Whirr, click, jangle jingle jangle, that’s the sound the new slots make that’s so much like the real thing that you actually look down to see if the tray is filling with quarters. Luckily for us, within an hour’s drive from where we live there are eight casinos to choose from if you want to just spend the night gambling. Five of them provide hotels if you can afford to stay over and vacate. One is just a large but very popular card room. And all of them have benefited from the new slot machines the voters have just installed.
Of course, you have heard about the fabulous buffet, right? Billboards show and celebrities extol the qualities that make all you can eat a suitable reward for taking a chance. Instant winners, cash, cash, cash, and, oh yeah, the roll call of headline attractions coming to a stage near you. Not to sound cynical but who are they kidding? But on the other hand, if you are talking addiction then fat people and their gambling habits is not a bad place to start.
But all of that aside, I didn’t begin this post to berate the gambler within us, nor to make fun of the gazillions of seniors who live for the bus ride. I am really just happy that the gambling industry has become the be all and end all of our nation’s retirement community. As far as I know, Vegas and Florida now officially employ the most seniors per capita. So, when it is time to take a break around here, there is nothing like heading out to our local (see the above) gambling den to remove the stresses and strains of ordinary living.
I don’t know how to say this so I’ll just say it okay. Some people are just addicted. Others apparently have too much time on their hands. A few are just interested in the spectacle. And one or two, like me, just tag along because that’s where their significant other likes to go.
When I first met my partner, we worked all the time. As independent contractors, we filled the hours with multiple jobs since we both had put ourselves in debt for various reasons and now we were hard at work digging our way out. So it was with some surprise, when we finally got a break, it was T’s birthday, that I discovered she had booked us rooms in Laughlin. I was amazed. She knew all the games, and really liked to play the roulette table. Well, you know what they say, party hardy. Only, when we got back home to go to work, she was more than a little depressed. The fact that I don’t gamble had sort of acted as ballast but still she had lost all the extra money it had taken her weeks to earn in just three short days.
As she explained it to me, it was a family thing. Everyone in her family; grandma, dad, mom, sisters, brother, cousins, aunts and uncles, all gambled. They played puzzles, worked out sudokus, and couldn’t wait to think of another excuse to hit the nearest casino. She even told me stories about how her grandmother taught her to read the tote board and pick six.
But a funny thing has happened on the way to today. T who used to need to gamble now can only handle it in very short doses. Not because she isn’t still addicted, you know, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. But because she has replaced that need with something even more powerful. She wants to be free from debt and semi-retired like me. And I should say, she wants to stay free from debt because by dint of paying off her credit card debt, and starting her own business, she has been debt free for two years now. So when we go vacationing at our local casino now, she may gamble a bit, but her need to keep her money makes it easy for her to get up and walk away. We have even gone there and just spent our time at the pool, and dancing at night, and seeing a show, without once dropping even a penny in a slot. These days, instead of gambling, it’s more likely we’ll be gamboling the night away.