After School Special: Booze Lotto Parenting

World's greatest mom.

World’s greatest mom.

Sure, you love kids, so you gleefully punched out one, two or even octo-quantities of them. (Hint: Almost as many as a nine-round ammo clip.) But then, like a baby chick a few days after Easter Sunday, they stick around and are always underfoot, demanding attention and care.

What then?

It’s not like you can make a chicken-and-egg scrambled omelet with them and viola! Problem deliciously solved! (Although an amazing number of parents do find a way to carry out filicide but that’s decidedly outside the scope of this post.)

Like the vast majority of my blog posts, it all started when I decided to set foot out of my house…

Looking for some dinner my wife and I drove into the parking lot of the divey Chinese restaurant. The lot was amazingly full. What gives? The food must be awesome here, eh?

But when we walked into the dining area, only two tables were occupied. Huh?

That’s when I slapped my head and yelled, “D’oh!” I almost forgot I live in Oregon. That’s where they have a state-run lottery and run a continuous stream of commercials urging the citizenry to go out and gamble because doing so accomplishes “good things.” (Like increasing revenue into state coffers.)

Sure, they simultaneously run anti-gambling ads but that’s only because they like a mixed-up, dazed and confused populace. Let’s blast ’em with a hot mix of pro-gambling and anti-gambling messages … at the same time, they seem to be saying whilst rubbing their hands together in glee. That’ll learn ’em a lesson!

Indeed. What’s not good for the individual is apparently good for the state.

Anyway, after enjoying these profound thoughts, I looked for the location of the state-sponsored gambling machines. These modern marvels bring a little piece of Las Vegas to your very own neighborhood. They are as close as the nearest bar! No alcohol-worthy establishment wants to miss out on this piece of the American Oregon dream.

Ah, there’s the lounge, I thought, spotting an open door that revealed a mysterious and beckoning world of trashy music, overly-boisterous laughter, lots of TVs broadcasting sporting events and, of course, the magical twinkling lights of gambling machines.

That’s where real action was! Me? I’m just an idiot. I thought the word “restaurant” out on the monument sign actually meant something. Obviously the dining section is frontin’ for the alcohol and gambling empire.

After we ordered and had our drinks we were able to look around a bit. One of the other tables in the restaurant was occupied by an obnoxious party of five. These were the “hey-look-at-us!” people. You know the type. They talked loud, laughed loud in that we-know-you-can-hear-us kind of a way. Totally obnoxious. Ugh. And I was hoping to consume food here?

A man was gesticulating wildly with a hand that clutched a bottle of beer in a Krav Maga death grip. He was up and down in his seat every few seconds. Then he’d scurry across the restaurant in front of us and run out the door, a process he repeated several times. What a loon.

The only other occupied table, however, was much more thought provoking. At it sat a lone diner, a young girl we estimated to be 12-14 years of age. She looked bored. She was surrounded by empty dishes. She was obviously done with her meal. Idly she fiddled with her sole companion, the ever-present glowing handheld phone of smarts.

I quickly theorized that she must have been waiting on an adult in the lounge. We were witnessing modern day babysitting in action!

My hunch was soon confirmed. The girl hauled herself to her feet and shuffled until her progress was halted by the lounge doorway, obviously protected by an invisible force field of decency. I heard her whine something, I couldn’t make out the words, to the vibrant, radiant person of light sitting at the nearest so-called “Video Lottery” machine that featured “play” like: Da Vinci Diamonds Poker, Shinobi, Hot Roll Poker, Big Easy Poker, Flush Bonus Poker and many, many more.

Did you catch my wee little bit of fun sarcasm there? I called the woman a “person.” Hee hee. I have no idea if she was the mom, a family member or some other form of “supervision.” But I do know this: She never left that machine’s side. Some things are important, you know?

The miserable thing grunted something in response to the young girl, who then shuffled aimlessly back to her assigned seat, her thumbs resuming their dance on the little electronic screen that suffices for interaction and companionship these days.

This process repeated about every five minutes. The girl was there, by herself, bored when we arrived. This continued through our entire meal. And, needless to say, there was no end in sight when we finally fled the scene.

As a well-trained journalist, I wanted to stop on our way out and ask the girl her age, but my wife admonished me not to go there, saying, “That would be creepy.” So much for the highest journalist standards of accuracy here in the Abyss.

I wisely decided not to pursue the matter further and press my luck. That would have required going back and exploring that Hell-hole of a lounge where some residue of humanity had already gone to hide under a bush and die…


gambling-parentsWhile researching for this post, I found the following story:

In April 2014, a “mom” and “dad” (sarcastic air quotes added) reportedly visited an Indian Casino after midnight with their “weeks old” infant child in tow.

Mom reportedly held the baby stroller with one hand while running a slot machine with the other.

The maneuver was reportedly made possible (and legal) by an imaginary line on the floor that separated the “gambling complex” from a corridor. There was no barrier, however, that prevented the omnipresent and noxious clouds of cigarette smoke found in casinos from reaching the newborn.

After gathering the scorn of other gamblers in the vicinity, the woman was finally confronted and reportedly responded, “This is a resort!”

The casino employees were reportedly left with little action they could take. I’ll bet they could have exercised their right to refuse service but that might have cost them a few credits of “action.”

Note: I used the word “reportedly” a lot. That’s what happens when I paraphrase the news.

Tom’s Law #42

Parents: Absolutely the worst possible people to have children.

4 responses

  1. State sponsored gambling is sort of an interesting thing, isn’t it? We’ve had long (winded) conversations about it over time, with one of my favorite colleagues saying that it was unethical because “the people” were too stupid to know that they were being taken.

    This may be true, but isn’t the very heart of capitalism separating a schmuck from his buck?


  2. This story makes me soooo sad which I know is the mission of your blog. Well done, Sir Abyss, well done.


    1. Thanks for the laugh! I know this is cliche, but I was drinking when I read it. So you win.

      Yes, sadly, sad is what makes me sad about when I sadly go out and see things that are sad. It’s my sad duty to have to sadly report what I see with these sad eyes.


  3. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    Ugh. Gross. Sad. What a depressing world to grow up in. I need to stop watching “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Donna Reed Show.” They’re skewing my sense of reality.


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