Jul 4, 2008
Enter a casino for the first time and you are assaulted by the myriad jingle-jangle ringing of the slot machines.
Rows upon rows of bright lights and three-note chords echo through your mind's eye and ears, and take you for a psychedelic dollar-by-dollar ride into the blank daze that is gambling.
You've heard of slot machines being called the "one-arm bandits" haven't you? Well, I don't know if it's true of other modern casinos, but the slot machines *I* saw were mostly computerized. No levers to pull but plenty of buttons to push.
Pavlov himself would salivate at the very embodiment of his well-known behavioral theory, even if the embodiment of that theory consisted of retirees spending their potentially limited income and gambling themselves into an almost slavish trance.
There were even drink carts being pushed around by casino staff, enabling gamblers to just sit there and push buttons endlessly, as though their life depended on it. (And that's really no joke, considering the cost of health care these days, and continual slashing of Medicare. It's no wonder that older folks flock to casinos in hopes of high payouts---they might be on heart or blood pressure meds that cost a fortune.)
I would be a hypocrite to say, however, that I did not join in the trance for a while, because I did. There was one machine in particular that seemed to "work" the best, given this was my first time gambling. I had managed to get up to a certain amount of machine credit where, if I had pressed the 'cash-out' button, I would have gotten approximately $15 dollars, give or take a few quarters. But I pressed on, thinking that I would win bigger and bigger...which is precisely the trap that gambling lays for the partaker.
I am not saying that gambling itself is a crime, or a sin, or some such nonsense. We must all take risks in life sooner or later. Life itself is a gamble, and the stakes, evolution-wise, are *very* high indeed.
I can say, however, that I just don't think I'm the sort to want to constantly sit there and put in money, because the payouts are always in favor of 'the house,' as any seasoned risk-taker knows.
And frankly, it was almost hellish to watch all these people just go from machine to machine, sitting there hour after hour...I felt like I was right smack in the middle of the 'Devil' Tarot card--but instead of the image of a man and a woman being chained to the devil's chair, an image of a man and a woman chained to slot machines appeared.
I don't necessarily believe that there is an actual physical "devil." I do think that the 'Temperance' card is in the Tarot pack for a reason. And if there is any place that needs a big reminder of temperance, it's a casino.
I can only imagine when they officially start serving alcohol on the gambling floor, because the casino buffet itself is a paean to Jupiterian excess!
So, yeah, that was how I spent most of my 4th of July holiday...and when we got home, Q and I didn't even want to go see the fireworks...we'd already been out of the house for 6 hours and we were mentally wiped out.
And mind you, Q and I are Sensitives--we kinda felt the stress and the chaos a bit more than most people. For us, if we do this kind of thing again, it's going to be a special occasion occurrence.
I will say that I would much rather give my hard-earned moolah to the Native American tribe that runs the casino we went to, than tossing the money at places like Wally-world.
It'll be interesting to see what we end up doing next year....
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