I didn’t win the lottery again this week. I didn’t roll up the rim of my Tim Hortons coffee cup and become the proud new owner of a Toyota Corolla. I also didn’t scratch and win and I didn’t cry out “bingo”. There wasn’t even a knock at my door from the good people at Publishers Clearing House congratulating me and handing over a giant check. (Kind of crazy to give a person a check that big in my opinion. How would you ever get it in the bank machine?) but I digress.
I know you are probably thinking this is another one of my sad woe is me tales, and you’ve already grabbed your tissues and are mentally preparing yourself for a good cry. But fear not friends this is not one of those rants.
You see the reason I didn’t win anything this week is because I didn’t play. And I didn’t play because I don’t get gambling.
It’s not that I can’t grasp the concept, I’m not stupid. I just can’t fathom why people do it. Now before any of you Texas hold ’em fans come at me all guns a blazing. Relax. I’m not judging. If it makes you happy go for it. I’m a closet Trekkie and love blue bubble gum ice cream. So who am I to tell you how to spend your free time?
But here’s the question that begs to be answered…does it make you happy?
Recently I had the pleasure of spending an evening with some friends who love to go to the casino. It is probably one of my least favourite activities and falls somewhere between cleaning out my fridge and grocery shopping with a 2 year old. But not wanting to spoil their fun I slapped a smile on my face and followed them to the ATM.
After paying a ridiculous amount of money ($3 )to take out $20 I was already feeling like this was not going to be my night. That $3 could of bought me one scoop on a waffle cone and would have lasted a whole lot longer than the $20 bucks I was about to hand over to the obnoxiously loud slot machine.
We picked what was sure to be the machine that would lead us all to financial freedom and settled in on our stools. The greedy beast swallowed my 20 bucks like the vacuum it was and so began the fun. I pulled and lost and pulled and won. Sometimes a whole 75 cents. It was a crazy and I was bored.
So I stopped paying attention to my machine and the crazy rows of mining elves that never quite matched up and started watching the people around me. What I saw was quite surprising.
No one appeared to be enjoying themselves. They didn’t smile or laugh or do any of the things people generally do when they are partaking in an activity they enjoy. They just sat transfixed, mindlessly pressing the spin button and waiting for Lady Luck to show up and change their life.
Occasionally there would be a ding ding ding somewhere in the casino which would jolt them back to reality and make them look around to see who had just become the latest big winner of a whopping $274.
I guess that person had a good night. Of course it was not disclosed how much he had fed the giant chrome beast before he hit his jackpot. I guess that’s not really the point. He won.
I won too, but then I lost….it all. At one point I was up $15.35 and then just like that it was all gone. Which was fine. I learned a long time ago that if I was going to make money in life I was going to have to work for it.
And then it hit me. Maybe the reason some of the people didn’t look like they were enjoying themselves was because they weren’t. Maybe this wasn’t them having a fun night out it with friends it was actually them trying to make money. Maybe at some point this had become a job for them and they were just waiting to get paid. Sadly, this boss rarely handed out big bonuses and there were no paid benefits.
Now I’m sure there are lots of people who do go to casinos and enjoy every minute of the experience. They allot themselves a bit of money to gamble and from time to time walk away with a little more than what they came in with. They laugh and joke and at the end of the night they can honestly say they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
As for the others…a piece of advice. The house always wins, so go find the nearest ice cream shop, have yourself a double scoop of your favourite flavour, grab a newspaper and look for a new job. I hear they are hiring at Baskin and Robbins mention my name and you as good as hired!