Today I was talking about gambling with a friend. I said, “Way too many people have ‘gambler’s syndrome.’” My friend asked, “What’s that?” “Well, if I’m hot, I can’t stop now. If I’m cold, the next roll of the dice will change my luck.” As I thought about that statement, suddenly I had a flashback to probably 10th grade. I suffered from “gambler’s syndrome.” But I prefer to just say, “The carney guy just snookered me.” Here’s the story.
The big annual event in Titonka, was Indian Days. What do you expect from a town whose name comes from the Sioux Indian language meaning “buffalo”? Certainly, we were not celebrating “cowboy days.” During those exciting days, the carnival would come to town and set up on main-street. At the time, I thought it was as big as the Iowa State Fair. Along with all the rides were those games of chance.
I had saved eight dollars to go to Algona to the races on Friday night. On Thursday night, walking down main-street and taking in all the sights with one of my friends, a carney guy called to us. “Three baseballs for a dollar. Knock over a cat and win this big Teddy Bear.” So, we drift over there and the carney guy shows us how easy it is to knock down a cat. He threw the ball three times and three cats laid on their backs. “See, you guys could be walking away with this green bear.” So my friend lays out a dollar. Three balls later all the cats were still standing. He laid out another dollar and another and still no Teddy Bear. “I quit,” said my friend. So it was my turn—so said the carney guy. To make a long story short, soon my eight dollars was gone. I was sick because now there was no money to go to the races.
I learned a valuable lesson that night about gambling. Now that I think about it, “Why did I need a Teddy Bear? I was in 10th grade, for heaven’s sake!”
So now, when some “hustler” calls me over, I keep my hands in my pockets and tell myself this. A fool and his money are soon parted! L
Love you all,
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