepared comeback.
He made a big display of opening his present in front of everyone. Inside, was a framed picture, with a little thought bubble attached to an adjacent frame. Framed in pink construction paper, with a little cut out heart was a picture of me (stolen from Facebook), apparently in thought.. and inside the thought bubble, outlined in pink heart.. is a picture of him sitting at a poker table. He gushed over the picture and thanked me profusely. I had no idea what to say to this. I was in a terrible catch 22. 50% of the people who play in my poker room believe me to be desperately in love with Scotty. The other 50% believe him to be retarded over me. So to them, me giving him this gift.. only solidified their assumptions. There was laughter, but mostly sweet "Ohhhs and Ahhhs" over my apparent romantic notion. Only I had absolutely NOTHING to do with this. Not only did he design, decorate and wrap this gift himself.. right down to the pink heart, but he also graciously thanked me with a very believable "touched" expression.
On one hand, I kind of want to kill him right now. Even after he left, people assured me that I didn't need to be embarassed over "my" gift. You see, we joke so often and no one knows when we're being serious, that everyone literally believes they intruded on a personal moment. That I am, afterall, desperately in love with him.. and they've been right all along. So instead of being the funny, cool poker chick who routinely shoots Scotty down, now.. the tables have been turned. Now I'm the sort of woman who cuts up pictures with pink construction paper and frames them for my high school sweetheart.
On the other hand, this is the most delightful gift I've ever gotten. Scotty wasn't rewarded with the scores of laughter he'd hoped to receive, but what he doesn't know is that I am in complete awe of him right now. The amount of thought he put into publicly torturing me is tremendous. The extent that he would go to to embarass me at my place of work is absolutely fantastic. I don't think I will ever be able to look at that framed atrocity without laughing out loud. Its the sort of thing that won't make sense to nine out of ten people, but that ridiculous framed picture sums up our entire relationship. No.. not some secret adoration, but rather, the perpetual understanding that while neither of us have egos.. we've created some comical alternate reality that fuels the outside perception of us. Its flawless.
Here is the bad news. There are two days left in the year, and unless I come up with something brilliant.. I will have to grudgingly admit that he's gotten the better of me in 2010. I say grudgingly, because if I couldn't win.. the only other person I would be okay with taking down the victory would be Scotty too Hotty.
2011 is going to be a bitch of a year for him though. He really should move. Out of state. With an unlisted number. Quickly.