I used to gamble more—but don’t so much now. There was a group of us at New England college about fifteen years back that would have a weekly poker game. It was fun and less about the gambling and more about the hanging out with each other. There were sexually positioned action figures, pirates, poker bitches, and the occasional student life emergency consult.
I think gambling is probably a two-fold vice. First, there is the gambling addiction part to make money and be rich. That chasing of a dream and acquiring something that others possess. Maybe this was a problem a little more earlier in my life. The idea of gambling to have some extra fun money. At the casino or with a friendly poker game. But the stakes were always low and I don’t think that was the bigger concern I think about when I think about gambling.
The subtler problem, I think, is the competition part of it. The idea that taking something from someone (whether at a poker game or the casino) isn’t a zero-sum game. There are winners and losers. And I suppose that is the thing with gambling that is more of the concern. Those bragging rights, the beating someone and leaving someone with less than. There is a rush about that. Beating someone and coming out on top. But there is also this more perverse sense of separating and objectifying the other person. The idea of taking something. In the best of times, it is simply a defense of “well, they shouldn’t play if they can’t afford to lose” or “the casino is making millions, this is my time for a win.” But what it does, and maybe therefore why this is on the list, is it separates us from other people. It puts our needs out ahead of others.
When I do gamble at tables, I find myself drinking and trying to enjoy the company of others that are around me. Listening to the banter and trying to be part of some larger game. There are times when I achieve this and I enjoy the experience. There are other times where I lose and I become frustrated or I’m on edge and someone else is a ‘bad winner’ and gets me more upset. I think my goal here to come out slightly ahead (maybe 20-40% more than I sat down with) and have a lot of free drinks. If I don’t come out ahead and lose my money, then I have purchased a half a dozen $20 cocktails from the casino.
So, overall, I don’t know. For me, most of it is going into gambling when it isn’t gambling but more gaming or entertainment. Gambling has two definitions, “the playing games of chance for money”, which is encompassing. And then there is “take risky action in the hope of a desired result” Which I think is more the problem here. The risky action part might be hoping for the big win.
So that’s where I am. What is in my flask?
I had a great brunch today with some close friends. Plans were made for hanging out with a potential alcoholic, dominatrix who runs a bed and breakfast in Vermont, shooting things when some other friends from ‘across the pond’ visit in a few weeks. I mentioned this because I emptied my flask at the restaurant over some pecan encrusted bacon and rosemary sausage.
So, my flask now holds some well relaxed Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon (wine is 4-5 better when you let it chill). Snow storm coming tomorrow. And its wine sipping time.