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    • #9544

      My life is full of gambling stories. Some are funny, some are sad, some other almost tragic. I enjoyed and was fascinated by many of your stories here and decided to share some of mine in a series of short stories. Here’s the first one:

      My gambling addiction goes back a couple of decades. I was 16 when I started playing slots (nobody bothered to check my age back then) and as soon as I turned 18 I started visiting casinos, playing roulette at first and then, later, black jack. I was completely addicted by my early twenties. Addicted to the point where I was late on my rent and had literally nothing to eat on many occasions. It was horrible and I sometimes resorted to actions that I never though I was capable of. Actions that I was often ashamed of. At one such occasion my rent was overdue and I asked a friend for a loan. There was no one else I could ask for help. I emigrated when I was 20 and was all on my own in a foreign country, with a bad, bad gambling addiction. He agreed to loan me money for my rent, but knowing of my gambling habit, he warned me not to gamble, but to pay my landlord immediately. I didn’t appreciate him telling me something that obvious. Of course I wasn’t going to gamble with that money! Why does he have to rub it in, I thought to myself. What an *******! Of course I was going to pay the rent. What was he thinking? That I would gamble away my rent money now that my rent is overdue? He just wants to rub it in, that’s all. Not the friendliest thing to do, but I have only myself to blame. Anyway, I was going to pay the landlord. Had somebody asked me what I thought the odds were of me stopping at the casino on my way home and losing all that money, I would have said less than 1 in 1000. And I really wasn’t gonna stop at the casino. No way was I going to do that. I knew I had to pay the rent and I knew that if didn’t the chances were I would end up on the street. Homeless. No, I wasn’t going to take that chance; I was going to go straight to the landlord and pay my rent.
      But then I realized something. My buddy loaned me 375 fl. (guilders, Dutch currency before introduction of the Euro) and my rent was only 360. He didn’t have change, so he gave me 3 hundred fl. bills, 1 fifty fl. bill and 1 twenty-five fl. bill.
      That extra 15 fl. opened a myriad of options for me, endless possibilities. Not only did I now have money to pay my rent, I also had 15 fl. above and beyond that. 15 fl. that I was going to parlay into something meaningful.  I was loving life. Not only was I not getting evicted, but with some luck I was going to have 50 or maybe even 100 fl extra and treat myself to something nice. Something I was long due, something that I deserved. Maybe a steak, french fries and some snacks for later. I had been eating crap for months. Blood rushed to my head. I was excited, ecstatic even, thinking of what I could do with 50 fl. And parlaying 15 to 50, although not likely, is possible. 1 in 3 odds. I can do it. I was due a break.
      And if I lose the 15 fl? Too bad, but I didn’t count on that money anyway. I knew there was no way was I going to lose more than 15. Worse comes to worse I’ll lose the 15, go home and pay the rent.
      After some consideration I decided to play a single hand of Black Jack first. I liked Black Jack and had just learned the basic strategy. I bet 10 fl. and was dealt 11 against the dealer’s 7. For those of you not familiar with Black Jack, having 11 against the dealer’s 7 is a fairly big advantage.  I was tempted to double down. Double down I did, adding another 10 fl. and I lost. Now I only had 355 fl left, meaning I was 5 fl short on my rent. Not the end of the world, I knew, the landlord would understand it and wait a couple of days for 5 fl. But, instead, I decided to chase the 5 fl. with 350 fl.
      Short story shorter, I lost it ALL.
      That was probably the worst night of my life. I knew I was going to get evicted. I walked home, a long, cold walk through rainy weather. I was happy it was cold and I was wishing it would rain harder. I wanted to be punished. I arrived home and I didn’t know what to do. I lied on my bed. I thought about my options and quickly realized I had none. I was so poor, I had no valuable belongings that I could sell, I couldn’t ask my friend for more money because he wouldn’t give it to me, I knew the landlord wouldn’t be too sympathetic and I had gotten fired from the restaurant I was working at, a week earlier.
      The near future looked grim. I was lying in my bed motionless, inspecting my surrounding. I was tired, but I was afraid to fall asleep. I was afraid to fall asleep for I knew it would be a night full of nightmares. I had been there before. But it was never this bad. I looked around me in desperation. My shabby belongings, my worn-out shoes, a few books, my walkman, a couple of t-shirts and underwear that I hung to dry. One object caught my attention though. A roll-on deodorant.
      Then, I don’t know how or why, an idea formed in my head. I don’t know where it came from or what led to it, but I suddenly found myself grabbing the deodorant (it was made of glass) and started banging my face. I hit myself hard, inspecting for bruises after every blow. No bruises appeared at first and I kept on banging my head with the deodorant bottle relentlessly. It hurt, but I deserved it. And besides, I wasn’t doing it to hurt or punish myself. I was doing it as a way out. A shameful and disgraceful way out, I knew; but still better than the alternative of becoming homeless.
      I stopped hitting myself after a few minutes and waited. My face turned first pink then blue. I overdid it. My entire face was swollen and looked terrible.
      I went to bed and fell asleep. I slept like a baby for I knew my problems would go away. At least for the time being they would.
      In the morning I saw the landlord and told him what happened. I was mugged by two guys in the park. And they robbed me. They robbed me of the rent money I was going to give him that day. He was very sympathetic and said he’d wait till I’m in a position to pay him. Told the same story to my friend and he loaned me another 375 fl a couple of days later. This time I made it home.
      It wasn’t until 20 years later that I told my friend what really happened that night. He and I have been through thick and thin together and he is the closes friend I have. Even so, I felt really uncomfortable coming clean about it. If you dine with the devil, bring a long spoon

    • #9545

      Boy to I feel that pain. Been there.. literally.. Thanks for posting. It reminded me of that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are desperate and know you have no way out and no one to blame but yourself. That horrible feeling of self loathing and desperation where ideas you never thought were possible pop into your head. I never want that feeling again. It cost me too much.
      Thanks again.
       I will make this work!

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