I went for a walk today. Not for exercise, but for therapeutic reasons.
An unsuccessful night of wagers can have any well adjusted man looking for the closest bridge.
With every step my sneaker quacked like a duck. I had walked the tread right off the heel and a malfunction within this Taiwan technology had turned the cathartic nature of my mission into an entirely different form of torment.
The only way to turn off the tap of this Chinese water torture was to make my way to the mall and buy a new pair of shoes. I walked in with visions of making an exotic purchase of floating cross trainers but walked out with crazy glue.
That’s because I’m a gambler. Everything is too expensive except the wager itself.
I had the money in my pocket, but at the last moment I felt a sharp pang.
“I may need this money for something more important,” I thought. “Like supplementing my bankroll.”
My working capital runs parallel with a troubled child. There’s always the fear that the phone will ring and I’ll need to come up with a couple grand to bail them out of jail.
Once bitten, twice shy. The fear of going broke makes it hard for me to rationalize spending money on even the most basic necessities.
A gambler never forgets the day he went broke. It ranks right up there with Black Monday and the Great Depression. It’s the day our stock market crashed.
The thought of having to ask the ex wife or a family member for a loan to rebuild my gaming empire makes me cringe. There is nothing enjoyable about using borrowed money to gamble with and instead of using the profits from that loan to back that lender I’m rolling the cash over from Peter to pay Paul.
I look around at the my fellow degenerates and I see the same profile over and over.
We drive older model cars and justify the cost of repairs because they outweigh the cost of buying a new one. The thought of cutting our losses doesn’t register with a gambler.
You’ll often find us wearing a beat up old hat, a “members only” jacket and an occasional piece of tattered clothing that marks the era we officially went out of style.
Aside from the physical characteristics, there is one constant and profound attribute we all share: losing.
When a man decides to make gambling the love of his life, everything else takes a backseat.
Commercial holidays are viewed like a bad tax. The only gifts I want to be associated with are ones like last week when I heard that Akron had put an ad in the school newspaper looking for anyone who played quarterback in high school.
We don’t go shopping at department stores - we go to flea markets. And we still find a way to convince ourselves the cost on the item that caught our eye was too pricey.
I shop for lines, edges and value - not clothing.
Twenty-dollar bills become as heavy as man hole covers when I try to pull them out of my pocket for anything other than action.
The only thing I want to buy is a solid wager.
I research my purchase just like a normal person would approach buying a lawn mower.
Is the price comparable to other merchants? Is it worth it? Will it reward me?
In my world, all sales are final and there is no warranty on a bad beat.
Mood swings, sleepless nights and stress are all complimentary.
Before the game starts, my wagers are all beautiful little presents wrapped in extravagant paper with pretty little bows, only the final score will let me know whether they contain cash or coal.
I hope I win tonight. I don’t want to find out that crazy glue didn’t fix the squeak in my shoes tomorrow morning.
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Editor's note: Click here if you would like to learn more about gambling problems and how to get help.