by Jeff Costello, August 16, 2017
Here in Colorado, both marijuana and casino gambling are legal. I have no moral judgment on this, other than pot was more fun back when. Speaking of drugs, a clear 40 year-old memory sticks with me... Sitting in a Sausalito houseboat waiting to score some dope, and looking at the others waiting, I wanted badly to think, "I am not one of these people." Denial is a strong mechanism. Just ask Donald Trump.
Now, all these years later and having given up drugs, legal or not, I find myself going "up the hill" occasionally to Black Hawk, a small town at 8537 ft. some 40 miles west of Denver. If you see casinos in places like Las Vegas or Monte Carlo in the movies, the gamblers are all elegantly dressed and behaved. That's the movies. The reality of gambling establishments as I know them is something else altogether.
In a sense, here I am back in that houseboat, denying the fact that I am indeed "one of these people." At 71, it is a struggle to grow old gracefully, and many of the people in the casinos have have not done so. I can still still walk upright - and look where I'm going, two basic faculties that an alarming number of casino goers lack. I've never seen so many people in my basic age range hobbling around in walkers or being pushed in wheelchairs - often with oxygen tanks to help them breathe. Altitude may have something to do with this, I suppose. As a "low roller," it's great to go home with a hundred dollars more than I came with, and at least equally bad to leave with a hundred dollars less. This is justifiable if one realizes that people will pay more than that to go hear some rock band loud enough to make them temporarily deaf.
Add to this walking wounded scenario some basic rudeness, an inconsiderate "get out of my way" factor in so many of the general crowd, although there are some who know to behave in a civil manner even when occupied with a form of selfishness. As an old ex-navy poker shark friend said, "I feel bad when I win, but worse when I lose." Human behavior, an odd thing at best.