Sunday, November 2, 2014

I hope I found the words. A letter to Tony Dick. Address, unknown.

Dear Tony,

I'm sure the last few days have been a blur. To sum the early hours of Halloween morning, you had an accident. I like to think you were speeding through the desert after a night of debauchery, with a beautiful woman on the back of your motorcycle. I'm probably not far off the mark. It didn't end well this time, buddy. On All Saints Day, it was decided that we'd lost you for good. In typical Tony style, you hung around just long enough for the Vikings to lock up a win and Dallas to get smashed by Arizona. I hope whatever is waiting for you on the other side is ready for the force that is Tony Dick. If you get a spare minute, find a way to let me know you made it. If they have Facebook in the afterlife, your wall is a glowing tribute to how many people loved you. Its also the least offensive and most polite your page has been since its inception.

You were a force to be reckoned with. On so many levels.

I hate that you bought that motorcycle, even though it made you happy. I knew you'd get yourself killed on it. I didn't know it would take you less than 90 days. If I had, so many of us would have protested more. Not that you would have listened. Not that you ever listened.

You were always going to die this way, you know. It was never going to be natural causes or old age. You lived fast, loved hard and played even harder. Everything with you was an extreme. You gave 110% of yourself and always did exactly what you wanted to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting you for it. You were more than willing to take anyone along who wanted to go. Any two people plus you and its an instant party. I just wasn't ready yet. To give you up, that is.

What I have to tell my rational brain is that every single day after your aneurysm was a gift. That all of us who were lucky enough to know you already had our greatest prayers answered. But it wasn't enough, was it? I guess not, since I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself and I can't stop thinking about what I've lost.

Thanks for wrapping your words and arms around me so many years ago when I was a fledgling in the poker industry and needed a friend. Thanks for teaching me about mixed games and tipping,  brushing off losses and celebrating the wins, hard. We commiserated over our common ground as "Broken" people. People who have battled addiction and came out on the other side, albeit a little bruised. It always brought me comfort to know you were there even though our lives have shifted in different directions now that I have a family. I'm grateful we got to talk recently.

This is the night you taught me how to deal mixed games. We were at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV. I tried, hard, to dodge this table and you made the floor (Josh Treat) send me in anyway. You sat in the ten seat and coached me through every hand. Every mistake I made, you'd throw me a red bird. And every pot I pushed, you'd scold the winner into showering me with red birds. I think I made at least $700 that night. You made a miserable moment, awesome. It wasn't the first time, or the last time. You told me you were going to win a big pot with this hand. You did. <3

I'm sorry I never paid our prop bet. I really wanted to wear a shirt that says "I Love Dick" while walking down Las Vegas Blvd on a short leash with collar. I did. Even more I wanted to buy you that steak dinner. Thanks for not pushing the issue while I was 8 months pregnant with Carter. That would have been awkward.

Speaking of awkward prop bets.
(It has been brought to my attention that this picture could be misconstrued. This pic was a joke. It was a counter argument to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that was so popular a few months ago. Kai Landry issued a "Warm Cozy Bathtub Challenge of the Rich and Famous" or something of that nature and Tony was nominated. This was his ridiculous photo response in a series of ridiculous photo response. He wasn't even close to being serious here..)

When I'd heard you were declared brain dead, 99.9% of me was shattered to the depths of my soul. The .01% (that will slowly grow over time), imagined us sitting at a bar having a Jack and Coke and joking that your brain had finally won; leaving you in second place. Your celebratory tattoo turned into both commemoration and foreshadowing. You would drink to that.

Your sense of humor was untouchable.

I will most of all miss your sense of humor. The way it echoes my own. Its inappropriate, completely without regard to the politically correct and what bonded us the most. I fucking loved you. Even if I didn't say it in so many words.

This photo captures your essence better than any other.

While I write this, they are preparing you for organ donation. This also would have made you laugh. The jokes on them when they get inside there. Can you imagine waiting for years on a transplant list only to get Tony Dick's liver? Talk about a bad beat.

I can't help but get a lump in my throat reading all the memorials growing on your Facebook wall. Who would have thought, when all the smoke cleared in the wake of your life, that the greatest thing you would be remembered for was the size of your...wait for it... heart? The words I keep reading are love, generosity, laughter, friendship, loyalty. It would have made you proud.

Instant. Party. Even though we're blurry and I'm mostly hidden behind your shoulder, this one I will treasure.

You were the super glue that held so many people together. If you were in town, acquaintances became friends for the opportunity to celebrate your visit. I had this idea that something should be done - anything - to mark your passing so that we might not let you become a memory so easily. College scholarships and park benches are reserved for these occasions, you know. Neither of which are suitable for a man like you. So my hope, instead, is that whenever a mixed game comes together on the road or during the series.. we will all remember to throw "A red bird for the dealer". A bit of "Dicking" around, if you will, in your name. You would like that

I'm pissed at you. And sorry for every single person who will miss out on the light that you brought into every room. This is the first time I've been mad at you that you won't be able to crack a joke and make it better. It isn't the last time that I crack a joke at your expense. I promise. I think this will be a hard one for a lot of us to accept. When a force as vibrant and unstoppable as you comes to a grinding halt it makes everyone a little more afraid for their own mortality. You lived more in one day than most of us do in a lifetime.

In the words of the great D-Rod, "Today, the world loses it's Dick!".

You did it your way, friend. I'm going to miss you.


Jennifer Gay