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TheTemplar

West Bound and Down Pt.II

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"Of all the money e'er I had, I spent it in good company."

Last night I sat up till about 4am just thinking about the past. Thinking about all the things I have been through in my life. Whether it be the good, the bad, the best, or the worst, I certainly have had all of the above more times that any man can handle.

If you think back a your poker career, or gambling career. Do me a favor and think about all the times you had the best of it. Think about all the times you were the king of your own world. Remember how it felt knowing you could go anywhere and do anything because you knew you had the funds to do it. Knowing you don't have to worry about money is a beautiful thing, and there is no feeling like it.

Now while you think of these times you had in your life, I also know what lingers in the back of your mind. What happened to that money? Where did it go? Why did you buy those things, or why did share it with so many people?

Why are we always thinking negatively? Why are so many of our good thoughts taken over by the feeling of when we fucked up. A man once told me that our good thoughts are like a sunny day, and our bad thought are like that storm lurking on the horizon. We know that at any time our sunny day can turn into a shit storm.

The man who said that to me was my first sponsor at GA. He really was a beautiful man who I loved and looked up to. I met him for the first time in 1999, when I attended my first GA meeting.

My first GA meeting was a great experience, yet I really wasn't there because I thought I had a gambling problem. I was there for all the wrong reasons. I was there to collect a debt from a client who was ducking the bookie/loanshark I worked for. Collecting was always a sick but fun experience for me. To think that someone would send out a 17 year old to collecting debts from clients 3 times older and 2 times bigger than them is crazy. Yet I was the right kid for the job.

I grew up fighting and I loved it. My father got me into martial arts at a very young age. At the age of 11, I received the first of 3 blackbelts that I achieved over the years. Yet again I was doing something for all the wrong reasons. It took me a couple of years after that to realize the people who cared about me, or I should say who I thought cared about me, were just simple exploiting my so called talents.

Before going to that GA meeting I sat down with the bookie and went over the game plan. I was suppose to sit in the meeting and not say a word. After the meeting I was to follow the client to his truck and shake him down. I wasn't too nervous as I have done it numerous times, but this time was a little different.

When you sit in a meeting for the first time its a little odd because you hear all these strangers speak of their feelings, their fears, and how they were trying to make it right. Well when it came time for me to speak I simply passed. I didn't have anything to share, I was simply there on business and man I needed my part of the cut. I owed money too and I wasn't leaving till I got that money, his car, or collateral.

Writing about this right now makes me really feel like shit. I mean damn, how naive could I have been? How stupid was I at one time? But that's what gambling does to you. It's a sickness that will blind you to all reality.

Well when it was my marks turn to speak I was shocked. Being new to the group, I didn't know that he had been a member for well over 25 years, and in that 25 years he had only slipped up once. It just so happened that I was there to collect for that one slip up.

I remember like it was today, how Henry spoke of what he did wrong, how he did it, and that there was nobody that could help him. Henry was a 55 year old with 4 children and 2 grandchildren. All but two of which he hadn't seen in over 20 years. He was kicked out of his home 25 years before, and he hadn't been back. As the story continued I could see the despair in his raspy worn out voice. The years of stress, anxiety, shame, and remorse planted itself in every wrinkle on his face. Every ounce of pride he had left his body after a lifetime of hurt, was replenished by disgust. His time finally ended and on to the next person it went.

The entire rest of the time I kept thinking to myself, what the fuck am I going to do. For once in my life I felt like shit about collecting. How could I make this guy pay? How could I go shake a guy down who starred me in the eyes open heart'ed, spilling his emotions to me. When I first walked in the meeting I couldn't wait until it was over, (I even thought about pulling the fire alarm) and now I was hoping it lasted another couple of hours.

The meeting finally ended and I couldn't bring myself to confront Henry. He was crying inside and out, and so was I. At the time, I had about 7 thousand to my name, so I did what I thought I should. I paid his 25 hundred dollar debt, and went on about my life. I obviously told the book that he gave it to me, and that he didn't want to be bugged anymore.

Although I kept collecting for another 2 years, in the back of my mind I always tried to put myself in their shoes. I continued to go to the meetings regularly, and often had encounters with people who I previously collected from. Henry never knew that I paid his tab or that at first I was to press him, and well I never told anyone.

Wish everyone the best, and I hope you enjoyed this story. Next blog will be much lighter as I will talk about taking poker serious, playing in college, and getting arrested. Should be a good one.

Run good,

TheTemplar
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Comments

  1. nm river ratt's Avatar
    tell me more
  2. Fergie72's Avatar
    Great story! Id like to think Id have done the same thing.