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Caro's Threshold of Misery

I played cards for a few years, and I quite enjoyed it. I don't play any more, but sometimes a lesson I learned comes back to me.

There's one writer on poker I learned a tremendous amount from. His name's Mike Caro, and he was one of the first people taking serious interest in the psychology of poker. He wrote a famous book called "Mike Caro's Book of Poker Tells", which is excellent and highly recommended. The basic premise is that people act strong when weak and weak when strong. So if you hear a very little sigh when someone is betting, almost like they're sad, then they've probably got a strong hand. If they're pushing the chips forwards with a little extra force when betting, they're probably bluffing.

This was all very fascinating to me, I loved learning that kind of thing. I'd recommend Caro's Book of Tells to anyone, regardless if you play cards or not. But he also has written quite a bit on self-psychology and discipline in poker. Today I recalled one of Caro's general principles:

Caro’s Threshold of Misery suggests that once you move beyond the maximum you expected you could lose, you stop feeling any more pain, and you’re in danger of damaging yourself further by making weak decisions.

Subject File 1 "Missing a Name"

On Wellington Street

For months I have been trying to remember. I try walking down familiar streets, and try entering stores that I seem to recognize somehow. But they are all dead ends. So I keep searching, all the while looking for something to spark my memory in the hope that something will help me remember my name.

My family tries to help. At first they simply tried repeating it over and over. But whenever they open their mouths, the sound goes out, like the silence that follows when you mute the TV. Its startling, and I end up looking around; the people in the room suddenly appearing without warning. Such a experience should be temporary, but in the end the silence persists for me. The sound simply cuts out, and my name is gone.

Lately it has gotten worse. Now my voice is lost to me as well. People say they can hear me fine, but when I speak it feels as if my ears are plugged with water, muffling my voice no matter how loud I scream. My throat tightens every time I do, and now I try not to speak at all. The effort is simply too painful, too isolating. The only solace I find is in a girl I have been talking to lately. She hasn't asked for my name, and does not ask me to speak.

I cannot remember when I first met her. I simply woke up one day, only to find her talking with my parents downstairs. She smiled and some part of me realized that there was something familiar about her. They said her name is Susan, and since then we have been inseparable. My parents don't mind, since her presence has been so beneficial to me. Together we look over old family albums, hoping it will help. Sometimes we look at the other side of the photos, only to realize that I cannot read one of the names of the back. If I didn't know what I looked like, I might struggle to think I exist at all.

It's hard for someone in my condition to not dwell on what I am going through. Distractions are very hard to come by, and despite all the new experiences I have been having, I still find myself plagued by questions. I went to the fairgrounds the other day, only to wonder where Susan came from. I sat on the steps of one of the attractions, listening to the sound of the rain and the machines, and began to question how any of this could be possible. How can someone lose so much, and yet have no way of explaining it?

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