The time has come for me to give up a long term addiction. My name is David Zeitlin, and I am an addict. For about a decade, I have been addicted to AOL Instant Messenger.
I discovered this computer program when I was an intern at a law firm in the summer of 1997. Unbeknownst to the law firm’s elders, AIM quickly became a favored form of secret communication between and amongst the younger associates. When I graduated law school and took a job at that same firm–a shitty job that placed me in front of a computer all day–I needed something to keep me sane. Enter AOL Instant Messenger.
I despise the telephone. So since 1998, it is not an exaggeration to say that I have typed more words into AIM message boxes in the aggregate than I have spoken. I’m not kidding.
It started at the big law firm. There, my addiction was both born and nurtured. It took management several years to discover that most of its employees under the age of 30 were stealing paychecks whist LOL’ing their days away, with yours truly leading the charge. Screw the water cooler–we didn’t have to even leave our chairs to bullshit with one another. And the network of bullshitters extended far beyond the firm’s office walls; it included all the other offices in the world with internet servers! It was AIM that brought the art of bullshitting into the modern era. Inevitably, the firm made an attempt to firewall AIM, but we were crafty. We figured a way around it and continued firing yellow smiley faces at one another to our hearts’ content. By the time I left the big firm, I was so addicted to AIM that I had my father’s internet system upgraded upon my arrival.
Over AIM, I have conducted business, argued with family members, shared secrets, fallen in love, broken up with girlfriends, even maintained entire relationships that never existed anywhere outside of that little chat box. But mostly, I have filled my AIM chatboxes with the inane small talk that is otherwise conspicuously absent from the rest of my life. It is my main form of communication with pretty much everyone, all the way down to my mother and my girlfriend. My list of AIM contacts is insanely long–it has to be seen to be believed. If AIM had a list of its best clients and/or most frequent users, I guarantee you I’d be near the top of it.
Unfortunately, AOL Instant Messenger has a deleterious effect on my ability to concentrate while I’m playing online poker. Three active poker tables is enough to clog one’s monitor and mind; five additional flashing boxes filled with and “yo what up’s,” “BRBs,” and “wheeeeeees” make optimal poker decision making nearly impossible. Going forward, I can no longer answer my friend’s inquiries regarding the roster of the 1987 New York Knicks, my girlfriend’s sage observations from the prior night’s American Idol and my mother’s investigative reports on my dinner plans for the week while simultaneously deciding whether or not I should checkraise “BigErn420” all-in with an open ended straight draw on table three.
The worst AIM/poker mishap, of course, is the dreaded misclick: this occurs when a contested hand is abruptly interrupted by an AOL window at the very moment that i’m selecting a course of action, and inadvertantly redirects my cursor as I point and click. It’s nice to hear from an old friend on AIM, but when the price is an accidental preflop reraise with 10-4 offsuit, it kind of ruins things.
It has taken me a very long time to do something about it, but I am not working at 100% capacity with AIM open. It is time for a change (you are free to observe that I never even considered this measure in my former profession). In the next few days, I will cease using AOL Instant Messenger while I play poker online. My fellow AIM users: if you see me online, it means I’m not playing poker. And I’m always playing poker. I expect to suffer severe withdrawal, so wish me luck, but it has to be done. Bye, everyone. 😦
And another change is afoot: Starting this week, I will be gracing New York City’s poker clubs much more regularly. I have been passing up the free money that flies around in these joints for far too long. This decision is based on a single hand that I witnessed last week at a certain midtown card club. I decided to accompany my friend Jon to the club, and I sat down in the 2-5 NL game. Then this transpired:
Player A is in late position with approximately $2000. Player B is on the button with approximately $1200. Both are playing normally until this hand is dealt. All fold to Player A, who makes it $35 to go. I am sitting between them and fold. Player A reraises to $70, and the blinds fold. Player B puts in the third raise, to $250. Player B calls. The flop comes A-K-10 rainbow. Player A bets $50 into the $500 pot. Player B raises to $200. Player A calls. The turn is another ace. Player A bets $250. Player B calls. The river is a four, so the board is A-A-K-10-4. Player A puts Player B all in for aobut $450 more, and Player B instantly calls. Player A turns over pocket kings, for a full house, kings full of aces, and player B gets pissed and fires his cards face up into the muck: pocket dueces.
I ought to be playing in these games more often.