Tuesday, July 04, 2006
He might not be able to do the mambo at the Taco Del Mar, but one thing my 26 year-old step-son Blaine does do, with aplomb, is numbers. Lest I neglect to mention it yet again, Blaine can add numbers in his head, well, savant-like. And do not even ever suggest that someone lay down a bunt, as you sit watching the Seattle Mariners attempt to make a comeback, because in “Sabremetrics”, the baseball stats philosophy that Blaine has embraced, the bunt, under any circumstances, is considered a statistical blunder. So I always try to mention, Evil Dad that I am, and with equal aplomb, that now would be a great time for a bunt. Then, when he looks at me like I am an idiot, and says, NOOOOOOO, no bunts!”, I say, “Ha! Made ya say it again!”
So when it comes to games, like chess, where Blaine holds a high rating, and reads chess books for fun, Blaine just sorta naturally rises to the top. Once, when I agreed to play him in a game of chess, just because I have masochistic tendencies, I began the game by moving one of my pawns forward. At that moment, Blaine looked at me with a little smirk, and exclaimed, in a kinda belittling sing song tone, “OHHHHHHHH,... the Sicilian”, apparently referring to my move, as if I actually had some learned plan in mind, some strategy culled from my many years of study and plying my trade on the chess circuit. Of course I still have absolutely no idea what "the Sicilian" is, but I know it's a chess thing.
We have fun together, and, given Blaine’s disabilities, his Spina Bifida, and other stuff, well, he’s just a huge inspiration to me, and to others, the way he has dealt with and deals everyday with his limitations, stuff that those of us who are able bodied take for granted. Blainey has never complained about his condition even once in his life, and I have seen first hand so many times how his presence inspires the good in others. He brings out the best in people. Never mind that he is such a social person, and is always wanting to make conversation with just about anyone. There is just something about my son that softens people and makes them instantly more balanced. I like him that way.
Marie and I travelled to Prairie City, Oregon, in our Airstream, just the two of us, a couple of weeks ago, and left Blaine home with our two Bichon Frises, Pippi and Poppi. We don’t normally leave Blaine alone at home, and it was kind of a first for us all. But Blaine held down the fort well, (we had other people lined up to stop by to lend a hand) and part of the plan, since the Airstream was already hooked up to the van, was that, upon our return from Prairie City, Blaine and I would then go forth on our own, and take the dogs with us, leaving Marie at home, to Lincoln City, Oregon, on the Oregon coast, just a coupla’ guys.
The four of us pulled into Coyote Rock RV Park with the toaster in tow and set up camp. We had a little something to eat, and then took off, in the van, to Chinook Winds Casino. Next morning, we got up, had a little breakfast, sent some email utilizing the wi-fi in the RV Park, walked the dogs, and went back to the casino.
With all his gamesmanship expertise, you’d think Blaine would be good at gamblin’, and he is. While I mostly stick to the slots and occasionally waste some money on the roulette table, Blaine’s game of choice is Blackjack, where he usually fares quite well. Of course, anyone can hit a rough streak. But Blaine doesn’t make any mistakes. He plays every hand the way it should be played, based on the odds. He read the Blackjack book.
We had a great time, plenty of laughs, and some decent scores. I hit a jackpot for $400 on a slot machine, and then, of course, proceeded to give the most of it back to other machines. Blaine was down a bit on the Blackjack table after two days, but on the third, made a gallant return to the black. As you can see in the photo above, wearin’ my shades, he’s dangerous lookin’. We’re gonna do it again.
Here’s a song about Blaine from my CD “Useful Information” titled “Like Him That Way”
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