I love words. Here are some of my favorite ones ever spoken: “There will be an answer. Let it be. – The Beatles……....“I did it my way.” – Frank Sinatra…..…. “Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey……....“I read, much of the night, and go south for the winter.” – T.S. Eliot…….“Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer.” – Woody Allen……….“All good books have one thing in common. They are truer than if they had actually happened.” – Ernest Hemingway……….“Would a journey not be worth taking if at the end of which, in the other world, we were delivered from all the pretend judges here? – Plato, Apology……….“You are my only love. You have me completely in your power. I know and feel that if I am to write anything noble and find in the future I shall do so only by listening at the doors of your heart.” – James Joyce to Nora……….“Basically I’m for whatever gets you through the night. But it prayer, tranquillizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra………. “He [Shakespeare] was not of an age, but for all time.” – Ben Janson in To My Beloved Master William Shakespeare………. “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl. Year after year. Running over the same old ground, what have we found? The same old fears?” – Pink Floyd………. “We live as we dream. Alone.” – Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness……….”Yet now I must confess, that duty done, my thoughts and wishes bend again toward France.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet………. “I’ve always known myself, but he was the first one to recognize me. And the first to love what he saw.” – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre………. “There is only the fight to recover what has been lost. There is only the trying.” – T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets……… “The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth and a truth which is beauty, is the aim of both. Is not the charm of one of Plato’s or Aristotle’s definitions, strictly like that of Antigone of Sophocles?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson…… “The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the face of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.” – Marge Peircy………. “It’s a fierce game I’ve joined because its being played anyway, a game of both skill and chance, played against unseen adversary – the conditions of time—in which the payoffs, which may suddenly arrive in a blast of light at any moment, might as well come to me as anyone else.” – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek………. “If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.” – Charlotte Bronte………. “All one has to do to be a writer is write. We’re writers only when we’re writing.” – Alan Shapiro

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On Gambling

For some reason, this summer I have found myself at casinos quite frequently. Whether is a family crab-leg dinner, a vacation to Vegas or Deadwood, or just meeting up with a best friend on her trip home, I’ve had my share of the neon lights and bells the past few weeks. So, naturally, I now have a theory.

And is there a better place for life metaphors than a casino? They’re the metaphorical jackpot if you will. I mean think about it, where else will people pay money to waste their time? Actually there are a few recent concerts and movies I can think of, but I digress. My point is that you can tell a lot about a person by what they expect from a slot machine.

You have some people, like my dad, who expect to win. People who are borderline shocked when they don’t see a triple-7 all night. And then there are some people, like myself and my mom, who don’t really care to play, but when we do, we expect to lose. We play the game because it’s crazy and maybe there is a tiny part of us that thinks perhaps the world owes us something and Providence intends to make amends with 80 quarters. Then there are a rare few who come in with no expectations. (Wouldn’t it be nice if life worked that way? You wake up neither a pessimist nor an optimist. I wonder what a person could discover if they had a clean slate every day.) But no matter what we expect of the machine, we all pull the lever.

In the end, I’m a gambling pessimist. A pessimist who likes to have fun. So with slot machines—and with life—I guess I just bet the max until I hit zero all while trying to have a good time with good people.

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