Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#duckface #selfiewednesday #sharkweek

This is an issue that I have felt very strongly about for sometime now, but I haven’t known how to broach it in a politically correct way. Finally I realized that there isn’t any politically correct way to say this without hurting some peoples feelings (although I’m quite sure the majority of people this blog refers to are illiterate, so maybe they won’t find out). As Winston Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” I wish it was something bigger and more important that I was standing up for, but it’s really quite idiotic and pathetic, but it bothers me, it irks me, it gets a bee in my bonnet, so here it is. If you easily get your feelings hurt or are going to judge me and think I’m mean, please stop reading this blog now, it’s Shark Week, why are you reading anyway, go tune into the Discovery channel and watch some poor guy get his leg or head chomped off.

To begin with I’m going to break down some really basic terms that I will be using in this blog for my readers that are not instagram and social network savvy;

hashtag- a symbol (#) used to denominate the number sign. In today’s world hashtag has a brand new meaning, now try to keep up mom, if you’re reading. A # in front of a phrase is something you connect to a picture or twitter feed. I still don’t understand how twitter works so I won’t even get that advanced. So let me use an example, that works best, if I was to post a picture of Stewie I might write underneath it, #stewie #boxer #loveofmylife. Any person can click on my # and a bunch of examples of each would come up. If you clicked on #boxer a bunch of other boxers would come up. Make sense? Still with me mom?

duckface- a girl that makes a face that strongly resembles a duck in a picture, no teeth, slight upturned pout. Apparently they think this is attractive, I’m still unsure if anyone else does.

selfie- a picture that someone takes of themselves in the mirror or by simply using the handy reverse camera function that most smart phones today have. Generally this person is of the female orientation, and strangely they also are duck facing. Now don’t get me wrong, a selfie is not a picture someone else took of you, that is okay, unless you do it all the time. A selfie is a picture taken by you, of you, for you.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me digress a little bit and give you the backstory on my personal social network. Because of the secret society I belong to, I know more people then I’d say the average human knows. In fact when my friends Joey and Sarah come out to visit me, we inevitably run into someone I know everytime, no matter where in LA we are, this has led Joey to believe I am the mayor of LA and in fact lovingly has given me the nickname, Mayor. Truth is, it is a complete coincidence that this happens when they come and just some random force of nature, and generally I never run into people I know in this big city, unless I’m with Sarah and Joey. I don’t tell them though, I just pretend it happens all the time, it makes me feel like kind of a big deal, which I’m not. I pretend not to see or hear Sarah lean over and whisper into Joey’s shocked face that we have yet again run into another friend of mine, “they’re in the secret society.” So I have a lot of acquaintances. I have the normal amount of close friends, but A LOT of acquaintances. So the way the social network thing goes is, I end up having a lot of my secret society acquaintances on there.  I may not be all of their biggest fans, and I’m sure they don’t all think I’m the bees knees, but it’s kind of an obligation to the secret society, we all band together even though we all might not have everything in common (the secret society is starting to sound like a cult, I do realize that, it’s not, I promise).

Okay, now that all that’s out of the way lets get down to brass tacks. I am so fed up of looking at the same girls selfies day after day. I am really irritated and resentful at girls who take selfies all the time and girls who have duck faces in their selfies.  Okay, so I know I should just stop following them right? But I can’t, it’s like watching shark week, so intensely disturbing but so hard to look away. There are a few girls in particular that I am thinking of, and like I said, I’m pretty sure none of them know how to read, so I don’t think I have to worry about them seeing this. So really, what in the world are these girls thinking? I mean it really gets under my skin. They will post the exact same shot, of their pursed duck lips in a pouty expressionless line, behind a different background everyday. There’s this one girl I follow on instagram who literally every day, sometimes three times a day posts the exact same picture of herself in the various places she visits throughout the day, my favorite part is her hashtags. She tags #selfiewednesday, or #selfietuesday, or #selfiemonday, depending on the day of the week. It doesn’t even make sense. Okay, #throwbackthursday makes sense, and is cute when you post a picture of you when you were five years old licking an ice cream cone in your undies. But #selfiewednesday doesn’t even make sense! It’s not even an alliteration! #flashbackfriday, #throwbackthursday, these make sense to me, but #selfiewednesday is just an excuse to put another boring picture of yourself up, and I’m sick of looking at you.  And for fucks sake can you have some other expression besides that toothless trying to be seductive but look like a total jackass look. I mean, I am really upset about these selfies guys, I don’t know why it disturbs me so much. I know that a psychologist would say to me, “well usually the things that irritate you in other people are the things you see in yourself that you don’t like.” But I do not take selfies. I also am aware that I am not God and have no business passing judgement on what people do with their free time, but I am human and not Mother Teresa, so I do judge.

I actually have a real plan to fix this problem, and trust me, it is a problem. I know I’m not the only one that is extremely disturbed by the level of vanity that has overcome social networking. I mean, my friend Sherah, (about to throw you under the bus Sherah), texts me every other day, screenshots of the culprits doing their thing, just in case I missed it in my feed, because I’m not quite as glued to my instagram feed as Sherah is. (By the way, completely unrelated, but Sherah is single). I’ve got a plan to stop selfies, and I really think it’s a solid one. I can’t fix the national debt. I can’t bring about world peace. I’m not going to win a Nobel Prize for curing a disease. But I can try and put a dent in selfies. As far as I am concerned you all get a redo as of today. As far as I am concerned none of you have ever posted one, including myself. The next person I see who posts a selfie will be deleted immediately. Now I don’t consider myself so important that my deleting them would affect their life in any negative way at all, but if we all get together we can make a difference! If you all continue to one by one delete the people you follow who post selfies, then eventually there will be nobody left to look at their pictures, and they may actually start posting some pictures of substance (like puppies or food).

Who’s with me? I implore you to all join my cause, maybe if we all band together we can eradicate selfies forever!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stewie is as Stewie does

Mark Twain said “write what you know.” I have made a commitment to myself to blog once a week. Writing keeps my brain active. Keeping my brain active and dendrites moving apparently staves off Alzheimers. I’m very concerned about getting Alzheimers. I forget things all the time. So I’m writing once a week. Problem is, I’m having trouble coming up with material. So I have decided to take good ole Marks advice and write what I know. What do I know better than my muse?

Sam and I are in a debate over whether Stewie is abnormally stupid or unbelievably smart. I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I feel like he is a human trapped in a dog body dying to let his genius out. Other times I feel like he is the most obtuse animal I have ever known, I mean, really, really dumb.

Sam wanted a boxer his whole life. We looked at boxer rescue sites for months because I wanted a boxer puppy, but we wanted to do the right thing and rescue. Puppies are difficult to come by on rescue sites and so the search was fruitless and Sam thought we should get an adult dog. I was determined to have a puppy that could grow up with us, so I waited until Sam went out of town for a weekend, and surpise! Sam came home to a son. I neglected to tell Sam for months, maybe the first year of Stewie’s life, that Stewie was the runt. One day I let slip that Stewie was the runt and ever since then Sam has blamed all Stewie’s retardation on that, and blamed me for picking the runt.

I am constantly threatened by Sam that he will return Stewie for a smarter animal. I know he says this in jest, but I feel bad for Stewie, I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I think it may be my fault that my son is so deficient and demented. I have sheltered and coddled him too much. I didn’t let him out in public for the first four months of his life because I was terrified he may contract some sort of deadly disease and wanted him to get all his shots first. I remember reading about the way Queen Victoria was brought up. She was brought up under a strict regimen that was coined the “Kensington System.” She was sheltered so much because she was the only heir to the throne and her mother wanted to make sure nothing happened to interfere with her succession. Victoria wasn’t even allowed to sleep in her own room and had to sleep with her mother until she became Queen of England. I imagine I brought Stewie up under something similar to the “Kensington System.” The poor pup was rarely out of my arms when I was around, I was constantly checking his breathing to make sure he was alive, I took him to the vet every time he displayed any sign of sickness, much to Sam and his wallets dismay. Stewie pees like a girl and Sam yells at him in our backyard, “be a man Stewie, raise your leg!” Stewie cannot even walk on a leash out in public because he is so afraid of cars, people, and any noise that you could associate with living in the city. All these defects either get blamed on Stewie’s being a runt or my being overly protective.

Stewie has recently taken up watching animal planet and documentaries about wolves. This leads me to believe that he is in fact, not a half-wit, but a savant. Have you ever seen a dog watch TV? Ever? I mean for extended periods of time without getting distracted? This isn’t like the game where you pretend to throw a ball two times and on the third time the dog realizes there is nothing in your hand. He never gets tired of it, it never gets old, Stewie loves watching animal planet.  His favorite movie is “Life of Pi,” for obvious reasons. I put on the opening scene of “Life of Pi” and he just is mesmerized. So here’s the dilemma. When the animals come on Stewie literally tries to climb into the TV to hang out with them. He watches and takes it all in, he is clearly understanding what is happening. But is he? Does Stewie believe that there are animals living inside my TV/laptop, or does he understand that he is watching documentaries about other animals and he just enjoys learning how his ten times removed ancestors live and what their habitats are like?

I recently suggested we get a bark box subscription for Stewie. A bark box is a monthly box that comes filled with dog treats and toys and I thought Stewie would really enjoy something like that. We don’t have kids to spend our money on, why not spoil him? Sam, to my surprise, said “Sure!” And then he followed it up with, “we can take out the treats when they arrive and send Stewie back in the box.” I know he just does this to get me riled up and his mission in life is to do things that upset me so I will argue with him, but it gets me every time. I really don’t want Stewie to develop a complex about being stupid or unwanted.

Everyday when I leave for work in the morning Stewie looks out our window after me, he actually pushes his snout up against the window so his whole face is smashed up. It’s a terrible gut wrenching sight to see. It makes it very hard to leave the house at all because I feel so guilty. Every evening when I come home from work I lock my car and the second I click my alarm and it goes beep Stewie runs up to the window and is waiting there, watching, wiggling with anticipation. I don’t have the market cornered on this routine of his, he doesn’t break it out just for me. He recognizes his fathers car alarm too and goes to hold vigil at the window until Sam walks in. There are many cars that travel and park on our street, many that have car alarms, and he only gets up for the ones he knows. Which again, is another sign that he may be smarter than he presents at times.  

Despite his goofy, retarded disposition, he makes me incredibly happy and it’s impossible not to break out in a smile when I see him. Senseless or intelligent, I’m sure the debate will continue, but it doesn’t really matter. Sam will continue to terrorize and bait me about sending Stewie back or turning him in for an updated and more intelligent model. I will continue to play along and feign shock and horror at the idea that he would give up his son. But when we are laying in bed at night and Stewie is laying right on Sam’s chest with his head in the crook of his dads neck, I hear Sam whisper in Stewie’s ear, “I love you bud, you’re such a good boy.” And I know he really doesn’t care that Stewie pees like a girl, and is afraid of his own shadow, and is ranked 48 on Stanley Coren’s dog breed intelligence list, and is really extremely needy, and dense. Stewie’s love for us is unconditional and it’s hard not to love something that is blind to, and loves you despite all of your flaws and imperfections.

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” -Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Celebrating Mediocrity

A baby was born this week. Thousands of babies were born this week. But one, was a Prince. He doesn’t have a name yet.  Baby owners all over the world are delaying naming their spawn, either because they want to name it after the Prince or they want to make sure they don’t give it the same name as the Prince. This doesn’t seem fair to me. Thousands of nameless babies, waiting around patiently in their baby bassinets, to be named after, or not the same as, a Prince. The most irritating part about all of this, is this monarchy doesn’t even hold any power. Why does anyone care? They are purely figureheads. Prince William cannot pass a law, he cannot behead Kate Middleton when she is unruly or he gets sick of her. (Although that might make things more interesting, I don’t understand why beheadings have gone out of fashion). But people care, I care. I myself, googled all the pictures and videos of the Prince and Princess leaving the hospital with their brand new baby.  I oohed and awed over the new successor’s birth. I watched Kate in her blue polka dot Jenny Pakham dress, and she is so perfect and gracious and beautiful and I longed to have her life. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting here embracing mediocrity.
When I was small, who am I kidding, when I was small until I was about 30 years old, I was convinced I would marry Prince William. The only reason the dream stopped is because he married someone else. All the signs pointed to a royal union for William and I. I was born in England, practically royalty already, I’m sure if you traced back through the family history I had some blue blood running thru my veins. We were both born in June, only six days and one year apart. These coincidences made me sure I was destined to be a princess. Turns out it was some other girls destiny to be a princess too, her name is Kate, and he chose her. My dreams were smashed.

As I watched Kate and William emerge from the hospital and show off their prize, Baby Cambridge, to the world, I realized how insignificant I am in this world and how, I, am not special. Nobody will photograph me if I ever give birth. Nobody cares. I have about three regular readers on my blog, my sister, my boyfriend (who I make read it), and some weird girl I don’t know. I’ve never done much of any significance. I’m not going to win a nobel peace prize. I work a nine to five. Come home. Usually order Thai food from down the street because I don’t know how to cook and they really show up fast. Sometimes I go to my secret society meeting. Sometimes I take Stewie to the dog park because socialization is important for him and his self esteem. I go to bed, Stewie takes up the whole bed, Sam and I try to adjust ourselves around him. I wake up. I set my alarm 45 minutes before I actually have to be up because I like to hit snooze for 45 minutes. And then I do it all over again. I will get old and die and disappear and nobody will ever know I was even here. We are all just floating around in the middle of nowhere in the middle of nothing and who even knows why the hell we are here and in the middle of it all, I am insignificant, and I can’t sleep a lot at night because of it.

Kate could have had my life. Kate could have a nine to five and eat thai at night, I doubt she’d go to the secret society meetings because she is too pure for them, but maybe all the rest.  Except for she chose to go to a little school named St. Andrews. And she met a Prince. And now she has a different life.

Today I’m rejoicing my humdrum life. I’m not reading any tabloids today because they make me feel ugly and generally like shit. I enjoyed my Thai dinner tonight. Sam and I took Stewie for an enjoyable evening walk to 7-11 so I could buy cigarettes. I don’t think I’ll google Will and Kate anymore because you know what, they really haven’t done much either, he just was the lucky little royal sperm that won the race. And by the way, he’s going to be bald in a couple years, and my boyfriend has a head full of hair. I didn’t marry into the royal family, but that’s okay, because Sam thinks I’m a princess (most of the time) (maybe half of the time).

A Prince was born this week. And I’m just here celebrating mediocrity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Humidity Levels in California

It has been unusually humid for California. My sister got married. I thought about quitting smoking. My family came out and visited us from Ireland. I got a fake spray tan. I thought about quitting smoking. The Newsroom season premiere was a bit of a letdown, I had been looking forward to it for almost a year, poor form Newsroom writers. I started back listening to my book on tape, after taking a week hiatus, I like it, it’s entertaining and makes the drive to work go by quickly. I thought about quitting smoking, and read a couple pages out of Allen Carrs “Easy Way to Quit Smoking,” it’s not easy and the title really pisses me off. The Zimmerman trial verdict was laid down. Groups of angry people are “protesting” the verdict, back in the day these were called “riots.” Although I remember the day the Rodney King verdict was announced, I was at Magic Mountain with my parents surrounded by over one hundred thousand angry African American people and I only have seen that look of fear for their daughters lives on one other occasion, which I will not mention right now, but those were real riots. The current “riots” are childs play compared to 1992. Cory Monteith died of a heroin overdose.  I’m not joking about the humidity, I’ve been forced to seek solace at the mall because it’s the only place I know with air conditioning. And I have a serious problem with shopping, it’s not an idyllic place for me to go for sanctuary.

These are all events that happened in the last week. Yet I cannot conjure up one thing to write about. I started this blog over two years ago and since then have wrote on average one entry every four months, barely qualifying it to be called a blog, maybe more like a quarterly newsletter. I started the blog because I want to be a writer and I got lots of advice saying “if you wanna be a writer, you gotta start a blog.” So I did. Nothing is inspiring me to write, although I see inspiring things everyday. So there you go. Here I am. Writing a blog on how I cannot write. I’m not dead, I just have writers block.

My boss told me today that I had outgrown my position here and although he loved having me here, what was I going to do with my life. Isn’t that  just the million dollar question.  I feel like I am stuck in the middle of a room with hundreds of people, screaming at the top of my lungs, “what am I going to do with my life, help me, tell me and I’ll do it” and none of them can hear me. I’m too old to be in college at this point, but will never go any farther if I don’t finish up. The degrees I’m interested in will take four, more likely, eight more years, I’ll be  on social security and getting the senior citizen discount at Denny’s by the time I finish college at the rate I’m going. The thing I really wish is that I could time travel back to 1999 and convince myself to go to college and take it seriously, or even 2005 when I finally cleaned up and tell myself to go back and get a degree. Instead I find myself telling any young person who’s willing to listen, to go to college now, or you’ll regret it. And I sound like all the grown ups that I have always hated for lecturing me.

When my boss asked me of my future plans today, I told him the usual, “I am going to be a writer.” I barely even believe it when I say it out loud anymore. My boss suggested I start a blog if I want to be a writer and get some readers, to which I informed him, “I already have one.” Then write Gayle, just write.

I was in line at Starbucks a couple weeks ago when Sam sneezed and a very large gentleman behind us in line said “God bless you.” Or maybe the man sneezed and Sam said “God bless you,” it really doesn’t matter, that’s not the point of this story. For whatever reason they started chatting with each other and the man said, “Who even knows where the expression “God bless you,” came from?” Without missing a beat, I informed him that it originated during the time of the Bubonic Plague. When someone sneezed it was assumed that they had caught the plague and so whoever heard them said, “God bless you.”  Now this gentleman was incredibly impressed that I knew this. I’m not sure why.  Five minutes later we were waiting for our drinks and the man said to me, “I can’t get over the fact that you knew that, how did you know that?” I told him I must of heard it at some point in my life and just remembered it, honestly, I don’t know where I heard it. He said, “you’d make a great lawyer, being able to remember facts like that.” We started chatting and I told him I was a little lost right now in the world and appreciated the direction. As he picked up his drink and went to walk out he turned to me and said, “You know what the best thing to do is when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do?” I looked at him incredulously, this stranger was about to tell me the answer to all my problems, the way to figure out what to be when I grow up. I was shaking with excitement on the inside but kept it cool on the outside and just said, “No, what?” He smiled an encouraging and loving dad like smile, leaned down, and I thought he was about to whisper the secret to life in my ear but he simply said, “DECIDE,” and smiled generously as he walked out the door into the humid Los Angeles evening.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.” -Mary Schmich

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

$500 on black

There are no mulligans when gambling. There’s no 30 day return policy like Nordstrom’s has. (Actually Nordstroms has a forever return policy, so that’s a bad example, you can buy an outfit, wear it 26 times and still return it to Nordy’s)  What I mean is, you cannot put $1000 dollars down on red, watch the little ball stop on black, and then say “whoops, I didn’t mean that, can I have my money back?”

I bought Sam 30 scratcher tickets for his 30th birthday and we scratched them on the flight to Vegas, they were all duds. In hindsight, maybe those scratchers were an ominous warning.  

Albert Einstein believed it was mathematically impossible to win at roulette. He knew, although you may win in the short term, there was no possible way of winning in the long term.  He actually spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out if there was a way to beat the roulette wheel and was unable to do so. I swear, google it, fact check it, arguably the most brilliant mathematician took time out of his busy days solving the theory of relativity and coming up with e=mc2 to try to figure out how to beat the house in roulette.  Some people believe if you study a specific wheel for long enough you will see that it favors certain numbers and then you can place your bets on those numbers, but if this were so, you would literally have to stare at the wheel for hundreds, maybe thousands of spins until you found what numbers were favored.  Some people watch the board and see how many reds or blacks have come up, to judge where to place their bets.  I don’t watch the board, I try not to look at the board no matter what, because it throws me off. The little ball doesn’t care about what’s on the board, it’s going where it’s going. Good ol’ Al knew that too. All I can do is try to get in touch with the little balls feelings and use my telepathic powers to try to figure out where it wants to land.  

I recently finished a statistics class, so I do understand the law of large numbers.  The law of large numbers, in simple terms, is this; if you flip a fair coin ten times it may come up with 8 tails and 2 heads.  If you flip a fair coin a hundred times it may come up with 40 tails and 60 heads.  If you flip a fair coin a thousand times it will probably get closer to 500 tails, 500 heads.  The higher the amount of flips you do, the more likely it is to be 50% heads, 50% tails. So here’s the thing, statistically, there is a 50/50 chance of the ball landing on black or red.  Actually, between 47% and 48% when you account for the either one or two green spots, or zero and double zero.  But that’s a lie.  If you sat and watched the wheel for 1000 spins then probably about 500 would be black and around 500 would be red. But the little ball has no flipping clue what color it landed on last, and wasn’t in Professor Jiashen You’s stats class, and does not give a flying fuck about the law of large numbers.  

Mom, if you’re reading this, and judging me for being so frivolous, then I want you to remember one thing.  Until the day I die, I will never understand how you order one glass of wine at dinner and sip on it for a whole entire meal, and then leave the restaurant with a half an inch of wine left.  It drives me crazy, it’s such a waste! I don’t even see why you ordered the glass of wine in the first place, you might as well have just ordered a water, or some other tasteless beverage.  If you’re ordering wine you should drink the whole glass, I’d feel more at ease if you’d drink the whole bottle.  Even now, with seven years sober, I will never understand why you do it, and when I go to dinner with you, I am tortured watching you nurse your wine, and when we leave the restaurant, I think about the wine sitting there long, looooonnnng after we are gone and think about what a shame it is that it probably got thrown down the drain.  So either stop reading now, or else remember the wine story when you’re finished reading.  Just like you will never understand how I can’t quit when I’m ahead, and why I have to be so greedy, I will never fathom why you let perfectly good alcohol go to waste.  I also will never understand why you get so much joy from the penny slots in Vegas, but that’s a separate issue. I love you mom.

One more disclaimer, this story contains drug use, which may be inappropriate for children. I don’t do drugs anymore, and that’s a really good thing. If drugs make you uncomfortable then stop reading and click on this link, i promise, you won’t be sorry, if you click the link. If you hate the link then you have only wasted 2 minutes and 30 seconds of your life and I’m sure you have done more idiotic things with 2 minutes and 30 seconds of your life in the past. Click here for Awesomeness

Anyways, I digress.

My boyfriend wanted to go to Vegas to celebrate his 30th birthday. A week before we were going, my boss told me he’d like to give me $500 to place on black at the roulette table and if I won we could split the winnings.  I had never played roulette before but it seemed like a fair enough deal and so I promised I would. On Friday my boss called me into his office and showed me a picture of a roulette table on the internet and how it worked and where to place my money and so on and so forth, and gave me 500 bucks. I thought the demonstration of the table on the internet was a bit excessive, since a child can figure out the ins and outs of roulette, it’s not like poker where you actually have to have a bit of a brain. But anyone who gives their employee $500 to put on one bet is a bit excessive to begin with, I never even considered there was a chance I’d win.  

As soon as we landed in Vegas I wanted to get that 500 bucks out of my wallet and onto the table.  The anxiety over placing such a big bet was weighing heavily on me and I couldn’t shake the nervous feeling.  Win or lose I just wanted to do it and stop thinking about it. So I walked up to the very first table I saw and placed my $500 down.  The dealer at the table looked like some kind of Japanese animation evil character. She reminded me of a dragon, I wondered if that was a bad omen.  Dragon lady gave me 5 black chips and I placed them on black.  Dragon lady leaned over the wheel with her long dragon like talons and flicked the ball.  I leaned over the glass partition watching the ball as it spun around and then slowly started bouncing in and out of  the colors as it did it’s final turn thru the wheel. And then it stopped. On black.  I couldn’t contain my excitement at winning such a big bet and was jumping all over the place, much to dragon lady’s chagrin.  

Vegas is a surreal place.  A sick, crazy, unrealistic, confusing, debaucherous place. Some people call it the grown ups Disneyland, I don’t know about all that. I happen to like Disneyland.  I never get  crazy uncomfortable at Disneyland.  The most anxiety I ever get at Disneyland is over the line at Peter Pan, and whether it’s too long for the rest of my party to wait in or not, because Peter Pan is my most favorite ride at Disneyland and generally the other people I’m with could care less if they get to go on a flying boat through Neverland, so we never can go if the lines too long.  I think a much more appropriate metaphor for Vegas might be something like, the armpit of America. A place where money is not money, but the possibility of things I might have, $400 is not $400, but two pairs of designer jeans, $1000 is not $1000, but a plane ticket somewhere.  $2000 is not $2000 but a coveted year long gym membership at the swanky and prestigious Equinox, which I have been dying to be a member of for so long because the machines aren’t covered in sweat and grossness which is par for the course with a 24 hour fitness membership.   Time and sleep are not necessary anymore, but something I will have plenty of when I am dead. A cup of coffee costs 2 bucks while a bottle of water is 7 bucks, how does that even make sense!  There are no clocks. The casinos are pumped with oxygen (and I think probably trace amphetamines) to keep me awake at hours when normal people are sleeping.  There are no windows, the only glass is the door coming in and they are tinted so it never is day time in Vegas, but permanently night.  The hotel rooms have blackout curtains so when I wake up in the middle of the night I guess it must be around 5AM and I decide to check my clock and am surprised to find it’s noon.  All casinos are set up in a way that is labyrinth like, and I get lost every time I try to find my way back to the room, until eventually I just plop down in desperation and start gambling again.  

After my big win, I played blackjack with my friends and lost all my end of the winnings in less than an hour.  Sam decided to play craps, and having no money left and refusing to use the good old ATM, I decided to watch him.  Craps makes no sense to me at all.  It is incredibly boring to watch people roll dice over and over again and move chips around places that have no rhyme or reason as far as I can tell, and watch them shout at the table and the dice and the chips when you have no clue what’s going on. I got bored after about two minutes of watching the game and got drawn to a roulette table I heard whispering my name behind the table we were at. I told Sam I’d be right back, I had to use the little girls room. I gave 100 bucks of my bosses portion of winnings to the dealer and asked for one chip. This dealer too, was like something out of a cartoon, blonde and very Swedish looking, and angry too. He looked like the bad guy in a lot of movies I’ve seen. The angry swede spun the wheel and it landed on black, I doubled down and it landed on black again. I kept putting 100 down and it just kept landing on black. When I was up to $700 and it finally landed on red, I walked away with my $600 and decided to cash in.  On the way to the cashier I stopped at Sam’s table and said, “hey, you know how I left here with all my money gone,” and I flashed out my hand with all my pretty black chips as he stared at me in shock. 

I cashed out but on the way back to find Sam, wandering through that  maze, I decided to put another $100 on black, because what’s better than $600 but $700. And I won.  It was like I couldn’t lose, I was on a streak and I was going to walk out with enough money to be a member of Equinox for a year, I could feel it in my bones. But what’s better than $700 but $800. And I lost.  And I kept on losing. And by the time I found Sam, approximately five minutes after cashing out, I had nothing left again.  

Here’s some insight into how my messed up brain ticks; I always wished I could just drink one drink. One glass of wine, like a lady, like my mom.  But to me, in my mind, what’s better than one drink? Two drinks. And what’s better than two drinks? Two drinks and an eight ball of cocaine. And what’s better than two drinks and an eight ball of cocaine? Two drinks, an eight ball of cocaine, a ton of pills, a mountain of crack, and to top it off, it’s all magically free! And that’s how my brain processes things. It’s never going to be enough.  Someone could give me a trailer truck full of free drugs and the very first thought that would run through my mind would be, “what will I do when I finish this?” That’s why I never ever will be able to drink just one drink. Because I’ll have one drink, steal your wallet, call the dealer, do all the drugs he brings me, then steal your drugs and help you look for them for a few hours, and then probably go out and drive somewhere, wake up in the morning and have no idea how I arrived there, walk outside and find my car on the curb, because of course, I drove there in a blackout.  So that is pretty rational reasoning on why I don’t just have one drink at a  party, when someone asks me, “can’t you just have one drink?”  Maybe  hard for a normal person to understand why I would do those horrendous things, but I just can’t stop, and if you don’t know, then you won’t get it either. And it’s the same with the money. $600 is nice, $700 is better. It’s a mix of greed, delusion, total addiction to the thrill, and the idea that I am the one lucky moron that’s going to beat the odds and make a small fortune. 

I could tell you the story about how I couldn’t sleep all night that  night after losing that money and was just waiting for Sam to fall asleep so I could sneak back down and try to win it back, but it’s kind of a boring stream of consciousness rendition of what already was described in the previous paragraphs and I don’t want you to fall asleep. I also won’t bore you with the fact that I woke up the next morning and went straight down and got back up to over $1000.  I was on such a roll that when Sam was down he gave me 100 bucks and asked me to win him back some money and I walked back with $500 for him five minutes later.  We were all up and all back on top. A few hours later up in our room Sam and I decided to go downstairs for a snack.  All I wanted was a snack to hold me over until dinner. Here’s another good rule of thumb in Vegas, don’t carry around more money than you want to spend at any time, and don’t carry around your ATM card at all. Ever. Here’s one thing you should always carry around, if you’re a smoker, always carry around your lighter. I opened my bag to light up a cigarette and realized I didn’t have a lighter, so I stopped at a table and asked the man there for one, and while I was at it, I may as well drop $100 down on black. And lose. And the guy didn’t even have a lighter, so I went to the next table and asked the next guy for a lighter, and I may as well drop $100 here too, and lose. Sam reminded me that we were only just getting a snack, so we went in the snack area direction, but I was surrounded by tables, screaming my name, to come back and win it back and I couldn’t stop. I didn’t stop until it was all gone, and then I did the final thing that you are never supposed to do in Vegas, I went to the ATM, and lost that too. And I walked right back to that stupid ATM and pulled out the rest of my daily withdrawal limit, I could almost hear the ATM yelling at me, “you stupid moron, that’s part of your rent money.” I lost that too.

I decided to call my boss in the morning on the day we were leaving and let him know that all I had left to bring home to him was $250.  “We are going to win all our money back, take the $250 and put it on black, you’ll see, in a few minutes, you’ll have thousands,” he said.  I quietly and completely defeated told him that all my luck was gone and I couldn’t stand to lose any more money and didn’t want to do it. But he insisted.  It was his money. Go put it on black and call him right after. So I did.  I walked up to the very first table that I saw, and the dealer there was the funny English guy that told me every time he saw me that he wanted to lick my bag which was covered in beads, usually I’d think finding the one dealer that I liked at the first table was lucky but I knew all my luck was gone.  I put my money down on black and watched the little ball spin around and land on black.  My luck had returned!!! I called my boss, put 500 on black again he said. So I did. And I won again. I had 1000 bucks, what I originally had won, and I called my boss and told him I would be happy to walk right now.  He told me to put the $1000 on red.  The whole time I was in Vegas, I didn’t place one bet on red.  Red was a bad angry color. I wasn’t feeling red. I definitely wasn’t feeling red when he told me to do it and I told him that. But he again insisted. I reluctantly moved my pile of chips to red. I thought for a moment about keeping them on black and then if I won I’d tell my boss the truth and if I lost he never had to know what happened, but my gambles hadn’t gone particularly well so far, so I ignored the feeling. I put all the chips on red and watched the little ball spin round and round and slow down and do the final bounce around the table. It stopped on red, or started to stop on red, and bounced, and landed...on black.

When I was 21 years old, my parents and sister busted me out of rehab for the weekend and we went on a snowboarding trip to Tahoe. (They didn’t really bust me out, the rehab gave me a weekend pass, but it sounds more romantic to say that) We went into one of the casinos on the strip and I gambled for the first time ever.  The first slot machine I ran into I put a quarter in, and I won $120.  And I walked away. Mostly because my mom was sitting with me and she said, “now this is when you walk away Gayle.” To me, at the time, I had made a small fortune. Ever since then, for the last ten years, I have believed that I have incredible luck at gambling. I’m not very good at many things, I don’t excel in too many areas, but I’ve always known, I’m blessed with a gift, I’m an excellent gambler.  I mean, I’ve been in casinos since that trip, and the house wins every time, I literally have never won since. But my head has still for the last ten years, believed, known that I am a lucky person and that one of these times it will pay off, and I probably will win enough that I’ll never have to work another day in my life. I’m definitely sure that that lucky trip is going to be my next trip to Vegas, I can feel it in my bones.  

“No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking.”  -Albert Einstein