This entry is written for the two men who had temper tantrums in my shop this evening. This is for the middle-aged man who kicked one of our machines and for the 30-something man who blamed us for HIS losses.
MAN UP! CRY BABY!
In six months, I’ve seen more grown men throw temper tantrums than I saw in 2 years teaching toddlers’ gymnastics. Honestly, they put 2 year olds to shame. Some gamblers sore losers, who tend to play the victim role. They blame everyone else for their behaviour. (Its worth nothing that a good portion of these sore losers are teetering on the edge of gambling problems.)
I often hear:
"My numbers not coming up! Look at that 27, AGAIN! Something must be wrong with the machine!"
"Why are you fixing the machines, while I’m playing it?"
Believe what you will but here’s reality. The algorithms for slot machines are about as random as random can get. There is no fool proof system to beat them. They are designed for slim win margins. There is a reason why Vegas casinos are dedicating more and more space to slots. Its easy profits for THEM. Its why my shop is open till 10. Most of the UK racing is done by 6pm at this time of year. The only reason we’re there is to baby sit the machines. Remember, its easy profits for THEM! Not YOU!
I think anyone who believes gambling is easy money is really just setting themselves up for disappointment. There seems to be a lot of superstition, misguided hope and the devising of “fool proof systems” on the part of an “avid gambler.” The fact is gambling is no easier than busting your hump in a cubicle for “The Man.”
Those with potential gambling problems chase their money as the world passes them by. Their eyes glued to the machines, clinging to hopes of a big win that never comes. When the debit card declines, its the customer service assistant’s fault that the money is gone. Its the sports betting company’s fault for fixing the odds. In fairness, there are some who realise that they piss their money away needlessly but they do it anyway.
For the two men tonight, I do want to thank you because I have learned something really vital from individuals like you. We all gamble. We all take risks. We don’t need to set foot in betting shop or a casino. Just living is a gamble. Each decision is a gamble. We’ll create our own elaborate algorithms to predict a favourable outcome. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose.
I know I am not much different from you. I’ve hedged my bets on elusive daydreams or ambitions or hopes or a person. I’ve thought I had a “fool-proof” selection process, but its only a slight variation on my usual behaviours. I’ve lost the beauty of a moment while clinging on to something intangible or unreal.
Who did I blame? Sometimes it was the first person in sight. The most convenient and accessible individual. That could have been a life partner or a part-time customer service peon like me. I could blame sexism or classism. I have had a complex host of intellectual postmodern theory to reinforce my finger pointing.
But here’s one crucial difference. I’ve realised that I have been the instrument of my own deprivation, in adulthood. I’ve made certain choices and decisions that have been less than wise but I do own them. Those are my mistakes. They are also my opportunity to learn and grow. This is what I’ve learned just by watching people like you two.
Here’s one simple message I want to leave you with.
If it ain’t fun any more… If you are growing more and more agitated… If you are kicking inanimate objects… If you are blaming others or inanimate objects for your losses… STOP! Its time for a TIME OUT!
MAN UP! ACCEPT YOUR LOSSES! MOVE ON! AND STOP FUCKING TORTURING YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE!