I like doing the unexpected from my wheelchair whenever possible — looking sexy (check), swearing like a sailor (check), being an accomplished writer (check), and after my injury I made sure to get good at playing cards.
You see, there’s nothing more satisfying than the look in a nondisabled person’s eyes when they realize they’ve been beaten by someone with a disability — especially a woman — and so I play cards. At the casino. That’s right, the quintessential “man’s game.”
When deciding which card games to focus on, I played what came naturally to me — blackjack and Pai Gow. Pai Gow is a quick and fun little variation of poker, and the first time I pulled up to a blackjack table was — my oh my — one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life. I had so many questions: What would the dealer and other players think about my quad hands? Could I ask for help if I needed it? Was it even prudent to do so?
After a few embarrassing situations, I quickly realized no one feels comfortable touching my cards. I couldn’t hold them very well, so the next time I went to the casino I brought someone along to help me, and have done so ever since — I’m always chaperoned by either a boyfriend or a friend when I play.
While some of you hardcore players may think this sounds awful, it’s been a good thing having someone with me. They prevent me from spending too much. “Don’t you think it’s time to leave the table, Tiff?” I’m always grateful the next day for their suggestion. There’s nothing worse than losing all of your gambling money in one hand.
And what they do exactly for me is this: When playing Blackjack, my helper sits to my right and very carefully holds the cards so I can see them, but so no one else can. This is a serious art form. I fortunately can do the “tap” motion (for another card) and the “stay” motion, which helps things.
During my years of playing, I’ve had a blast. Met some great people, got out of the house and had a lot fun, but I can’t say I’ve won a lot of money over the years … but that’s OK.
Finding a hobby I love post-injury was a very important thing for me, and I made it happen. Sure it’s a pastime religious zealots hate, old ladies shake their heads at and politicians claim appeals to the dregs of society, but that’s OK.
To be honest, I think that makes it a little better. Heh.
Do you gamble? Slot machines or tables, and why?