Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Not the Riches You Measure, But How You Measure Riches

We got trouble, my friends, right there. I say trouble, right there in River City. Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "C" and that stands for card!

Upon arrival, Hick and I hightailed it to the customer service desk at the casino. We had to get a player's card, you see. We ain't about to throw away our hard-earned cash without being tracked. No sirree, Bob! Oh, how I long for the olden days at Harrah's. They gave you one of those little telephone-cord stretchy thingies for your player's card. That made it harder for you to forget your card in a machine, that little tether that came in assorted colors. It was fun to swing that card around on it, too. And you know what? They'd give you another one if you said you lost yours! For free!

River City hands you a naked card. No tether. How low-rent is THAT? I'm sure they're doing it to save the environment. Less petroleum products needed to manufacture those plastic card-leashes. That's gotta be it. River City. Saving the planet one stretchy tether at a time.

I snatched my card and elbowed my way through the crowd to a three-reel quarter machine. None of that fancy video garbage for me. Val gambles old-style. She'd feed that machine tokens if River City hadn't gone green and stopped mining minerals and concentrated on de-foresting the landscape for tickets instead. Trees. A renewable resource. tokens means no plastic cups to jangle them in. Another million barrels of petroleum saved. By Val alone. With the help of River City.

Technically, there was no crowd. It was 9:00 on a Saturday morning. Which is not to say there was a lack of drinking and smoking. I sat a spell at two different slots. Then it happened. MY CARD WOULD NOT BE RECOGNIZED! It was like the Taiwan of slot cards. Every time I put it in, the machine told me, "Reinsert player card." So I did. And it told me again. So I did. And it told me again...This was fast becoming the most unproductive money-losing trip ever.

I tried five different machines. Same result. I rubbed the card on my shirt. I inserted it fast. In inserted it slow. No dice. If that one-armed moneysucker had a hand, and that hand had fingers, I know which one he would have been flipping me. I smelled a conspiracy. Oops! That was just smoke from the cooler the casino boss had sent to sit next to me wherever I played, chimneying it up like the gaming floor was one big smokeless ashtray. I was sure each slot machine that would not let me play was a winner. Never mind that I could have played without my card. I wanted my losses tracked, by cracky!

I stumbled upon Hick, happy as a pig in a BARn being held against his will until sausage could be made of him. He said his card did the same thing, but he just put it in slowly and it was accepted. Yeah. That's what HE said. A casino worker came by. I told him I was having a problem with my card. Well. Since I must be the liar lady Penelope from SNL as portrayed by Kristen Wiig, he told me to insert the card while he was watching. C'mon. You can't tell me the security people weren't guffawing as I went from machine to machine, like Tom Chaney in True Grit trying to catch a ride to Ma's riding double on somebody else's horse.

The message window said, "Reinsert player card." Nyah, nyah, aging little man in a red vest patrolling quarter slots in River City. Don't make me into that hypochondriac who had "I TOLD you I was sick!" engraved on her tombstone. He told me to try again. Like that thought had never occurred to me. Finally, he took my card and WIPED HIS THUMB ACROSS THE MAGNETIC STRIP. "Now try it." Of course the darn thing worked. That one time. Thumbkin was gone faster than the Road Runner from an ACME catastrophe. When I tried to insert my card in a slot I actually wanted to play, I again got the reinsert message. Apparently, River City hires folks with magical thumbs. My thumb is no Digit Copperfield. If I had written a song about my trials, it would have been called Six Steps Back and One Step Forward. When I found a machine that would take my card, I glommed onto it like a wad of Bubblicious onto the unkempt tresses of a toddler just risen from her naptime cot.

Val was not a monetary winner. But she emerged from River City much the richer.


  1. Dontcha just wish there were less learning experiences and more fun in life? One of the worst kind of snafoos is the kind that some fixit person can come by and not find a problem. I HATE that.

  2. Herein lies your problem: you didn't lick your thumb, and you let those one armed bandits lick you. Better luck next time. I miss those jingle janle buckets of quarters, err okay pennies.

  3. Leenie,
    I SO wanted to say to him, "I already tried that." Because I did. After rubbing that card on my shirt, I tried my thumb, too. It was SUCH a coincidence that it worked after he did that. Or maybe my thumbs are just freakishly dry and inhuman. My cell phone often ignores my touch as well.

    Oh, no! LICK MY THUMB after touching those slot machines? Are you trying to kill me? That advice is an even less-traceable murder weapon than everybody's dream weapon...the icicle.

  4. This is why I don't gamble. My thumbs are not magical. Nor are my quarters. Or cards, or dice....

  5. Tammy,
    Yes. We KNOW which part of you is magical.