I never win anything; if I’d bet on the tortoise, the hare would have won. People hate to go to the race track with me. When I place a bet on a sure-fire winner, guaranteed to pay off, the horse comes up lame in the stretch.When I go to Vegas, I take in all the shows, because there’s this cloud that descends every time I get near the gaming tables. Worse, whatever spell affects me also spreads to those nearest me.
You can imagine, then, my surprise when once on a trip to Vegas, I hit the jackpot. I mean, literally hit it.I was there for a week on business, and throughout my stay, I walked in a wide circle to avoid the slot machines near the elevators in my hotel’s lobby. I didn’t want to queer the luck of the little old blue-haired ladies who seemed to be attached to the levers. My colleagues and I – and they spent all of their free time losing money at Blackjack and other games of chance – were catching the redeye to Washington from the Vegas airport.
Going through security, discovered I had four quarters in my pocket; probably change from a visit to Burger King. Now, if you’ve ever been in Vegas, you know; they have slot machines everywhere. There was a bank of the monsters just opposite our departure gate. Jack, a colleague who’d traveled with me, started egging me to shoot the works, and try my luck at the slots. After all, he reasoned, you’ll only be losing a dollar.
I threw caution to the wind and changed my coins for a dollar token. I fed it into the nearest machine, but then caution took hold, and I pushed the button to bet only a quarter. I then pressed the button for spin, thinking, I’ll do this three more times, and at least I won’t have change rattling around in my pocket.The machine whirred and clicked and flashed and – no, I thought, that can’t be true; then it started a wailing that drew attention from all over the departure area. I’d hit the big jackpot.
I don’t remember now if it was stars or flags, or what, but there on the screen were three of them, all perfectly aligned, and the light on top of the machine was blinking like a cop car at a traffic stop. I’d just won a thousand bucks. It said so right there on the little screen; “credit: $1,000.75.”Now, most people, when this happens, keep trying to see if they can increase their win. Not me; no, I pushed the cash in button, took my payout slip to the cashier and collected my money. I bought a pack of gum with the seventy-five cents and put the bills in my wallet.
I haven’t been near a slot machine since. I figure the gods who jinx me were looking in another direction that night, and are just waiting for me to try again, so they can make up for their inattention.
Causes Charles Ray Supports
The Nature Conservancy
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial