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Playing The Slots

Casinos run the spectrum of classy to sleazy; I suppose everything does.  Casinos are filled with dark spots and lights flashing, coins tumbling, bells ringing and a little extra O2 in some of them to maintain the fantasy of riches before it turns into the despair of loss.

                When you watch the rows, lines of slots, monoliths set off on their own like dolmen, there are always little, old ladies with a particular machine staked out as their personal property because they have plugged in enough of their coin to know that it is just about to pay out.  Little old men do it too, in fact, it was a little old man who pointed out the machines that were about to pay out when I was in a casino once.  I have never been lucky in casinos, and for all I know it is just a case of apophenia, unwarranted connections by an overactive brain.  It is just another phenomenon in humans.

                I was in a Safeway in Washington state the other day.  The State Lottery has fancier vending machines for scratch tickets and print out tickets for drawings than Idaho.  No need to walk up to a cashier and buy a lottery ticket unless you need human interaction.  This Safeway had two machines; they must get runs on their machines. You still have to talk to a person to get the cash if you win.

                I was going to put another $40 into the machine I had played the day before, but a woman had staked it out with her shopping cart and was putting her money into high dollar scratch tickets, scratching them off, and checking to see if she won on the machine.  I was trying to plug my money into the same stack of tickets to see if the working theory of buying out a stack was worthwhile.  Back in the days of pull-tab machines in taverns, it was a viable theory when you had enough beer in your system.

                I had to go with the other machine as she was not moving.  She was still scratching and checking after I had bought my next 40 tickets.  My new understanding of buying scratch tickets from machines is they in general pay out $17 for every $40 you put in.  Blind chance is still the governing factor.  I was in the mood to gamble since none of the other cunning plans I have for supplementing my pension were working out at that moment.  I have all sorts of compensation mechanisms for when my creative urge needs a rest.

                Like most hominids, I really do not know what I am doing most of the time.  It is at best a controlled experiment but is mostly a knee jerk reaction.  That woman with the shopping cart and I have a lot in common.  However, she has a better territorial imperative than I.  I will probably never know if her imperatives are more successful than mine.  For me in the meantime, I will get back to more pressing issues in my life as the summer heat dome tries to melt me into the floor.  I cannot afford to go basking in the AC of a casino right now.  I am lucky to spend a few minutes in the frozen food section of a Safeway.