Thunder fans, Buddhist monks leave me scratching my head
IN A WORLD gone mad, Couch Slouch is angry at no one and everyone. But I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the odd habits of Thunder players and fans, the efforts of the unwashed masses to become fist-pumping phenoms and the poker-playing proclivity of Buddhist monks.
You be the judge:
In Oklahoma City, eyewear is in for the players, blind loyalty is in for the fans. So Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are sporting the geek-chic look at postgame news conferences. Apparently it's now cool to don thick-rimmed glasses. Hollywood loves it: Johnny Depp, Kat Von D, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lil Wayne, Anne Hathaway and Taylor Swift are among those going throwback.
Usher - Usher! - has been wearing nerd frames of late in divorce court; nice try, bro.
How 'bout the rest of us who wear glasses because it, uh, corrects our vision? Geez. Would you wear a fat suit because looking obese was hip? Or walk with a cane as a fashion statement?
Meanwhile, Thunder fans engage in two quaint, newfangled traditions:
1. They stand at the beginning of every game until the Thunder scores.
(Fans in Pittsburgh tried this at PNC Park but abandoned the practice after several perished waiting for the Pirates to score.)
2. They all wear those eerie blue shirts.
(It's as if a UFO landed in OKC, with 18,203 aliens marching in step to Chesapeake Energy Arena to use the restrooms.)
I'm not trying to be a nonconformist, but if I were told I had to stand up and had to wear a blue T-shirt, I'm likely to just sit down in my mock turtleneck.
In a bygone era, people sat on top of flagpoles; now they pump their fists. James Peterson, 34, an unemployed electrician from Green, Ohio, set the unofficial world record for fist-pumping earlier this month - 16 straight hours. He did it while bar-hopping near the University of Akron.
"I used to hang light fixtures, so I am used to having my hands above my head," Peterson told the Akron Beacon Journal.
It is possible his parents are proud of the feat, but, to be honest with you, I'm not.
(In his defense, he set the record employing the "Jersey-style" fist pump - popularized on MTV's "Jersey Shore" - which involves an elbow roll and circular action rather than the more mundane, less nuanced straight-forward fist pump.)
Anyway, I hadn't even recovered from this news when, less than a week later, an Austin radio producer, Ray Slater, broke Peterson's record by fist-pumping for 17 hours and 15 minutes.
Incidentally, both of them super-glued their fist-pumping hand shut, which, frankly, sounds like the fist-pumping version of a corked bat or HGH.
(It's not a drug, but super-gluing certainly is a performance enhancer, no?)
The poker boom is more far-reaching than you might imagine. Among my darker theories of the human condition is this: Most people have a latent gambling gene. You may never have pulled a slot, watched a roulette wheel spin or doubled down on a soft 17, but if the opportunity arose, you would. Given the chance, I believe that Mother Teresa - bless her heart - would've played Wii Bingo.
Which brings us to the six religious figures in South Korea caught in a high-stakes poker game - there was nearly $900,000 in play - prompting these spiritual leaders from the nation's largest Buddhist order to resign. They were gambling, drinking and smoking, the holy trinity of no-no's in that world.
This unlikely development immediately raised two questions:
1. Where do men of the cloth get that type of scratch?
2. If you check-raise a Buddhist monk, can you expect a lifetime of bad karma?
They played a 13-hour cash game session that occurred after gathering in a luxury lakeside hotel late last month for a fellow monk's memorial service.
(I guess chasing inside straights helps the mourning process.)
This story also validates another one of my theories of life - the best poker games are either in train cars or hotel suites.
Ask The Slouch
Q. I see you've been married almost five years now. Does Toni realize that if she had been convicted of armed robbery on the day you were wed - instead of tying the knot - she would probably be a free woman today? (Patrick Allen; Wynantskill, N.Y.)
A. You've reminded me of another reason I never allow Toni to read my column.
Q. Will Washington Redskins season-ticket holders be suspended for all home games when Roger Goodell learns they had a bounty on Daniel Snyder? (Kevin O'Dell; Ballston Spa, N.Y.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Q. Is it possible for Redskins fans to be included as additional plaintiffs in the injury lawsuit against the NFL due to their postgame "head banging against the wall" ritual during Daniel Snyder's tenure? (J.B. Koch; Waukesha, Wis.)
A. Wow, a lot of Redskins-related legal inquiries this week.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!