I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You . . .

After many years of purposefully not supporting Minnesota casinos, I visited one this past weekend. Bill Cosby performed at a casino here in northern Minnesota. My brother had free tickets to the show, so we were off on a short road trip for some good healthy laughs. It was a very enjoyable evening and the laughs were warm and genuine. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” and “what did you learn from doing that” (because we usually do whatever it was we were warned about anyway) were Bill Cosby’s repeated themes as he discussed the differences in parenting tactics between fathers, mothers and grandparents during his show.

On the drive home, I realized that even as an adult, his “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” warning echoed through my entire evening. Instead of a parent telling me “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” it was my little voice warning me. Think about it … once you walk in the door of a casino, you are in a psychological netherworld. Many people shut out their little voice telling them “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” the minute they walk in the door. And, I was one of them this past weekend.

It started immediately upon nearing the door to the casino where I could smell (and remembered one of the reasons I stayed away from them) that sickening cigarette smoke. The clouds of old and new smoke hit my lungs and my little voice started in … “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you”. But, I answered back … “it is only for a few hours” and jokingly .. “maybe they sell gas masks?”

Once in the door, we headed to the line at the member’s booth where they were giving everyone $5 of casino credit who had a ticket to see Bill Cosby. Hitch .. you needed to sign up for free casino membership. With the snap of your fingers you are a Casino Card carrier. As we waited in line I had another discussion with my little voice which is once again saying … “I wouldn’t do this if I were you”. If you have not been in a casino lately, plastic tubs of coins have been replaced by membership cards that track your every bet. Even though that seems to be a violation of my privacy rights, I did not listen to my little voice and I signed up, giving them personal information to have my gambling privacy violated for a few free dollars to gamble with. My argument back to my little voice … “I also have a newspaper coupon for $5, we have an hour before the show … what harm is there in gambling with $10 the casino is giving me for free?” Obviously, it was only monetarily free … but I rationalized it as not a big deal.

After getting the card, hitch number two popped up. The free money had to be played in only specially marked machines … my little voice is again saying “I told you so”. They are “special machines” that will not pay out. Do you really think that the casino is going to just give away over $5000 plus winnings tonight to everyone who has tickets to the show?

(ignoring my little voice because it is too late) I found an empty “special machine” and with a little help from the lady sitting next to me I figured out how to use the new cards, paper receipts, and coupons that have replaced the plastic tubs of coins and the slot that made them slot machines. Assuming there was no chance to walk away with money, I bet big … well, as big as you can on a penny machine. My little voice saying “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” with me answering back .. “It is not my money, who cares.” … my little voice was silenced when I won. Yes, I actually won. I have never walked out of a casino with more than I went in with … except for that night. Within 10 minutes, I changed my $10 of free credits into $77 on a penny machine. This is when I did listen to my little voice and I cashed out …

The second half of the lesson comes after you do what you have been warned not to do. In Bill Cosby’s words “what did I learn from this experience?” As a kid, something bad usually happens when you ignore the warning and you end up learning some hard lessons that you will never forget. As for me, going against my little voices warnings was extremely minor and I came out ahead … so what did I learn? For one thing, sometimes the only way to have fun is by telling your little voice to be quiet because it is being a boring, old, stick in the mud …

We had a long ride home and I was happy with how things turned out for us this time. However, my opinions were not changed. Casinos are still physically and mentally unhealthy places to spend long lengths of time at. However, if you go in knowing that, set time and money limits, have an “I don’t care if I lose my $10 it is just for fun” attitude … you can be entertained and have some harmless fun … But, always listen to your little voice when it comes to the big things and it is carefully warning you “I wouldn’t do that if I were you”.

In a bet there is a fool and a thief. ~Proverb

By gaming we lose both our time and treasure – two things most precious to the life of man. ~Owen Felltham

~ by bearyweather on August 12, 2010.

4 Responses to “I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You . . .”

  1. I love Bill Cosby! 🙂 He always makes me laugh.
    I think the “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” must be a classic, for my mother used that on me when I was a kid- and I always did it anyway 🙂 That’s how I got “to learn” from all those experiences, trial and error hehe!

  2. Great post! I have never been to a casino! We are going to Vegas later this year for a conference, and I probably still won’t gamble…I don’t know, maybe. anyway, I love Bill Cosby…he always has me laughing so hard I am snorting!

    • The only time I was ever in Vegas was when I was about 10 years old, so I never gambled there. Go ahead … indulge a few dollars in a bet … there is an element of fun. I hope there are some great shows for you to go to as well … maybe Bill Cosby will be visiting!

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