In the late 70’s, when Greg and Joey first discovered their peckers, and the wonder of ejaculation, I was making a few bucks in the home building business. A Junket Company got my name. They invited me to Vegas. It changed my life.
They paid my airfare. They arranged a free room. I got complimentary food, complimentary golf, and most important of all, a line of credit: $5,000.00.
Now, you might ask, “How did this change your life?” I’ll tell you how. I got to yell, “Marker!”
I was a big deal. I was greeted by the pit bosses as Mister M. I liked it. I liked it a lot. It was fun being Mister M, the guy at the table who yelled, “Marker,” then watched, in slow motion, as the pit boss brought forth a piece of paper to sign. All it took was the signature of Mister M. Voila…chips appeared. Best of all, the pit bosses put on this show in front of all the impressed eyes at the table.
It was intoxicating.
Here’s a little back-story, to give you perspective. I hadn’t been to Vegas since the mid 60’s, when my father-in-law took the family. My brother-in-law and I were both given $200.00 to use at the tables, with the promise not to use any of our own money for gambling. Remember, back then, I was an engineer at IBM. $50.00 was a week’s wages. I had more cash than I knew how to gamble with for the entire trip. I was set.
Or so I thought…
The first day, we both lost $200.00, all the money we brought with us, plus secret-money we begged off my mother-in-law. I spent the rest of the trip exploring Vegas with my brother-in-law and mooching free drinks at the pool.
Fast forward to the late 70’s.
Mister M is a Vegas Frequent Flyer, going on junkets, attending tennis tournaments at Caesar’s Palace, a big shot on New Years Eve. I loved it. I loved all of it. But nothing made me happier than yelling, “Marker!”
At home, I quietly paid down my Marker, slowly, keeping my losses from Babs. What a place for adult playtime. I had the life. I had it all. Then came the fatal trip.
A little too much drinking, a little too much Mister M-ing, and of course, way too much yelling, “Marker!!!!” Needless to say, I blew thousands, many thousands, a soul crushing amount of thousands. It stopped being fun. I was through being Mister M. I went back to being Frank.
The next time I went to Vegas was to meet with investors in the mid 80’s. I limited my betting to $5.00. Guess what? I walked away a winner. I learned my lesson. I learned all of the freebies were the opposite of free.
Last year, Babs took the family to Vegas for my 70th birthday. On the very first day, immediately after arriving, bags still unpacked, I found myself in the casino with my youngest son, Joey. We sat at the blackjack table. Him at one end…me at the other. I was betting my usual $5.00. I was content. Not sure why I decided to look over at Joey. I probably shouldn’t have. I definitely shouldn’t have.
On the table, my youngest son was already betting a pile of chips. More than a stack, it was a pile. I was in shock. How could he even think about putting that kind of money on the table?
Joey has never learned the key lesson. He will never learn the key lesson. Why? I’ll tell you why. My youngest son is like most folks, when it comes to their failures they take no humility, when it comes to success they look at it like a Kardashian.
Vegas taught me everything in life is a gamble; so only use Vegas for entertainment. I have to admit, when I was in Vegas with Joey, he had more good runs than bad runs. Unfortunately, what do you think he did? I’ll tell you what. He forgot all the bad runs.
One memory stands out…
It was my 70th birthday, so the new Mister M put a $25.00 chip on each Roulette Number until it added up to my age. He won. He won big. He gave me all the money. But Mister M wasn’t happy until I lost it all playing craps.
This year, Mister M’s luck hasn’t been so good, more bad runs than good runs. He’s on his way back to being Joey. But I doubt he’ll learn the lesson. Most folks don’t learn until they hit rock bottom. And the truth no one tells you is there is no rock bottom because you can always go deeper in the hole.
Anybody who was around in the fall of 2008 should have learned what happens to our economy under Republicans. Forget about the shrinking middle class, forget about the lost jobs, forget about TARP, forget about the war, forget about the 2nd war, forget about the casualties, forget about the staggering national debt, forget the surpluses left by the last Democrat in the White House, forget about how unsettling every single day felt when the world was on the brink of depression.
That’s right, I said depression. Forget the Kardashians. Remember how close we came to losing it all.
To be Brutal, to be Frank, we have more Joey’s in this great nation than we have Franks. This coming election should be a slam-dunk for President Obama, a man described by Admiral William McRaven, leader of the Special Ops Team responsible for taking down Bin Laden, as the smartest man in the room. But I’m willing to make a bet: thanks to all the Joey’s in the U S of A, this election will be close.
I’m only betting $5.00. “Marker!”