On the evening of my husband’s birthday, his parents decided to give me the real “American experience” in the form of a visit to the local Casino. This was a huge edifice located 6 or so miles out of town, past two Indian reservations that are considered (I was told) “sovereign nations” with their own rules & regulations.
Inspite of it being only a Thursday, Harrah*s had it’s parking space, every nuke and corner, filled with cars numbering in thousands. The restaurants were filled to the brim, with every machine and table occupied by men and women (mostly overweight women in their 40-50’s who appear to have gotten out of their bed in the clothes they were wearing, holding on to their bags for dear life and hitting the machine with the obsessive concentration of the addicted) exchanging money for luck.
After an expensive dinner of shrimp, lobster and everything the sea has to offer; we walked over to where all the action was taking place. Me, as a tourist; everyone else to see where they are likely to hit the jackpot. There we met two childhood friends of my husband’s who got into all sorts of trouble with him when they were kids. They haven’t seen each other for some time and were swapping developments. One of these young men has been to prison on a DUI charge until of late. After clearing that charge, he said, he plans to go to school and study (what else?) nursing. The other young man has neither been to jail, nor driven while drunk. He hasn’t so much as got involved into the various gang fights his childhood friends freely indulged themselves in back in the 80’s. He’s been a serious young man all his life: working upto 16 hours a day, three jobs @ a time, and putting himself through a 3-year nursing school. The only substance he abused seem to be expensive sports foot-wear. Gambling, he took with a bit of salt. He plays, he said, only when he’s invited by someone. That’s when his karma smiles at him. Unless he’s invited by someone, he’s bound to lose. And since he has his eyes on the big prize, namely one million dollar, and is looking for a job right then, losing isn’t an option.
I’ve been told how superstitious gambling can make you. So this part of his conversation didn’t surprise me one bit. It’s the next part that made me stop and wonder how a person who has been through so much can learn so little about life. “When I got a job,” he continued excitedly, “I will bet even more. That’s what I wanna get a job for. So I could bet more and more–until I won the million dollar prize. After that..” here his voice became dreamy.
While discussing what he called “American Narcissism”, looking into a mirror every now and then and appearing absorbed in his looks, Stephen Colbert defended the term “Narcissism” as something that is the foundation of America’s prosperity. He even went so far as saying “We need ambition, self-confidence and extreme good looks to rebuild America”. The dictionary meaning of Narcissism, however, shows Narcissism is no laughing matter. It’s a disorder that’s synonym with: vanity, conceit, egotism and being indifferent to the plight of others.
Now this maybe one country full of ambitious people who work hard to attain their piece of “the American dream”. But they are also the type of people who go out shotting everybody they met if and when something goes wrong [to that dream]. It’s a country where your life can be sacrificed over a spilled milk. Where a man goes to his wife’s work place and kills half the residents just to get back at her. Where a teenage boy cuts up his younger kins with a cake-knife just because he exchanged rough words with the birthday girl. Where an immigrant goes on a shooting spree and kills 14 people just because somebody made fun of his stupid English. The cruelty is so astonishing that Americans seem to no longer need terrorists in flying saucers to do them harm. Why climb the mountains of Tora Bora to look for those wishing you ill when your neighbour could go waco on your behind any minute, right?! The scariest part: he doesn’t even have to be the “typical” Caucasian male, 18-32 years old, who likes to dress as a clown at children’s partes. It can be the Mexican guy who took your order at Taco’s Buttitos. The black man who reminds you of your favorite rapper. Or the Vietnamese dude with the weird accent.
So.. yes.. I’ve decided to start my own not-reality-actuality show the minute I got a sponsor. The show would be entitled something like “Educating the Ingrate”, whereby I’d fly every “troubled” young American to the poorest of nations and give him a hard-lesson on how the other half lives, or serve him a spicy foot up the ass.
Until I’ve secured my Social Security #, though, I will do what I can do best: hit the machines and pray I win my $20 back.
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