Note: Also titled: “Die hippies, die!” This is a reprint of a controversial column.
Although many of Mike’s friends tend to be liberals, they may abandon him after reading his attack on the sixties. So, don’t tell.
Die, hippies, die!
Die, hippies, die! But, you won’t, will you? You won’t do even that simple little favor for me. Instead, you’re determined to leave your goofy, guru-inspired grumblings all over the planet — hippie droppings everywhere, destined to become permanent and petrified.
Let’s talk. Think back to… oh, around 1969 to 1976. Remember how we would sit around and you would blurt, in your thickened good-grass smokin’ voice, “Nobody should have to work for a livin’. If me and Sally were in charge of this country, there’d be free cars and television and food and whatever the people need.”
Remember how I would nod affectionately and ask, “But where would all that come from if nobody worked?”
Make other stuff
You would invariably grow irritated and say something like, “Big corporations are creating all those tanks and bombs. All we need to do is tell ’em to make other stuff instead.”
And Sally would leap from the sofa, shrieking, “Right on, man!” and roll another bomber (i.e., a big, fat marijuana cigarette, for those lucky enough not to have suffered through the sixties). “They’d rather make things for their rich pig friends than feed the people and give us new televisions.”
Here’s a hippie photo of Mike Caro from 1977. He wasn’t actually a hippie; he merely looked like one. See entry about the photo here.
Not so funny anymore. Back then, I found my friends’ behavior amusing. Once in a while, I tried to reason with them, but mostly I just sat back and observed. Sometimes, I listened to words like these: “Vote? None of us will ever vote. That’s establishment bullshit. You gotta sell out to the establishment to vote, man.” SO, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU VOTING NOW? WHO ASKED YOU TO? DOESN’T YOUR WORD MEAN ANYTHING? Sorry if I’m shouting.
By now my regular readers are wondering what this has to do with poker. Not a damn thing that I can think of… except… hang on, we’re getting there. There were many other favorite causes for the hippies: They hated banks, they thought that taking a job for the money was “selling out.”
They said things like, “It doesn’t matter if your parents really did something bad to you or not, if you think they did it, then they did it.” And that made perfect sense to them, because they were squiggly, wiggly people. And they have grown up to be what I call squiggliwigs. Please don’t think I’m being mean-spirited by coining this term. I have actually field tested it on real hippie remnants and they like it!
Everything made perfect sense to the squiggliwigs, except logic. Just use the word logic positively in a sentence and you’d be confronted with a drug-induced, contemptuous stare. Now, I know that many readers think I’m exaggerating, but those who lived in those times among those peers will confirm that every word I’m saying is true.
Another thing: If you ever tried to reason with a hippie, challenging a cherished notion, you would often be told that you were “playing with my head.” This was never said lightly, because “playing with my head,” especially among women, had become a crime unparalleled — equivalent to assault. Hippies and other similar sixties people professed love, but they could be very hateful. I know, I was there.
They professed total tolerance, but they were among the most intolerant people who ever walked this earth. I know, I was there.
Should you compete?
Anyway, one special concept of the hippies was that competition is bad. You cooperate, you don’t compete. Last week, I realized just how embedded the ghosts of the sixties are in our lives today. I’ve finally come to believe that the majority of people that surround us are not sane.
We enjoyed the hippies because what they did seemed fun, and because we believed they were just kids who had decided to delay maturity by five or ten years. But 11 years passed, and 15, and 20, and now 25 or more, and there is no sign that they will ever mature.
Obviously, when I say the majority of people around us are not sane, I had better mean that as a powerful figure of speech used to pound home a point, not as a statement to be taken literally. Unfortunately, I want you to take it literally. I honestly believe that the poisoned thoughts of the squiggliwigs have polluted the mainstream.
Sadness and shock
Here’s why I’m writing this today. It’s that last hippie concept I talked about: Competition is bad. Well, a few weeks ago the Little League team representing the United States (Mission Viejo) played a team from Mexico for the championship. Our guys are leading 4-1 going into the bottom of the final inning.
Pitcher gets tired. Hits batter. Walks batter. New pitcher. Homerun ties game. Sadness and shock all over the young pitcher’s face. Whole team is in fog. Runner gets on base, goes to second. Somewhere in here, we change pitchers again, I think. Not positive. Ball hit to outfield. Gets by center fielder. Run scores. Center fielder collapses facedown in outfield, possibly sobbing. End of his world. Great drama. Television has come of age.
Kids feel they choked. Total numbness and disbelief. Fine. All is as it should be. But, over the last few days in Los Angeles, there’s been a feast of news coverage celebrating this defeated team as a wondrous success. OK. They got to the final game; they deserve credit for that. But, let’s get something clear.
Most newsrooms throughout this nation are populated by people who went through colleges learning sixties-style messages. And one of those messages was that competition isn’t so good, and losing isn’t so bad.
As a consequence of this sixties, squiggliwig thinking, the accolades these kids received for losing went way beyond what they would have received for winning. In fact the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles proudly abandoned their regular news format and gleefully devoted the first eight minutes of the 6 O’clock news to the celebration.
Harmful concepts. This makes me sad. The squiggliwigs from the sixties don’t care how much they harm children with their nonsense. If these kids believe that they failed and that their glorious one-time opportunity escaped them, then let them grow from that pain. That pain is good. That pain has purpose. It conditions them to protect a win more aggressively next time.
There is pain in losing; there is pain in life. We should tell these kids, “I, too, know what losing feels like. You blew it, but remember today, so that you won’t want to feel this way ever again. Next time you won’t blow it.” If you condition someone to feel more valuable by losing than by winning, common sense has been rolled over, and we might as well get stoned so that this stuff makes sense to us, too.
I’ve finally had enough of the sixties. It’s my fault, by the way. Instead of nodding bemusedly in response to the brain-dimmed babbling back then, I should have sent these people to their rooms without supper.
Now they can’t see the difference between what is grownup and what is juvenile. They can’t see the difference between what is logic and what is squiggliwig.
Long ago, when I sat on a sofa and listened to their babble, trying to be friendly, I never thought these same people would sometime want to take charge of the universities, the newsrooms, and the legislatures. I never dreamed there would dawn a day when people of such flimsy vision would dress up in their parents’ clothes and pretend to be adults. But they did.
And, so, we as poker players need to beware. The majority of people that surround us are not truly sane. And they can’t turn to the conventional channels for help, because most psychologists are also squiggliwigs, products of the same upbringing, and are themselves not sane.
We are tempted to lessen our competitive drive at the tables, to blend in, but we must not. Competition is good. When our opponents are squiggliwigs, we can easily spot them, because:
- Bluffing feels unnatural to them, so they seldom bluff.
- They call a lot to be sociable, but seldom raise.
- If they do bluff or raise, it’s always in a friendly, half-apologetic manner, never a warlike one.
- If they get ahead a lot of chips, they seem to play poorly in an attempt to equalize things and cash out an amount that seems fairer to them.
- If they get lucky and win big, despite these efforts to win small or lose, they will apologize for taking so much money out of the game.
One good thing: If you allow yourself to slip into that sixties attitude at poker, you’ll be more satisfied if you lose. It won’t hurt as much. On the other hand, if you want to win consistently at poker, you must shake free of the sixties entirely. Seek squiggliwigs to play against. Those hanger-on hippies can be your most profitable opponents. — MC