Saturday, January 24, 2004

Keno, Anyone?

Cosmic balance has been restored.

How, you ask? Let's turn the clock back to the heady days of late summer 2003, when young impressionable me headed to Vegas for the first time. I'm s simple Midwesterner; the combination of bright lights, free drinks and wild abandon threatened to overwhelm me completely. Case in point: those damned Wheel of Fortune slot machines.

If you're one of those souls who never sets foot inside a casino, a brief explanation is in order. Slot machines have progressed past the simple yet quaint one-armed bandits who sat quietly in the corner, waiting to rob you of your pocket change. Now they have screens. They shine. They scream. They glitter. They beckon. And none beckon like the Wheel of Fortune.

"Wheel! Of! Fortune!!!!!" The voices shout, just like the TV show. You hear the game's siren song: "Doo Doo Dee-do". And I couldn't resist the damn thing. The machine just kept giving money away. Everyone walked away with 20, 30, 40, 100 dollars. Everyone except me.

I could feel frustration mounting as I sat in front of one of these damned machines, surrounded by the majesty of Caesar's Palace, and all I could think of was how I had just dropped $20 into this cursed slot machine and didn't get to spin the freakin' wheel once.

It was enough to drive me to drink. And it did. But at least I had obnoxious - but very cute - dealers to look at then. Instead of a kaleidescope of evil spinning in front of me.

But tonight, the scales have returned to balance. I went to the casino with some friends. They decided to play Keno (apparently my friend is turning into a little old lady, but that's another story). I grew bored and went for a walk.

Wheel! Of! Fortune!

I heard it. Then I saw it - a bank of nickel machines. Next to a TV playing the Blues game. So I thought, surely there's no harm in watching a little hockey. Right? And what's the harm in sitting in this empty stool? And, well, shoot, there's a commercial. Hey, it's only one dollar.

I was down to $.20 when I finally could spin the wheel, and the magic 1000 came up. So here I am, $50 richer.

With a light heart and heavy wallet, I strutted back to my friends - you know, the ones playing (-snicker-) Keno? I figured I'd get some good gloating in. One of them won $300.

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