Gambling: Adult Hobbies I Wish I had Part 8

This is the eighth post in a series about exploring hobbies that I don’t have, but I wish I did:

Michigan is a unique state in that the majority of the people who live here stay here for vacation.

When I lived in California – a gigantic state by any comparison – people would often drive to Mead Lake or Vegas or the Grand Canyon for vacation.  People in Tennessee usually go to one of the eight states bordering it.  People in Florida usually travel back to where they’re from (because no one is actually from Florida).  But in Michigan, people usually just visit another part of Michigan.

(As a side-note, this is why I don’t agree with the current “Pure Michigan” campaign from the tourism board where we advertise to ourselves that we should seriously consider staying here if we ever get some time off from our minimum wage jobs.)

We don’t go anywhere because we’re sort of forced to.  Unlike Tennessee, we’re not bordered by eight different places; we’re bordered by water.  Everywhere.  It’s like living in Hawaii, but with more white people and more hill people.  It’s because of this isolation that I wish I gambled.

Each of the dots represents a gambling establishment. Each of the letters represents a casino/resort. Click to enlarge.

We have casinos everywhere in Michigan.  Living in the Lansing area means that I live equidistant to all of them.  Any one of them offers me a chance to spend a weekend breathing the freshest oxygen I’ve ever inhaled.  Any one of them offers me a chance to get a free hotel room if only I gamble $100 every hour I’m there.  I’m able to see shows, eat at buffets, and drink free drinks ‘til the Glutton says, “You’ve had quite enough.”

But that’s not me.

I could say I don’t like gambling because I’m a bit too frugal for that (same reason I never tried drugs or got any tattoos or piercings) and I could say it’s because I’m too middle class to really enjoy it (same reason I’m not into camping or cars).  But that’s not it.  It’s because, frankly, I don’t see the fun in gambling.

I understand the logic of it – to get something for practically nothing – but I also know numbers.  And the numbers say you will NEVER get something for practically nothing.  Also, the anticipation makes me uncomfortable.  I’ve literally spent $5 of my own money in a casino, and the entire time I was gambling I just kept thinking of all the other things I could be doing with this money.  I never once thought about the rush or the excitement.  I just kept thinking about what I’m actually buying here.

In a casino, you don’t really buy anything.  What you’re doing is spending money in the hope that you will somehow defy the odds and buy more money.  To me, it’s like paying for car insurance (give a company a bunch of money in the off chance that I will someday ask for some of that money back), and I don’t like paying for car insurance.

This outlook is probably why my fondest memory of Las Vegas is the Coke Store.


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