I don’t know how but I left the casino Saturday night with fewer Andrew Jackson adorned bills in my pocket and missing my long run. However, my mortgage, car payment and wedding ring are still with me so, at least, all was not lost.
Mrs. Nitmos and I escaped to the cooler confines of northern Michigan this weekend with some friends * to enjoy time away from the kids, a warm, swirling hot tub, lots of drink, and gambling. Basically, all of the things we tell the kids NOT to do when they are within earshot.** Oh, the simple joys of eating a meal without drinks being spilled, forks clattering to the ground, looking at colored doodles on the kids menu, and escorting a bladder-challenged child to the restroom while your salmon cools at the table. Heaven, really.
My right ass muscle is refusing to relax ever since the Detroit Marathon four weeks ago. It’s not preventing me from running. It’s just sore enough where I spend the first mile of each run silently threatening it with a foam roller if it doesn’t get back on board soon. I’m hoping the heat and percolating bubbles from the hotel hot tub have done it some good. If not, then certainly the copious amount of rum consumed on the trip must have done something for it.
Saturday night, in a smoke filled, loud, and obnoxiously lighted casino, I tested my luck. My daughter’s medical bills from her seizure several weeks ago have just started to roll in. I did what any sane, pragmatic father in charge of a family budget would do. I tried to parlay the money from my meager paycheck into a fortune! I can win, I can win! I have a “system.”
An hour later, we emerged from the casino defeated. It didn’t take long to spit us out the door with our pockets turned inside out and our pride stripped off of us like Peter Pan’s shadow and tossed into a pile somewhere in a dark backroom. Let me tell you, friends, the casino has the odds in their favor. I did not know that. The billboards and glittery lights make it seem like they are just anxious to give their money away. Who knew? It’s almost as if the odds are stacked against you before you even walk in there. Hmmpf. Surprising.
We coasted back home Sunday on fumes. We managed to scrape just enough cash from the children’s wallets to buy a few necessities: a few gallons of gas and a six pack of beer for later.
I had every intention of hitting my Sunday long run. Penniless and no doubt still circulating the booze from the previous evening in my bloodstream, a nice long run in the cold, wet snowy weather still sounded good. Besides, the kids’ complaints about their “stolen” birthday money were getting real tiresome. It’s not like they didn’t get a ride home in the car too. And I already promised them the refund fee from the bottles of beer to split. What more do they want?
It was then that I noticed the desire for the long run was simply not there. It was gone. I had lost it at the casino. I must have wagered it that time when I had a 15 but needed to flip a 6 or less and busted with an 8. The casino has my long run. Along with my pride and money. It’s probably propped up in the same dark backroom next to someone else’s long cycle ride and another’s pool laps.
Maybe I’ll return with a future pay check and try to win it back.
Once I realized the long run was gone, I thought the best thing to do was to sow seeds of doubt now about the kids’ future college plans. I sat them down and explained to my colt and filly how money floats in and out of Daddy’s life and that you can never count on him having it when you most need it. I might need to pay bills. I might need to register for a race (and, of course, buy new running shoes.) I might try to compound their college fund in one evening of alcohol-soaked decisions made before the turn of a card. And they need to understand that sometimes Daddy will win. Sometime he’ll lose. In fact, usually, he’ll lose.
But he’ll lose more than your college fund. He’ll lose his long run too.
And this is just as fair for you as it is for him.
* I have some. Really. Well, okay, they might really be more of Mrs. Nitmos’ friends that tolerate me hanging around, I guess.
** Except murder. We didn’t do that. Unless you mean the way we killed the liquor. We killed that real good.