I pulled the handle of the slot machine that is in my mind and came up with nothing. Slot machines (so I read) were designed to keep the molls busy while the Las Vegas barons plotted their machinations.  The notion of sitting for hours in front of a slot machine and pulling a lever and feeding it coins sounds terribly tedious.  On the other hand I find it amusing to watch people playing slot machines.  This is infinitely cheaper as entertainment.

Thems who play slots (is there a proper term for this sort of person?) seem to be mostly elderly women, most of them smokers. There are a few with walkers and (oh dear!) oxygen machines.  I would think the last place on earth to be if you have COPD is a smoke-filled casino. These ancient vestals often sit 2-3 chairs away from each other. At first I thought this a Midwestern thing for personal space but I learned it is because most of them are playing 2-3 machines at a time: the one in front of her and the ones on each side. “That’s my machine” they say menacingly in a hoarse basso voice as I try to sit down next to them.


Gambling is based on the psychology of intermittent positive reinforcement stimulating a release of dopamine in the brain. This works  well for most. I have a neurotic sensation someone in the surveillance department is laughing as I lose; this overrides my enjoyment of gambling and dampers the dopamine like a dead rat. My WASP upbringing still thinks gambling a vice something to avoid, like loose women, cards, social dancing, and reading Balzac.

Sometimes when Someone is gambling I buy a drink and sit and survey the surroundings. My favorite location is near the ATM which some play as often as the slot machines and with about as much payoff. I shouldn’t be entertained by someone with a gambling problem depleting his bank account for his habit, but there it is.

I am still waiting for the slot machine that is my mind it “pay off”. What I wait for is some fabulous erudite topic to come tumbling out upon which I can write a post worthy of a Mahler symphony. So far no such luck.  Perhaps I should move to a different machine or take up smoking.