I’m a vice guy

As you may recall, I turned 21 almost three months ago…I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t use my newly-acquired, ahem, maturity for anything but good…Since turning 21, I rarely drink, I haven’t yet been to a 21 show, and have only played in a casino twice…oh, and I’ve only been carded twice, and both of those places card everyone that comes in the door…over the past few years, as I’ve become a more avid concertgoer, my parents often contacted otherwise 21 venues to ask if it’s okay for me to go to a show if they are there with me…most venues were okay with that, so going to more shows won’t be too much of a big change now that I am ‘of age’…similarly, making the transition to being an active participant in a casino isn’t too foreign to me, either…

Since I was born, I have spent a good part of my days in a place of debauchery that is within reasonable driving distance from Philadelphia: Atlantic City…more specifically, I’ve spent a lot of time in Ventnor, which, if you remember your Monopoly board, is right next to Atlantic City proper…my grandparents have an apartment right on the boardwalk that mostly served as a summer retreat during my childhood years, but my fondest memories of being in Atlantic City took place on New Years Eve each year…As I was usually on Winter Break from school, my parents and grandparents would spend several days at the apartment, sometimes taking a Jitney to the Atlantic City attractions…for Mom and me, this meant heading for Playcade, a boardwalk arcade located between Caesars Palace and Trump Plaza…Playcade was a loud place full of flashing lights and a wide, if not cutting edge assortment of games…Mom and I befriended the manager and attendants, and accumulated an uncanny amount of tickets that were probably redeemed for some questionable choice of a prize (I only have myself to blame)…

The main event for New Years was held at Tropicana, then known as Trop World…because it had an arcade/family entertainment area of its own (the legendary and often creepy Tivoli Pier), it was a popular choice for those visiting with children…also, I think that we got a lot of stuff comp’d thanks to my family, the gamblers…anyway, the world of Atlantic City and the casino were always a big part of my life, though as I grew older, I spent less and less time at our place ‘down the shore,’ as we say…Sure, I’ve been to Las Vegas three times, but Atlantic City has an air of familiarity to me, and I’m happy that I can now walk around on a casino floor without being told to move along…

I have an aunt and uncle who live about 20 minutes outside of Atlantic City…my parents and I would visit them from time to time, but the nearly 2 hour travel time mostly held us back from more frequent visits…however, now that my aunt and uncle have a newborn baby-child, the visits to their place (and to the casinos) have been far more regular…the first time I played in a casino, I mostly stuck to penny video slots, which I found to be rather boring…I wasn’t interested in table games (which I find to be very nerve-racking), and the higher-stakes slots would just have me losing and leaving a lot quicker…naturally, I lost the money that I had…it was about $50 or so, but most (if not all) of it was gift money for “The Boy’s First Casino Visit”…I left depressed, both because I lost and because the cocktail waitress didn’t come around to where I was until I was leaving…

When I heard that my grandparents were spending this past weekend at the apartment and going to see Don Rickles at Tropicana, I wanted in…it turned into a good old-fashioned family values outing, with the five of us (my grandparents, my parents and I) taking on the casino as a team…the area of Tropicana that had once served as an attraction for family visitors has since been transformed into the most Vegas-y shopping and dining district in Atlantic City…as I signed up for the rewards program, I felt an odd feeling of completeness…here’s how my gambling turned out:

  • I walk in with a mere $5 in my wallet (parking for the Electric Factory the night before wasn’t exactly cheap)…Dad gives me $20, Zayde gives me $20 (begin here)
  • I blow $10 and change at a nickel slot…I learn to not trust slots with physical reels (-$10)
  • I play a fishing-themed video slot, playing between 20˘ and $1 per ‘pull’…I end up hitting a few bonus rounds, including a high-level bonus round, and end up winning about $60 on top of winning back what I lost before (+$60)
  • Dad, Zayde and I go to see Rickles, who was pretty hilarious…we weren’t sure if he was funny because he was actually funny, or if he was funny because he was totally Rickles…
  • After the show, I sit down at a very well-themed Indiana Jones video slot, that has video clips with the different characters…I started with $5, got up to around $9, but began to hit a dry spell…as I got down to my last 5˘, I somehow triggered a bonus round and won a second-level progressive jackpot that hit for about $35, and got 10 free spins that added around $10 more…

In the end, I came out around $110 up, and still no cocktail waitress until we were leaving (and she was offering coffee…coffee!!)…I’m thinking of putting some of that to good use by supporting WFMU in their fund drive, and getting a t-shirt…I’m such a good person…

So no, I’m not really turning into a jetset, nor to I intend on making a profession out of gambling…I’m just happy that I can do more than I could before…I’ve always been very good friends with people who are older than I am, and only recently could I join them on excursions to more, um, grown-up places…as for the casinos, I’m sure they’re saying the same thing about me that was once said about Rickles:

Keep firing

“Where are you, Jew?”…

E.

Lyric of the Time:
I relied heavily on Styx and Stones
Not so much Styx once I heard the Ramones
I got a job at Anna Gramma Loans
We worked the other 9 to 5

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~ by E. on November 13, 2008.

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