This is a deck of blank playing cards. I’ve always wanted one. I suspect that’s a little weird of me, though at this point in my life, I’ve noted that so much of my personality is weird that it’s hardly worth calling out specific examples. Still… it’s a little weird, I guess.

Ever since I first learned how to shuffle a pack of cards, I’ve found it to be a relaxing, meditative experience. Shuffling normally has a concrete goal of course, which is to randomize the deck, but most of the time that’s not what I’m after. I don’t care what order (or disorder) the cards wind up in. I just want something I can do with my hands. (This is also why I own a worry stone.)

But shuffling a deck of cards changes things, whether that’s what your after or not. You are imposing a configuration. Each shuffle has a different result, and most of the time, when you idly flip over a card between shuffles, it’s usually different from the one that came up the last time you did it. What does that card (whichever one it is) mean? Why did it come up instead of a different one? Most of the time, I don’t think there’s really any meaning to be had, but you never know, and it doesn’t stop you from wondering. I’ve no doubt shuffled more than a few amazing cribbage hands that were ultimately wasted, because I wasn’t playing cribbage at the time.

To shuffle a deck of cards is to change things. But I’m not out to change things, even in such a small way. I just need something to do with my hands.

A blank deck of cards doesn’t change, no matter how much you shuffle it. You can’t idly flip over a card and think, “Blank? Why did that card come up?” Well, I mean, you can, but a blank face is less conducive to these sorts of pattern-seeking mental diversions, because they’re boring to look at, aren’t they?

Of course this is all a moot point at the moment because my thumb is seriously fucked up at the moment, which means I’d need to learn to shuffle one-handed, but my fingers aren’t really long enough to allow me to do that. (Also, I’ve spent the last several months scrimping and saving to buy a new video game console, which is sitting idle because of that same thumb, damn the luck.)

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