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Victor, part I - Walter's Walk
August 8th, 2011
08:06 am


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Victor, part I
Sitting at a poker table, I couldn't help but be amazed by the number of young players who seem to view the entire universe through the portals of their iPads. I know better, but as always, I just can't help myself.

"When I was a kid, we didn't have these toys. We had to go experience reality in the face rather than through Apple-colored glasses."
"When I was a kid?! When I was a kid?! Haha! You mean the limit hold'em era? I'm pretty sure our era dominates yours, old man."
"Oh, I don't think so."
"It's a mathematical fact." He fires yet another under-the-gun raise. "We have the same planet by and large, give or take a few rain forests. But we have a host of other options. Since options by definition have a non-negative value, the surfeit of said options enables my generation's reality to lord over yours."

His math is correct. Time for a chop-block attack. Also might wanna throw in some geek talk to try unbalancing him by making him think he has underestimated the old guy.

"You assume the option pool is monotonically increasing, but there are options expiring all the time. Moreover, the homogeneity of the present-day option pool begets an imbalanced life portfolio." Self satisfied I am.

"Name one."

Dammit. I can't even think one step ahead. That used to never happen.

(!) "When I was a kid, I turned on the TV and watched a man walk on the fucking moon! If that even happens in your lifetime, you'll be grayer (if you're so lucky) than I am now." Picking up pocket jacks, I three bet him.

Score! He doesn't say a word and retreats to the cold comfort of his iLose. Mentally, I start doing a little Hitlerian jig, but am interrupted shortly therein as he holds up his iPad. The action is folded around to him.

"You mean like this?" He swivels the display before me. Thereon does Neil Armstrong step off a ladder and into botched-synonyms history.

"It's not the same. Live it was a total mindfuck."

"You mean you were on the moon when it happened?" He puts out a big four-bet.

"Um, no, I mean..." I mumble off while focusing on the chips he just threw into me. Meekly I fold my jacks. He shows 42o.

I don't say anything for a while, and the rest of the table seems quite happy with that.

Several orbits later, the sting had subsided and I had forgotten even what it was we were discussing, but then some other part of my brain took over and I blurted.

"Van Halen."

"What are you talking about?"

"Van Fucking Halen. I saw Van Halen May 7, 1984. Van Halen at the peak of their rock powers. David Lee Roth in the lead. Eddie was still just a blow monkey back then rather than the wino he is today. Place goes dark. Dah-nah-na-na-na-na. Dah-nah-na-na-na-na. Nah-na-na-na-na-na. Unchained!"

He starts tapping on his iPad.

"Haha! I was there this time." Apparently my brain was calculating one move ahead while I was sulking.

"You were in the band?"
"No, I mean I was there. Live."

"So you were a watcher. And instead of watching in the comfort of your living room, you were packed in like buckyballs with five guys' dicks rubbing up against you and the sixth hurling his Jack 'n' Koolaid. Honestly, I don't know how my generation handles missing out."

I briefly thought of pissing on his momentum by adding, "and passing the overcompressed, underconscious bodies overhead," but questioned whether that would really buttress my argument.

I remained silent for quite some time.



(7 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Just remind him that the structure of society is essentially unchanged over the last 2000 years. The rich still have all the money, the poor still beg in the streets, and those in between still waste their time watching sport in the Colosseum and wagering in games of chance.

Sure, he doesn't eat and vomit for fun. But then, doesn't know what he's missing.
[User Picture]
Date:August 8th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Just tell him when you were a kid you swam in rivers and lakes in water that was clean enough to drink, and actually breathed the air in L.A. without choking on it. And, that you could jump on the 405 and get anywhere you wanted to in 15 minutes.
Date:August 9th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Punch him in his stupid face, right through the iFag. Well, we can fantasize.
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2011 05:33 am (UTC)
You used the wrong example in your argument. What you should have done is compared his generation to our father's generation. I mean...this kid gets to spend his time on the internet, but when my dad was his age he was taking broads two at a time to see Elvis in person and fearlessly bang both broads afterwards without the threat of herpes or aids.

[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
Perhaps my dad left a video of it on youtube for your pudknocking opponent to watch.
[User Picture]
Date:August 14th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)


I'm not sure I'm clear on what the argument is about here. Namely, I don't exactly understand the metric being used to measure one generation against the other (at best it seems like that metric may be a moving target). But the best I can figure, it seems to primarily have to do with how things are experienced by the current generation vs previous generations.

Your young opponent has already stated the value of options. I assume he meant that he has options to experience many more things, but he seems to have overlooked the options that come from the diversity of ways that one can experience a single thing. He demeans your Van Halen experience, overlooking that the options of feeling the vibration of the music, seeing the flashing lights, and yes, even the smell of the crowd were available to you and not to him, so there is - mathematically speaking - an increase in value inherent in those added options.

But his far more egregious error came regarding the moon landing. An integral part (and possibly the most important part, experience-wise) of an event like that is not actually witnessing the actions, but the uncertainty of the outcome. I would rather watch the Superbowl with an old 36-inch crt TV without knowing the outcome ahead of time than watch it on a 60-inch plasma when I know what's about to happen.

I wouldn't trade being able to live in this time of explosive gains in technology for anything. But there are also some valuable things that are lost forever that people don't typically think about. I'm glad I can now correspond instantly with faraway friends, but I don't think the increase in value is a linear function of the period of time saved - there is also value in the experience of seeing a long-awaited letter in the mailbox and seeing the distinctive handwriting of the other person. I'm glad I can record a hockey game and watch it later commercial-free, but there is also value in having to make a point to be at a specific place at a specific time to watch it, as well as watching it with the knowledge that no one else knows the result either, and not living in fear that someone will call or text something that ruins everything, and so on.

I wouldn't give up modern conveniences. But I wouldn't give up the experiences I have had that were borne out of the absences of these conveniences, either. Trying to explain this to someone so far removed from those experiences is akin to attempting to explain to a person blind from birth what the color green looks like.
[User Picture]
Date:August 14th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)

Re: whippersnapper

Holy Gestalt Therapy, Batman!
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