Buying fun with a few tokens … before marshaling restrain

Pa and Ma, if alive, would probably frown at this. I am joining a fundraising trip to Thunder Valley in early June. Thunder Valley is a casino close to Sacramento in California. To some, the word casino pipes a jaundiced, unsavory ring – that means gambling. I’m not a gambler, though I have experienced working the coin machine a few times, using just nickels and dimes — and many years ago when the casinos were a cacophony of tinkling coins, victory bells, screaming jackpot sirens, and the thud of sliding levers that pained the players’ stiffened arms. Well, this coming trip is worth $31, a fundraiser for my brother-in-law’s architects’ group in North CA. Not bad at all.

The cost includes a simple breakfast on the bus, a $12 coupon for an all-you-can-eat lunch, $20 worth of tokens for playing if desired, and of course, the round-trip bus transportation. Who can resist this offer? I didn’t, so I’m going with my sister and her husband and friends on this trip. Mind you, I’m not going to “gamble”. I’ll just “play my luck” with the $20 tokens. Is that OK?

If I explained that to my parents, if they were alive, they still wouldn’t understand, maybe. I’m going with family members and friends, I would argue. And when the tokens are all spent and gone (or lost), then I would stop playing. That’s a promise.

Now, let’s get real and be honest. My dream is to play small and win big. I daydream of coming home with huge winnings, maybe even, the jackpot. But this, with the $20 worth of tokens. Will I stop when that’s all gone? Please, someone, kick me if I don’t. There are other winnings, I’d console myself, like the all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. I could just while away the afternoon in the dining room, and leisurely munch on good stuff. (like crispy bacon). And that, in fact, is the plan of the ladies who resolve not to gamble – sit all afternoon, eat away and indulge in a dizzy whirl of social chats. To others that would be just as raunchy as gambling; or at least, the lesser of two evils.

So okay, I’m considering a wise strategy – parlay with all my tokens, then escape back to the dining room and join the chatting marathon while waiting for the regular “aficionados”. That sounds like a plan. There are no daytime shows there, so the options left for entertainment are food and, of course, the hodgepodge of stories from folks I hadn’t met before. I won’t complain. I’ll settle for this stratagem.

To stick to this disposition, best not to bring any money (except the tokens). No extra cash in the handbag, no hidden coins in the pocket … and no borrowing from a friend … promise …

I’ll let you know later, if someone kicked me.

Linda P. Jacob

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