The Sins of the Father

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.

casinoI 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:

16pizza1201401You want to lick your monitor, don’t you? I suppose it’s because I was raised on it, but for my money, the Cleveland style of pizza is the best. It’s not the thin, cardboard crust served in New York City and not the doughy Chicago deep dish style, either. It resides somewhere in a perfect middle. Just like the city itself.
Nobody likes anchovies. Those are some fat, fine examples above. I usually have to go solo. You can’t go half and half because the anchovy oil permeates the entire pie. My kid’s culinary fussiness in regards to anchovies might be attributable to the Irish blood flowing in their veins. But what a bunch of piss-poor excuses for Italians on my side! No green olives either!? Do we even have the same mother? Sometimes I wonder.

32 thoughts on “The Sins of the Father

  1. Nice looking pizza, but I prefer more vegetables on mine. I’ve been to a casino and didn’t much like it. Too many humans staying up way past their bedtimes. Some of the croupier ladies had a quiet elegance about them, though. I invest in casinos, so I generally want the house to win.

  2. I don’t know, people are addicted to so many things already, I can’t imagine one more thing in the mix doing too much damage. Just wish the Indian-owned ones around here had poker rooms.. I miss poker

    • I stay FAR AWAY from poker rooms. Do you know how if you sit at a poker table and can’t spot the fish, YOU’RE the fish? Well, I’m always the fish. I don’t mind going up against inanimate objects, like dice or a roulette ball, but I stay away from human beings. They’ll tear you apart.

  3. i don’t gamble, though i suppose you could call what passed for my dating strategy my freshman year in college as ‘gambling’. when i walk through a casino, i’m struck by the sharp contrasts of the people who are genuinely enjoying it, and those that are there because they can’t stop.

    • There are two types of problem gamblers; degenerate gamblers and compulsive gamblers. Degenerates will gamble until their stake is gone. You can be ahead $400, but you’ll keep going until you’ve lost that $200 you brought with you. Then you’ll stop. That USED to be me but I developed control. Compulsive gamblers will loose that $200 and keep going. I like trying to figure out who’s who.

  4. LOL, LOL….Love your FOOD ‘problems’…..It sounds like it was a very fun trip! Gambling is not one of my vices, but I have certainly emjoyed the Roulette table whenever I have had the opportunity—though not for 45 years or so….! I never understood how to bet in Craps….But I really get the “feel” of the dice you speak of….!I was in Cleveland once, about 1956, promoting a record of mine—I liked it, a lot!!!

    • That you don’t understand craps is a good thing. Don’t bother learning. It’s a slippery slope. I would have LOVED to see Cleveland in 1956! You’re lucky! The city is flat on its ass right now but in 1956 it was a pretty important metropolis.

    • Crap means that here, too, but you can overlook all sorts of unpleasantness for the sake of an addiction and a good time. As far as the commenting, in my research I found it has a name. Comment threading. It’s just neater. It looks more like a conversation.

  5. I’m so glad I haven’t got the gambling gene. I’d be ruined.Have you ever been to Italy? I know this is the most obvious thing you’ll hear this century, but proper Italian pizza is like experiencing one of the world’s best ever inventions anew.

    • You can have a pretty good time with the gambling gene if you know how to control it. I have, in fact, been to Italy. I remember having a scrumptious pizza in Venice at an outdoor table along the water. You’re right. It was memorable.

  6. i had the experience of playing slot machines in vegas when i was younger. i lost all the change, but found out the machine would take a credit card. my sister-in-law stopped me! i walked away and didn’t go inside a casino for maybe 20 years. flash forward,the MITM gave me 100usd at harrah’s in NOLA. i lost all of it except for 1 silver dollar. somehow, he won it all back, plus some, cashed out gave me the money, and i’ve never gambled again. i have learned to understand my addictiver personality, sugar! ;~) xoxoxo

  7. “Nobody likes anchovies.”That.. sir.. is a fatuous lie! I once ate a whole jar for a bet without taking onboard liquid for 15 minutes.It was the easiest shilling I have ever won.

  8. I like my cards and my roulette but my first love will always be the ponies (thanks Hank), it’s like a gentleman’s game played by nothing but degenerate scumbags and though playing at home through the computer is easy nothing beats a drive to the track.

    • I like the atmosphere of a good track but I find the betting incredibly complicated. Track condition, jockey weight, previous time, opponents time, stable/trainer, silk color, etc. There are too many variables. It makes my head spin. Add a couple of 3.2 beer and it’s all out the window, anyway.

    • I took a class at a local community college from a professional gambler, it was called Thoroughbred Handicapping, gotta love higher ed, taught me all i needed to know and the guy pulled me aside when it was over and told me that i was one of the only students he’d had who had the potential to make a living at it, of course he told me i’d lose a lot before i perfected my science which i understood but then i had kids and the time to devote to it dried up, i still play now and then i’ve just toned down the amount wagered… and i grew up eating Mama Mia’s pizza over by York and Pleasant Valley.

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