17 October 2010

Day 16: Something (or someone) you could definitely live without


After long consideration, I conclude that gambling is one thing I never have to do. I have no intention of buying a lottery ticket, pulling down the lever on a slot machine, placing a bet on a horse, or even using more than pennies to play poker.

Now, I don't believe there's anything morally wrong with gambling . . . it just doesn't appeal to me.

At first, I wasn't sure why. I mean, I like games. I love playing poker and I certainly enjoy the thrill of winning. Casinos are bright and flashy and part of me likes to hear the sound of a ball circling a roulette wheel, but something taints the experience for me. Actually, three things come to mind.

First, I hate to win at the expense of someone else. I suppose beating the house is a nice enough concept, but most of the time if you're winning, someone else is losing. I can't get over that. I am not a competitive person (just ask any of my previous coaches, they're probably still frustrated with me). If we play monopoly, I will probably let you win. Why would I waste money on a lottery ticket, when I could spend that money on something I will definitely profit from - like a caramel macchiato? Then, everyone wins - including Starbucks.

Second, local economies seem far too dependent on casinos. In several states, it's the only way they come close to balancing the budget. That scares me. Depending on an entertainment/unnecessary industry to maintain and finance government responsibilities seems like a terrible practice. It's not my field of expertise, however, so I won't belabor that point.

Third, it can consume you. I had a coworker who incessantly talked about playing craps. He carried a pair of dice in his pocket at all times, and whenever we had a break he would toss them. He would then try to explain why he won or lost, but I never could follow him past the pass line. If he had lost at the casino before coming in to work, you could tell. And if he had won before coming, you were in for a chatty evening. The only thing I knew would change his mood was another trip to the casino. He had two daughters, but I hardly ever heard about them. He seemed happy enough, but to me, his life was always a bit sad.

So, honeymooning in Vegas is a bust. Guess I'll have to find a different playground.

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