Colson Whitehead, for the record, is a fantastic writer. His novel about a parallel reality where everyone is obsessed with elevators ("The Intuitionist") is a thing of beauty.
Colson Whitehead on the World Series of Poker - Grantland
I have a good poker face because I am half-dead inside. My particular combo of slack features, negligible affect, and soulless gaze had helped my game ever since I started playing 20 years ago, when I was ignorant of pot odds and M-Theory and three-betting, and it gave me a boost as I collected my trove of lore, game by game, hand by hand. It had not helped me human relationships-wise over the years, but surely I am not alone here — anyone whose peculiar mix of genetic material and formative experiences had resulted in a near-expressionless mask could relate. Nature giveth, taketh, etc. You make the best of the hand you're dealt.
This thing draped over my skull and fastened by muscle is also a not-too-bad public transportation face, a kind of wretched camouflage, which would come in handy on my trip to Atlantic City. Flash this mug and people didn't mess with you on buses, and this day I was heading to training camp. I was being staked to play in the World Series of Poker for a magazine, and my regular game was a five dollar buy-in where catching up with friends took precedence over pulverizing your opponents. I had to get in shape.
There was no question about taking a bus. I'm of that subset of native New Yorkers who can't drive. Every spring, I made noises about getting my license, and I checked out the websites of local driving schools, which as a species embodied the most retrograde web design on the internet, real Galapagos stuff replete with frenetic logos and fonts they didn't make any more, the HTML flourishes of the previous century. How could I give my money to a business with so incompetent a portal? My wife and I owned a car, and she drove us everywhere, which came to be hassle. I used to joke that I was afraid of getting my license — that I was at a point in my life that the first time I got behind the wheel, I'd just keep driving. The first couple of times I made this joke, people laughed. Then maybe my delivery began to falter, there was a change in tone, and they'd look around nervously, peek over my shoulder for another person to talk to. My wife had the car now. We got divorced four days before.
. . .