Dear Dr. Robert:
You’re in spec at Gee’s. He knows you’re there and calls up to invite you to play. You want to protect your Lehmans on the one hand and continue to spec on the other. What do you do?
–S.G., Tampa, FL
Don’t I know you from somewhere? Maybe not. In any case, you’ll be pleased to know you have several options in this awkward situation.
1. The “crash and burn” approach. Say, “I would be happy to play with you Gee, but that family of crows nesting in your hair knows more about the game than you do.” Sure, you will miss out forever on the joys of speccing at Gee’s table, but there are convenient places to keep up with the goings-on, and at least you will go down in a glorious flaming wreck that all will enjoy watching.
2. The “feed the ego till it can’t eat no more” approach. Say “The pleasure would be all mine, but you expert types intimidate me, and your play is so enjoyable to watch from above that I’ll just stay up here thanks.” It’s like giving your dog a nice juicy t-bone steak straight from the table. You just know that every night from then on he will be begging right at your side come dinner time. Roll over ego, roll over…Gooooooood ego.
3. The “I want to be famous” approach. Accept the invitation. I know it sounds like suicide, but consider: scientific study had demonstrated that Gee’s Lehmans are right around 30. So say you indulge in some matchpoints with Gee, you have a Lehman of 50, and the opponents are 55ers. You only need a 100(30+50)/(30+50+55+55) = 8000/190 = 42.1% game to break even, so you can take your average minuses with pride! And being tight with the G-ster has its perks. He can be your link into the expert community to meet Rodwell and Helgemo and all the others, and if you’re really lucky he’ll give you a discount on his e-book once he has deduced to his satisfaction that you need it. Finally, playing with Gee gives you the power to induce some memorable post mortems for all the specs to enjoy. Trust me, they will appreciate it.