Thursday, March 25, 2010

Know When to Hold 'Em - Know When to Fold 'Em

I LOVE poker terms. They are so creative and illustrative – ante, all in, bet, straight, flush, bicycle wheel, limp, deuce, dog, flop, turn, river, the list goes on and on. We all know these words thanks to a song by Kenny Rogers (I know you’re humming it now) and many others too. These words and songs invoke images of the old west when players would gamble for their lives, and scenes from the Rat Pack heyday of Vegas. They describe the cards as if they are real people and personalities. I love the ones where the Queens are portrayed at fickle Sirens who’ve just tired of a lover. But poker terms are analogous of life as well.

Since living in Cleveland, Tennessee I’ve been out of aces. Because life is a game in which the player cannot fold, I’ve not been playing the hand I’ve been dealt aggressively. I’ve kept my cards close to me and haven’t bothered to learn the “tells” and betting patterns of my fellow players. In other words, I wasn’t really living here. Sure I have a Tennessee zip code, phone number and address, but I haven’t been TRULY living here. I’ve been satisfied that.

One of my first hands I played in Cleveland was trying to start my beloved Jazzercise classes. This didn’t go my way so I lost a few chips but managed to stay in the game on a limited basis. So I’m doing what I love in a modified manner. I’m not making money and the students have given me a somewhat cool reception. I was quickly becoming the “fish” in my personal poker table to life.

Because life like poker is cyclical, without warning I’ve started receiving better cards. I didn’t believe it at first. I kept with my “non-strategic strategy” because I refuse to believe that my luck might be, could be changing.

Out of nowhere, people – young people at that – have started attending my non-profitable class at the YMCA. This makes the lack of money somewhat more palatable. I have an opportunity to teach a new enthusiastic group in Chattanooga. And truly unexpectedly, I might have an opportunity to have a class with excited students in a situation where I can make money – Dance fitness right here in Cleveland. Watch out – lightning my strike! What a freecard I’ve received.

I’ve spent years of my life working at Chambers of Commerce. Because few can take such a job that pays low and has such a fluid job description, when someone with experience makes her way into town, we seem to find each other. I’ve spoken with them twice about this job for which I’m grossly over qualified. If I don’t get it, over qualification will probably be the reason. The real job would provide some money but I’ve got some decent cards with the Jazzercise hand.

Finally I have some cards which are worth playing. There are some real choices and risks involved. The biggest risk would be me finally and actually playing the game that is Cleveland, Tennessee.

So what to do now? Finally I may be “ALL IN”.

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