There’s a dangerous new distraction in my hometown of Cleveland, OH. We drove nine hours west to visit my family for the big annual Thanksgiving face-stuffing. In an attempt to commit as many deadly sins as possible, I visited this new pleasure dome located in the heart of downtown.
I don’t know what legal rational they conjured up to circumnavigate the anti-gaming laws—clearly this isn’t tribal Indian land, which is the usual justification—but I’m glad they did it. Don’t get me wrong. I think generating revenue via casino gaming is a HORRIBLE idea. The unchecked spread of gambling is going to create a nation of addicts. But if I don’t have to travel too far out of my way to belly-up to a craps table, I’ll go. The moths-to-flame metaphor has never been more appropriate.
I made two passes through this hallowed cathedral. Once with an old friend and the next day with my sister and brother-in-law. God, I love crap tables. Roulette is a fine, elegant game. Casually paced with an old world charm. But dice release the endorphins we’re all aching for. (Pair of dice = paradise.) I love how they feel in my hand. If you squeeze them tight, the pointed edges leave little marks in your palm. I love the language of the game and the cataclysmic highs and lows.
You can strengthen the bonds of a friendship at a crap table. You celebrate the drunken success of a hot roll and console each other when you stupidly throw away $100 in :20 minutes. “We’ll get it back,” we tell each other. And sometimes we do. That’s the truth and beauty of the game. I’ve witnessed significant amounts of money lost by people who had no business whatsoever being inside a casino. Who doesn’t love to watch a good meltdown now and then? As long as it’s not you. How’d I do on my two visits? I never kiss and tell.
Gambling is a curse that I inherited from my father. The only time that guy ever paid any attention to me at all was when he gave me a weekly football pool to fill out. You don’t need an advanced degree in psychology to figure out what happened. I plan on keeping The Daughters as far away from the casinos as possible and to skillfully mask the raw joy that gambling affords me.
Aside from the gourmet feast served up by my sister on Thanksgiving, I also treated myself to this beauty: