Your Gamblin’ Days are Over
Reading time: 2 minutes –
Sorry I’ve been absent, life got in the way. Which is better than death getting in the way, now that I think about it, so I’m not sorry.
Gabe and I are back on the road again. Today’s road lesson: Thou shalt not gamble.
He wants to know how much a car weighs. Four thousand pounds, I tell him. “Remember Yuma from our trip to French Lick (#2 on Frain’s Greatest Stories)? Think of thirteen of him. You’re driving the equivalent of thirteen of the meanest guy you ever ran into.”
I’ve completely distracted him, and we run through a STOP sign. “Don’t worry,” I tell him. “I don’t usually stop at that one either. But when Mom is in the car, you stop there.”
Sometimes my tongue engages before my brain. Okay, most of the time.
“I can pick which stop signs are optional?”
“No. Did I say all that out loud? You stop at every red octagon, no matter what. It’s not worth the gamble.”
“That’s why I wanted to know how much the car weighed. So I know how much I’m gambling with.”
I get my serious look. Really, I have one. I just don’t break it out much. “Gabe, here is today’s rule. There is no gambling. It is never worth it. Because even if you get away with it, you’re one step closer to karma busting your ass. You want karma on your side. Always.”
He sees the wisdom in this. We are great believers in karma, Gabe and I. “My friend, karma is,” he says in his best Yoda voice.
So I push my luck. “Also, no gambling on the lottery either. Biggest ripoff in life. Worst odds you’ll get. Buy a book instead. You’ll get way better entertainment that lasts much longer.”
(According to Max Galka, Americans spend more on the lottery than on sporting events, books, video games, movies and music – combined! The average household spends $630 on the lottery every year. Almost every one of those households gets about $240 back. One outlier gets rich. It’s not exactly socialism. And since the lottery is a monopoly, the odds of winning are horrible. No other form of gambling comes close. Horse racing, a distant second, has 2 1/2 times better odds.)
My favorite moment of this journey happens near the end. I’ve been stealthily stealing glances into the side-view mirror after seeing a cop at a four-way stop. Sometimes Gabe could make a sandwich – and eat it – while deciding when it’s his turn to go. The cop, naturally curious about such a driver, begins following us. For about six blocks, through one stoplight and through another four-way stop, the cop is following us. Secretly – I can’t believe I’m admitting this – I’m hoping he’ll flick his blue-and-reds on and pull us over. Why? Because what a blog entry, right!
Okay, I feel shame. But that was my honest thought.
Anyway, following all that activity, Gabe suddenly blurts out. “Oh my gosh, a cop just got behind us. What do I do?”
“After you make a left turn here, you start looking in your rear-view mirror a little more often.” The cop dashes my dream and turns right, most likely gambling that Gabe is just learning to drive. Or maybe he didn’t want to do any more paperwork.