You know that Mohegan Sun commercial where this guy named Melvin wants to order tiramisu at dinner but his wife won’t let him?
"Melvin came here to have some fun, not count calories," he says. "Melvin's stomach says bring me some luscious tiramisu, so Melvin's stomach should get some luscious tiramisu ... Who made Rita's stomach president of Melvin's stomach?"
Gladys wants Melvin to go home, get on the treadmill and send his money to Darfur. And for pity’s sake, stop mowing the lawn without a shirt.
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun raked in over $1.7 Billion on slots alone last year. And they’re growing. Glenn Marshall wants his casino to be the biggest in the world, so who knows how many zillions could eventually be involved.
So… how much did the Tribe magnanimously offer to assist in the rehabilitation of all the addicts they’ll generate with this Taj Mahal of avarice? What sobering amount of monetary mitigation did altruistic Middleboro selectman Adam Bond deftly negotiate for that long line citizens who will fall prey to the call of the dice, not just in the next decade, but for generations after he and I are dead and buried? The ones who’ll lose their mortgage payments, their houses, their families, even their lives because a gambling casino five seconds away is going to prove too difficult to ignore? Too easy to ‘chase’ – a term used by gamblers to describe running back to a casino again and again because, having won once, they just know 'this one’s the charm.'
If I might appear to be somewhat overboard on this subject to some of my readers, if I’m not seeing the wonder of it all, like I’m supposed to, please understand, there is a tombstone in the Nemasket Cemetery with the name of a guy I’d went to high school with. There’s another one there belonging to the brother-in-law of the girl I grew up next door to in Middleboro. They died in the same year. The same year a popular Bridgewater teacher died too, and my nephew’s uncle – another Middleboro lifer. They’re all dead because they committed suicide as a result of gambling addiction.
Four men, two towns, one year. Brothers. Sons. Neighbors. Friends. This ain’t some fairy tale.
And so… what amount of money in this supposedly lucrative agreement was agreed on jointly as a sufficient sum to cover the consequences of a ground-zero gambling establishment?
If you still haven’t been convinced that Middleboro officials weren’t living in the real world already, then that insane figure, the yearly amount to “mitigate” gambling addiction problems in the event a casino opens it's doors, should be just the dope slap you need.
Listen, I’ll fess up. Gladys is not a gambler. I have no lucky aura following me around on life’s journey. This year I got a scratch ticket for Christmas and for the first time in my life, I won big! Twenty-bucks! Whoo-hoo!
And, while I was still reeling with joy at this unexpected windfall, I turned my back for a moment, only to discover that while I had, my son had innocently offered to ‘help me out’ by scratching off that one bit at the bottom I hadn’t gotten to.
Toil, not fortune, is Gladys’s lot in life. No getting around it.
So no. I don’t get what people see in gambling. But I’m not going to pretend that a large number of people, including friends and family members, find gambling enjoyable. That doesn’t mean I have any intention of lavishing profuse blogspace to the “OKness” of this phenomenon. The figures speak for themselves. Still, the only difference I see between myself and a gambling addict is that I’ve accepted that I’m never going to hit the jackpot by stuffing quarters in a slot machine. And so I can walk away - but they can’t. That’s why I’m truly the lucky one.
But there were days, in my twenties, when I’d count the pocket change I had left at the end of the work week, walk to the convenience store, and invest in my future with the clever purchase of some quick picks. Why it never failed not to pan out, I can't understand.
It does work for some. And that’s what keeps them and less fortunate others coming back. Like my classmate in the cemetery.
One of my husband’s co-workers said it best. She loves to go to Foxwoods - but she’s sill glad it’s a two hour drive. She knows herself too well.
It’s clear that the State of Massachusetts, and therefore taxpayers like you and I will have to foot the bill for the social consequences of a casino in Middleboro. I keep hearing that the Tribe wants to be good neighbors, but the more I study the latest agreement, it seems like they want to borrow a cup of sugar, and then make us pay for it.
So, if you really feel compelled, over the summer, to drop some quarters, my son has a lemonade stand. He sends his profits to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Can't lose there. Not to mention that the $1.7 billion a year people lose in Connecticut casinos could cure a lot of cancer.