Chill winds in the City of Sin and how old people play slot machines

There is something about the way people play slot machines that will tell you a lot about them and about their life, not everything but a lot you know…..

When you see the older couple sitting together and they seem to know each other so well that even they argue they don’t pay much attention to each other it is what poker players call a tell.
One of them will start to become animated clearly upset about something and the other will simply turn their head as if counting then turn back right as the other finishes ranting not having listened to any of the other’s rant but knowing from long experience when they will be finished.
When you see this dynamic you know that they have been together a long time so long that they have no need to listen to know what their partner is saying.  Long enough to where they don’t really even listen to the other just turn toward them when they know the other is done talking.  When you see them playing slots together they will even punch buttons for each other and when the waitress ask them if they need a drink they order for each other and forget they did it by the time the drink gets there.
Others, mostly the older white guys and being a white guy on his way to being older  I am allowed to say that…white guy white guy, white guy… see no thunder bolts ..anyway these guys seem to be trying to force the slot machine to hit a jackpot,  to hit something by glaring at it like it was a poodle that had just peed  on the carpet.
Still others simply stare off into the distance not even looking at the slot machine as they press the buttons, like deer who know that running across the road in front of a large truck is stupid but just can’t help themselves and stare wide eyed into the headlights of the truck as it bears down on them.
“Stop me before I spin again,” they might say if they could stop long enough to speak.
The cowboy shooters and rodeo fans and Trace Adkins fans who crowded the City of Sin this week were fairly quiet except for the man in one local casino who got so drunk he fell over while trying to sit down on the floor because an inanimate object was in the way. He literally aimed at the ground and missed…wow…

A bar in the City if Sin is decorated with a cowboy motif for this week’s cowboy invasion of the city of Sin…photo R.M. Hopper

Last week I promised I would tell you the story of Bob’s brother. Bob was a cowboy; the real kind who rode bulls and wore a big hat to cover the scars on his rodeo riding head. I was working at Treasure Island in the mid 90s when the National Finals Rodeo came to town. One night when the casino was full of hard drinking cowboys, many of whom had also likely swallowed several pain pills to ease the ache of the days riding, a tall goat roper as we used to call them in the part of Texas I grew up in walked up to me and slurred…”Have you seen my brother Bob…He’s tall and wears a hat …”
Since I knew Bob’s Brother was very drunk and would not be satisfied with a simple answer and since the casino was full of people who were tall and wore hats and since I was feeling a bit sarcastic I decided to point him in another random direction where he would hopefully fall down and forget about me. 
“He’s over there,” I said pointing in a totally random direction which in those days was simply an empty stretch of casino floor between a large bar that occupied a spot near the front of the casino and a bank of assorted slots hoping Bob’s brother would leave and allow me to finish the shift without having to call an ambulance for him or me.
As it happens who should be standing there in the exact spot I had pointed but Bob himself.  “Damn your good,” Bob’s brother said and stumbled off to where his brother stood no doubt bragging of my psychic powers to his brother Bob.
Man that guy from Texas  knows voodoo or something. Well I did once stop for gas near a bayou in Louisiana and was blessed by voodoo practitioner or else she spilled her drink and was apologizing in bad French with a southern accent I can never tell.

In other business on the boulevard two intrepid residentially challenged souls braved this week’s chilly weather to impinge on the generosity of  passersby. They stopped their entrepreneurial borrowing to pet the service dog of one pedestrian. A strip regular dressed in a stripped pajama suit carrying a sign strolled down the street as the two were collecting the odd dollar from those generous tourist and commuters ( as a rule locals don’t give handouts because it can mark them for future requests) …Was it an Armageddon warning, an ambitious member of occupy Las Vegas or advertising for a club with a really silly motif who knows.

Such is life in the City of Sin

Til Next Week

Take care

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