I was a bit of a gambler yesterday. I learnt a new dice game called Left-Center-Right. While at first I thought it had something to do one's political slant I soon learned it was all about money, something I'm familiar with. While the game comes with chips, we used quarters instead. I found this interesting and thought I'd like it.
I'm not much of a gambler. Occasionally I'll play the lottery if the jackpot is over $60MM and at that the most I usually buy is five tickets (more like one or two). I'm not sure how I neglected to get the gambling gene for nearly everyone in my family has it. Me, I'd rather buy a mutual fund. Then again, I guess that's a form of gambling too.
So last night there I sat around the kitchen table with my mother, my brother, my sister, her husband and my brother's best friend from high school. We all took turns rolling these three funny looking die whose outcome determined the fate of each of our three quarters: Left a quarter goes to the person to the left of you, Center one goes into the pot, Right give up twenty-five cents to the person to the right of you and finally a dot means one of your quarters is safe with you. I prayed for dots all night. In fact, we all did: "Please Jesus give me three dots! Lord have mercy upon my soul. I need a new pair of shoes."
The last person with at least one quarter wins the center pot. I had a bit of beginner's luck. I began to get cocky. Round after round I kept winning. "Does anyone need change? How about a loan at 18% interest?" I was determined to make a profit out of this. If the credit card companies could charge 18%, I could too. 'Who cares if it's family. This is a fucking business like Sara Lee or General Electric,' I thought. (God, I need a vacation. I think I forgot I was on one.)
After several profitable rounds, with my mother's social security check almost signed over to me (just one more round and I would have had it) and images of a corner office by the community pool, the tables started to turn the other way. "Oh shit." Quarters began to pour from my coffer like yesterday's beef burrito. "Well...wait a minute. I don't think I rolled that the right way." I was beginning to look for excuses.
"No, no, no...so the dice hit the side of a quarter and rolled over. Big deal! You still have to give your mother a quarter."
As my next turn approached, I thought maybe I wasn't saying the right things. I was at my wit's end. "Oh Jesus...Lord...Savior. I know I'm not much of a churchgoer but..." Left-Left-Center. "God damn it!"
I knew I didn't like gambling for a reason. I soon found myself cashing in dollar bills from others. 'What the fuck kind of business is this? None that I want to be apart of!' My corner mahogany office overlooking Plantation Farms' best palm trees and kidney shaped pool began to vanish.
With my newly found business operating at a loss, the game ended. Everyone was tired. I too was worn out. This was too much work. 'Could I somehow claim this on my taxes?' Probably not. With my roll of quarters now dwindled down to $3.75 jingling in my khaki shorts. I thought how it would weigh me down at the airport. I didn't want to have to empty it all into the security change bin. So I mustered up a bit of altruism: "Here you go Mom. You need it more than I do."
"Oh thank you! I'll use it for Wednesday night bingo."