NEW YORK, NY – With expectations even lower than usual for anything that may appear in this space this Christmas morning, it made sense to take advantage of this by playing with “house money” just a bit.
And speaking of house money, I was having a grilled cheese at Earl’s Muenster this week, when who walks in, but the one and only Ed Lynch. For those of you who haven’t obsessed over the Mets since the early 70s (?) let me explain why Lynch holds a special place in the hearts of Met fans everywhere. (or like 7 of us) Lynch managed to carve out a decent little 7 year career with the Mets until. Until he strained a knee tendon after one start in April of 1986 which meant a DL stint. By the time he was healthy enough to pitch again, he learned he’d been traded to the Cubs. The Mets kicked him to the curb on their way to their most recent (29 years) World Championship.
Ed likes his grilled cheese on Sourdough Bread. Mentioned it had a lower glycemic index than white bread. I was peppering him with some good probing questions and for a while he seemed to really appreciate the attention-hell, just the fact that someone actually recognized him! But suddenly the conversation drifted elsewhere. To a dark place. A place in fact where I had no idea Lynch had ever been.
It was October 1997. The dark place was Bally’s in Atlantic City. Their overhead lighting over the Blackjack tables had always been considered the cheapest on the Boardwalk. It added to the magnificent stench of failure and despair that permeated every fiber of the frenetically designed and chaotic casino carpeting. I was sitting at a table one evening with a couple of buddies of mine, a couple of bus players, a high roller but clueless Asian gentleman, and the obligatory “blue hair” with a Tarryton in one hand and her oxygen pump in the other. It was glorious. My cards that night were another story.
Common sense and logic have always been a bit elusive for FSA, particularly when competing at anything. I was getting hammered by “Tui.” I had to counterattack. It began with small passing remarks, but that quickly turned into “under my breath” accusations of her involvement at Nuremberg, the OJ Double Murders, and the Lindbergh baby. I asked her how she slept at night; if she had a soul, a conscience, if she hated babies and puppies. She remained stoic, impervious to my stinging accusations. I complained to the Pit Boss, who offered no explanation or any indication of when a dealer change might be forthcoming. Without other recourse, I did the unthinkable. The only documented occurrence of it in Atlantic City history (post Burt Lancaster/Susan Sarandon)
I made an Atlantic City Blackjack dealer cry. She cried so hard, she was relieved of her shift and left the table. My verbal annihilation had beaten Tui. She had a coldness, an indifference to her that only pre-Cold War spies, and Chicken Hawk Draft Dodger Dick Cheney had. I went all Drago in Rocky 4 on her and announced my intention to “break her.” The Pit Boss immediately came over and invited me “upstairs” for a chat with the Casino Director. No one was pleased-especially me. I wrote a note of apology to Tui, and to the Pit Boss. The Casino Director’s name though, I neglected to collect.
So on Christmas I’d like to extend a sincere note of regret to that guy. Ed, my bad. The lighting was bad back then, my friend. Dark, too dark. Earl’s Muenster on me next time.
Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for reading.