There have been a few moments in my life I have witnessed a decent table flip. A small percentage of that has been an Epic Table Flip.
What is a table flip, you might ask? A table flip is that moment in Monopoly (or any other bored game) when you realize that you have lost and in a moment of pure unsportmanly behavior, you grab the edge of the table and flip it up in the air so that the piece go flying and there is no more evidence of your defeat. The rules of Monopoly say differently, but this is actually how you know the game is over. Somebody flips that damn thing once they’ve been beaten.
Flipping the table isn’t always about defeat. Sometimes it’s about victory, a final “Suck it!” to those you have conquered. Maybe you’ve conquered something about yourself. It’s one of those “Personal Journey” namaste fucking things.
I think of one of the best table flip moments I have witnessed. My former GF was working at a company that supplied materials to fracking, electrical, and gas companies. She was supposed to work in the office, but she had a boss who was instead returning his wife’s texts all day long, so Office Girl was often sent out to the pipe yard to QC shipments before the trucks could drive off. Which meant standing on a truck and physically counting pipe to make sure they loaded the right items onto the truck.
She had aspirations of quitting the job and going to become an electrician. So, she talked with the trade union and they got her set up with a correspondence course so she could take an advanced Maths course and be assigned a journeyman electrician for training. She went into work on a Monday morning, and instead of sitting down to start her job, she loaded her belongings into a box and walked out of there. Her supervisor tried to get her to sit and talk about staying or even giving notice and she said, “No thanks.” Table. Flip.
My older audience might think “What a dick move! No notice?! Who is going to fill that position until they hire someone else?” That’s the problem right there. If you were to be fired by an employer for any reason, they just call security and have your extracted from the building (I’ve had that happen). They don’t care. Why the hell should you? I don’t know what became of her training, but I hope when she flipped that table, it opened up opportunities for a better life.
The same attitude has people in history digging their own graves before they are shot by firing squad. “Well, if you want something done right, you oughtta do it yerself!”
I had a slower table flip myself. When the University I worked for for nearly twenty years laid off 200 people at the beginning of Covid, they didn’t give a damn what happened to us. So, I started writing full time. I had already been considering asking to be part-time so I could write from home and just have insurance and a steady paycheck from work. That was not to be. Hell, I had already been calling in sick to write whenever I got some great assignments.
I have been working on my book (which if I had joined an MFA program, I would have to get out student loans to pay a school to do this, on top of taking classes), and writing content for companies too (which pay better than the University in some cases). I also moved back home to live in the mountains of Colorado. It has taken me a while to realize that I do have control over my life. I can flip that table and do something I want to do.
Liberation is one of the hardest things to get used to.
There are risks and there are costs. I’m learning more and more about the costs, some of which are very steep. There is a divide between Liberty and Security, and the goal is to find a happy zone between them. There is the mess to clean up from flipping that table too.
There are all sorts of ways to flip that table. What if you are in a rotten marriage? FLIP! What if you want to cry in your car the whole way home after having dinner with your family? FLIP! What if you find yourself frothing and screaming at other cars on the interstate on the way to a job that gives you no fulfillement, while having to kiss someone’s ass all day just for the privilege of working in a cubicle maze? FLIP!! And what if someone you’ve been seeing is unable to have a conversation about where your relationship is going? It’s okay to flip that sucker too!
It’s okay to start over. It’s okay to let things go. And before you say “Well, some of us have to work! I can’t just do that!” Think of that whenever you get called into another meeting at work and they have “concerns” and “retraining opportunities”. They are just gathering info to hold against you for later. You could be sent home with a box of your shit any morning without any warning. The difference being that it was their choice and not yours to walk away. They don’t care if you have enough money for rent.
Think about that “It’s not you, it’s me” moment or worse yet the day you walk into your house and find your significant other in bed with someone else. Did they want to shake hands with you and say “Good game, old bean!” No. Don’t you wish you had flipped that table? (I’ve seen other friends go through it and they always wished they had). My table flip moments came and went so many times for a variety of reasons. I’ve had a few that have stood out and I flipped that table. Even though I second guessed myself, eventually I understood that I had done the right thing.
Flipping the table does NOT include doing something stupid to hurt yourself to punish someone else. Fuck that noise. After a good table flip you should want to pour a drink, lean back in your chair and sing along with the saxaphones in Baker Street.
Flipping the table is a moment when you’ve had enough and the pieces on the board don’t matter. You are changing the rules. You are taking control of your life again and charging forward into something magnificent.
Flip that table and don’t look back.