What causes such a train wreck in one's nature? These days it's trendy to throw around the concept of Bipolar Disorder. Somehow, I never felt that way about her. Instead, I leaned towards the politically incorrect catchall for women's radical personality shifts... periodic discomfort.
I supported my flimsy case by doing the math. It seemed that during twenty percent of her visits; she was aloof as if she didn't remember our previous connection, was belligerent to her fellow players and verbally abusive to me in her native tongue when she lost. Plus, she never tipped...even when everything was going her way.
To reduce my chance of embarrassment, I taught myself to wait and see if she was Jekyll or Hyde before rolling out the red carpet. Then one night, she politely took the last seat on my busy table. I was relieved to see that she was in a good spirits as she, as always, surrounded the 23, (her lucky birthday number), with the most bets.
Silently, with big smiles, we caught eye-contact as I called out, "No more bets." Suddenly, a small, faceless person crashed into the backs of the existing players. This rude person's jostling created just enough room for a petite, milky white hand to thrust through the bodies and chunk forty-dollars onto the already over-loaded 23.
While this was happening, the centrifugal force that held the ball in the track gave way to gravity. During its descent, the ball clanked and crashed into the canoes and bounced off a fret before taking three big jumps. A collective gasp filled the air. It looked like any number could win until the ball and number twenty-three seemed to align, destined to meet.
The ball hit in the twenty-three as if guided by a magnet...but its speed and the opposite momentum of the wheel caused the ball to rattle inside the compartment. At the last second, it popped up just enough to climb over the fret and into the next number, four.
CANOES ARE DIAMOND-SHAPED METAL INSERTS BUILT INTO THE WALL OF A ROULETTE WHEEL AND FRETS ARE THE TALL METAL WALLS THAT SEPARATE THE NUMBERS. BOTH ARE DESIGNED TO DEFLECT THE BALL AND ASSURE A FAIR SPIN. WHEN THE BALL LANDS IN THE WINNING NUMBER, A CRYSTAL MARKER IS PLACED ON THE LAYOUT'S CORRESPONDING NUMBER. THE OFFICIAL NAME FOR THIS MARKER IS, "THE MARKER." IN NEW JERSEY, THE CRYSTAL MARKER IS MADE OF PLASTIC. DUE TO THE RECENT ECONOMIC UPHEAVAL, ATLANTIC CITY CASINOS NOW USE IMITATION PLASTIC.
My classy lady didn't vent her frustration over narrowly missing out on a windfall. On the other hand, the voice that belonged to the faceless late bettor, cursed me so badly in a mixture of her foreign language and English that even a longshoreman would have blushed. When everyone turned to look at this vile woman, I realized that for years, I had been dealing to identical twins.
It's funny, standing side-by-side, they were quite different. I couldn't believe that I never picked up on the obvious differences in two.
The same can be said for all identical twins, they aren't exactly the same. Once you get to know them, you can key on some aspect of their face, body or personality to make the separation. Then, even when the aren't together, you can tell who's who and treat them as individuals.
One set of twins I knew growing up were easy to distinguish because one had a clear complexion, was much better in sports and had a carefree disposition. Another pair were much harder to differentiate until I noticed that the studious one had a small beauty mark along side his right eyebrow. And twin girls from middle school made it a snap to tell them apart because one was a tomboy and never adorned herself like her high-maintenance sister who wore make-up, had fancy hairdos and wore skirts even after school.
Of course not all twins are people. Twins can also be inanimate objects. I recently had trouble figuring out what I thought were twins and it almost led to me throwing my Keurig coffee maker out the window.
Before the curse of sleep apnea invaded me, I had about five cups of coffee a week. While the whole world was enthralled with Starbucks and the like, I was able to get by with one cup before each shift at work...and because I'm not much of a breakfast person...maybe another five times a year with a morning meal.
Effing sleep apnea has changed all that. For the last two years whether I get my usual five or three and a half or eight or even ten hours of sleep, every morning I am lured to the kitchen and my Keurig.
THIS KEURIG INTERNET PHOTO IS SIMILAR TO MY SET-UP.
In two minutes, a Keurig serves up a perfect, single cup of coffee. The procedure is simple, beyond the typical extras like sugar and cream, all you need is a mug, tap water and a K-Cup, (a specially designed coffee grounds capsule). K-Cups can be bought everywhere and come in over a hundred flavors, (both decaffeinated and regular). If you shop around, when bought in bulk, they run less than fifty-cents each.
My current morning routine includes me brewing a cup of Emeril's Big Easy Bold and taking it onto my backyard deck with a Sudoku puzzle, (I feel that I have succeeded in a timely manner if the coffee is still warm when I'm done). Unfortunately, my happy habit has been continually disturbed over the last month. The stupid Keurig stopped working properly.
AN (18) COUNT BOX OF EMERIL'S BIG EASY BOLD K-CUPS. SOME OF MY OTHER FAVORITES ARE, SUMATRAN RESERVE, KONA, DONUT SHOP AND DARK ROAST.
If you're an old-school fart like me, you expect things to work, forever! And if something "made-to-break" goes down, it's still shocking to me that they are economically unfeasible to repair. Therefore, it upsets me that today's consumers, in the name of their own convenience, vanity or social status, not only accept this disposable goods mentality but frequently take pride in trashing perfectly useful (sometimes high-end) items...because peer pressure tells them it is obsolete.IF THIS TREND GETS ANY WORSE, PEOPLE WILL BE ABANDONING THEIR NEW CARS, THE FIRST TIME THEY RUN OUT OF GAS.
I do not think my attitude makes me uncool, forcibly loyal, lazy or cheap. Nor I am being overly conservative or unreasonable to think that something that isn't receiving a heavy-duty work load or being bounced around, (like a coffee maker), shouldn't last for more than two years.
The root of my problem is two-fold. On day-one, the Keurig did not make the coffee hot enough for my taste. By the time I added half-n-half, it was barely lukewarm. However, I showed my flexibility and decided to use the microwave after my wife Sue told me that the temperature was just right for her. Now, two years later, problem number-two crops up, every day...I'm only getting, a half cup of coffee.
At first, I figured this to be a self-correcting mistake. Even though everything is measured to be precisely the same each time, there is also a set procedure to operate the unit. If you vary from this, sometimes the machine won't work or will stop prematurely. Most of these problems are human error...in my case that's easily explained because of sleep deprivation. But this half-filled cup was happening every day.
As you may recall, I am a charter member of the Junior Sherlock Holmes Club so after a couple of weeks, I finally whined to my wife, "Does the Keurig make you a full cup of coffee?" When she said, "Yes," I was spurred to investigate further.
There are few variables because the whole Keurig system is so simple. It was elementary to skip the K-Cup because they are uniform and factory-sealed. The choice of mugs couldn't be the problem because Sue and I randomly use the same ones; the one with snow flakes, the happy face, the head honcho or New York Mets, (that coffee cup has been banished to the farthest abyss of that cabinet...even behind the Mickey Mouse mugs).
The only possibility left was the water supply. Sue has a small plastic container with a pointed spout. Until we got this coffee maker, she used it to fill her iron. When she realized that a coffee mug was too cumbersome to fill the small water tank opening, she discovered that this device when filled to a notch near the top, fills the Keurig's reservoir perfectly.
I don't own a deerstalking cap or smoke a pipe, so when I do detective work around the house, I enlist the help of my dog Roxy and call her, "Watson." I was telling Watson that it was a good idea to wait until the Keurig was cold before examining the tank. I told her to expect an excess of water but there wasn't. My next step was filling a happy face mug with the right amount of water and pouring it into the machine. I told Watson to fetch my glasses so I could confirm that the height of the water matched the suggested level inside the tank...and it did?
Watson's ears went straight up in shock when I cried, "I'm going to throw the whole business (coffee maker), out the window!" I took a deep cleansing breath and relaxed. Then, as I dried the happy face coffee cup, I began to gather my thoughts for a letter of complaint to the Keurig company. Then I received my Sherlock Holmes moment of epiphany and poured water into the measuring device and then into the mug. Eureka! The mug was about half full. There MUST be two measuring devices.
Genius, right? Well, not exactly. A minute later, when I opened the cabinet to put the mug away, I discovered a second, identical, yet slightly smaller measuring device sitting on the shelf the whole time. Yes I solved the mystery but Roxy made it clear that she never wants to play Watson, ever again!