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I shared a lotto ticket with some friends in last night’s $20m Gold Lotto draw. We didn’t win. Anything. This makes me every bit the millionaire I was at this time yesterday; that is, not at all. This also correlates with last week’s reading, and the one before, etc. So no surprises there. However, I was reminded of the story of poor old “Joe” who had a run of bad luck…
Joe lost his job and prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”
Soon Joe couldn’t keep up his car payments and his car was repossessed. Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”
Eventually Joe couldn’t keep up his house mortgage payments and his family was evicted. Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”
When he was at his lowest, Joe’s daughter contracted a serious disease and Joe spent every cent and borrowed more for medical treatment. Joe prayed to God, “God, what am I going to do now? You have to let me win the Lotto.”
Finally God responded with a booming voice from Heaven, “Joe, help me out here. Buy a goddamn ticket.”
The only time I didn’t want to win, I won!
I haven’t been a big winner, gambling wise, in the past. (Although it could be said that I’m ahead on the health insurance in recent years.) However I do remember winning in Las Vegas when I didn’t want to…
I was holidaying with my wife and three sons and our travel agent had booked us into The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas; Classic, famous old casino, brilliant location, dirt cheap because everything is subsidised by gamblers. $19 a night for the room! Of course, gambling was everywhere. The restaurant at breakfast had as many staff handing out lotto cards as waiting on tables.
As we went back to our room after breakfast, past all these bright spangly machines, I thought I’d be clever and demonstrate to the kids that gambling was for losers. I thought, I’ll just stick a dollar in this machine, lose it and the kids will learn a short but valuable lesson. How unlucky was I? The damn machine paid out. Aargh! Not big time, mind you. It was only about $20. But I had to keep playing just to show that the house always wins.
After a short while, I was well advanced on my mission to lose the $20 when I was tapped on the shoulder. A lady in a uniform accompanied by a large unsmiling gentleman in a suit said, “Sir, you do realise that in the state of Nevada, it is an offence to participate in gambling within sight of children? I had to abort my mission at about $5up. How unlucky did I say I was?
Las Vegas got me again.
A couple of years later, I was visiting the US on business. My mate and I finished up one Friday afternoon in San Diego and our next appointment was Monday morning in Los Angeles. One of us asked “What are we up to this week-end?“ Answer: “I know. Let’s drive up to ‘Vegas and catch a show!“ We drove all day Saturday. (Memo: next time, stick to the Interstate Highways. Don’t drive cross-country like we did. Although, it was interesting to see Palm Springs which we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.)
Anyhow, as we drove towards Las Vegas, we passed all these billboards advertising Las Vegas $19 a night! Yeah, baby! That was for us! Sadly, as the billboards whizzed by, we didn’t read the fine print… Tuesday Only!
Yep, if you show up “on spec.” in Las Vegas on a Saturday night, be prepared to be ripped off. You cannot buy a Saturday night’s accommodation anywhere in Las Vegas. You must buy a two-night package (either Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday) and prices start at $250! (This was the early ’90s.)
My mate and I found a reasonable room at a Dude Ranch some 40km out of town. We saw our show, lost a few dollars on the slot machines and just crashed after our big day out. As we drove out of town, my mate said, “There’s the best view of Las Vegas. The one in the rear view mirror“
It wasn’t all bad though. Just before the California border, we stopped at another casino for their Sunday morning All You Can Eat Breakfast for 19 cents! Sponsored by loser gamblers, of course.