Lessons Learned From 1950’s TV

by Jake Block

Lessons Learned from 1950’s TV
by Jake Block
There was an old TV show when I was growing up called “Maverick,” starring James Garner as Bret Maverick, an old west style adventurer, professional gambler and street-wise observer of life with a knack of cutting to the bone of a subject while speaking his mind, often with wisdom, insightful revelations and a sense of humor.  In some ways, I’ve patterned my life from his example.
In 1957 the episode RELIC OF FORT TEJON found Maverick in the town of Fort Tejon, at a table with the town’s mayor who won at cards by cheating and changing the rules of the game.  Those who caught him ended up being shot.  One way or another, they lost to the mayor.  Maverick, aware of his game and seeing that the Mayor had stacked the deck, asked for the cards to be cut…

Bret Maverick: According to Mr. Hoyle’s book of rules, a player is entitled to a cut at any time.
Carl Jimson: Hoyle doesn’t make the rules here, I do. How many, please.
Bret Maverick: I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I thought we were playing a poker game. You can make up rules for any game you like, but don’t call it poker. It’s misleading.

There are a lot of people like that, even today.  They become self-styled experts at “the game,” and do pretty well at it until they find themselves across the table from someone who actually plays the game and knows the rules.  When called on their errors or misconceptions, they react very much like the mayor.  They will try to “pull rank,” claim that it’s their game and if you don’t like it, you can leave, or resort to aggression, much like animals puffing up and displaying size to intimidate their adversary and avoid an actual confrontation unless they feel their opponent is someone they can verbally or physically dominate.  In cards, politics, religion, philosophy or even war, it’s a game where, sooner or later, you have to lay your cards on the table or fold and go home.
The problem is that if you set up at a table and shuffle the cards, proposing a game of poker and start talking the talk, you have to expect opposition when you start dealing Crazy 8’s.

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