The casino story

Tonight at dinner my son’s girlfriend told us her parents went to Morongo casino with $500 and lost it all.

On the way out, her dad found a single dollar in his pocket. He put it in a machine and won $700.

I’m lucky too, kind of.

I have been in a casino once in my life. I was 14.

There was a family reunion in Lake Tahoe. My aunt Elsie, one of my grama’s sisters, was a gambler like nobody’s business. She dragged a bunch of people over the state line to Reno for an afternoon.

She, my grama, my mom and I don’t even know who else were in the casino, and my cousins and I were in an arcade in another part of the mall.

Aunt Elsie was winning, and she kept bringing us tokens.

The arcade games took quarters.

My cousin Stephanie and I went to find her and give them back. We stood in the hall area at the entrance to the action. The slot machines were packed in tight, right up to the edge of the door jamb.

…Where I stood with a pocketful of tokens.

What would you do?

I still technically had my feet outside the casino, which I thought meant something, I guess. I dropped a token in a slot machine and pulled the handle.

It was loud. Lights started flashing, sirens went off and coins poured clanking into a steel bin. Oops.

Security guards were on me before I had a chance to curse. I remember without affection the brick surface my face was pressed against. My hands were behind my back.

The guard got me out of reach of the winnings and demanded, “Where are your parents? Are your parents here?”

“No.” Please don’t let one of my 50 relatives in the room look this way.

“How did you get here?”

“We walked from our hotel.” This was taking a long time. OK, if someone has to see us, please let it be Aunt Elsie. Aunt Elsie would probably keep a straight face and tell the officer I was 21.

He let me go with a hollering at, and my family was none the wiser.

Except Stephie, who laughed all the way back to the arcade. “I wish you could have seen your face. Man you were sh**ting bricks.”

Based on this one-token history of casino gambling, I announce myself to be lucky, kind of.

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6 Responses to “The casino story”

  1. Fred Bauman Says:

    A few weeks ago the Wheel of Fortune bus came to Morongo looking for contestants. Beginning at 6 p.m., there would be 3 try-out games. Hopeful contestants would be picked by lucky numbers given out at registration.
    I got there at 5:30 trying to get to Valet Parking. The line was really long, and it took me a half hour just to park. Inside the line stretched all the way around the vast casino floor. And that was just the line to get a wristband. Another, even longer line, was for registering. I gave it a half hour but the line did not seem to get smaller. At 7 p.m. I gave up saying to hell with it, nothing is worth waiting this long. As I walked away I saw a rare sight, an empty poker machine, almost miraculously, with that large a crowd. I decided to waste a $20 bill. On my third pull I got the Ace, King, Queen and Ten of diamonds to draw to, with a 3 Clubs in the middle. I actually closed my eyes, took a deep breath and punched the draw button.
    Bingo, the Jack of diamonds! A ROYAL! $1,000! That’s the minimum on Wheel of Fortune anyway, and I didn’t waste four hours standing in line. I put the money in my pocket and left. Thank you Vanna!

  2. JeremyA Says:

    I went to Vegas in February and had accident with my mom’s camera…

    It was the last day in Vegas and I was at the kiddie slots (aka: arcade) with a friend of mine.
    My friend wanted to try out some dancing game and I went with her.
    She put her bag down and I decided to put the camera down too, thinking it won’t disturb me while playing.
    After the game was over we left to try out some other games.
    My friend forgot her bag about 5 minutes after we left and she found it just the way she left it.
    I forgot about the camera about 20 minutes after we left.
    I told my friend that I lost my mom’s camera and we ran all around the arcade trying to search for it.
    She said that she didn’t see me put it down but since both of us didn’t have the camera, we kept on searching.
    Apparently there was a security officer office was right next to where we played but the officer wasn’t there.
    Eventually we reported to lost and found but no camera was ever found.
    I called my parents to telll them what happened and they weren’t mad.
    Later that night my friend (she’s 21) had a coupon for a free alcoholic beverage and gave most of the screwdriver (2 part OJ, 1 part vodka) to me (I’ve been to Germany and I know what I’m doing, most of the time).
    Fortuantely my friend didn’t lose her camera and gave me some pics.
    A month later my dad bought the newer model for my mom.
    Now I just been in Chicago and I’m writing in Notre Dame taking lots of pics.
    I gonna make sure that everything on the 4G SD card will make its way on the computer back.

    To wrap up, here’s some things I’ve learned about that experience:

    1: Arcades are just a waste of time and money.
    2: Never lose a camera ever again!!!
    3: Alcholic beverages may taste weird (or good, depends on person), but they can never fix your problems.
    4: Tell the truth (all the time) – Randy Pausch
    5: I’m never going back to Vegas again.

  3. Another ghost story, (corrected) « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] he died, Auntie Elsie and her husband Bill came to visit — or it was Elsie’s son Randy and his first wife, […]

  4. An impulse toward kindness « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] By T. In October of 2000 I walked from Santa Barbara to Malibu, raising more than $2,000 in my Auntie Elsie’s memory for breast cancer education, research and […]

  5. Another ghost story « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] he died, Auntie Elsie and her husband Bill came to […]

  6. An impulse toward kindness « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] October of 2000 I walked from Santa Barbara to Malibu, raising more than $2,000 in my Auntie Elsie’s memory for breast cancer education, research and […]

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