Monday, January 30, 2006

The Road To Hell

The road to hell is paved with.....a lot of really fun stuff. Since I am hellbound by the unfortunate circumstances of being born a lesbian, I figure the trip out to be worth eternal damnation. I have always been the black sheep, I was the first in the family to get kicked out of Catholic school, the first to get a tattoo, the first to smoke pot, and the only gay member of the family. Before I was married, I chased women energetically. Even in business, I'm referred to as the creative one. My partner A, is the complete opposite. She is completely by the book. She doesn't drink, she never smoked anything you couldn't purchase legally. She's highly educated, she has an important job, and she teaches at an Ivy League Law school. She pays her bills on time, she makes the bed in the morning, she returns videos on time, and she even pays her parking tickets. She drinks Decaf. She's a model citizen. Why she married me is a puzzle I may never solve, but I am smart enough not to question my good fortune. She does however have this one vice. She loves to gamble. Gambling was the one vice that I never acquired. There were never any casinos in Chicago, and I was much more interested in women or loud music anyway. The first time I ever saw a slot machine was with A. We took this romantic trip to some quaint town in southern Illinois. We stayed at this lovely B&B with a wood burning fireplace, and a massive hot tub. The next day when we came up for air, we strolled into town, and there on the banks of the river, was this old-fashioned river boat. We walked up the ramp and boarded the old vessel, and there was this huge party going on. It was all of these old ladies sitting at slot machines, some of them in between two machines, feeding quarters in as fast as their short arms would move. They were amazingly dextrous, dropping quarters, pulling the lever, the hand eye coordination was remarkable. And they were chain smoking. It was noisy and I could barely hear A over the sounds of bells ringing and coins dropping. She was steering towards a machine called "Lucky Horseshoes". She pulled out a twenty and fed it right into the machine. She began pulling the lever at lightning speed, and almost immediately pulled another twenty from her pocket to put into the machine. I looked on horrified thinking of the children starving in India and suggested we get lunch. She gave me another twenty, and asked me to get her a Scotch and water.

What? I walked up to the bar and demanded to see the manager to find out what he had done with my sensible wife. The manager was busy helping two elderly ladies carry these huge buckets of quarters to this huge change counter. I returned to A with her Scotch and water, and heard her shouting, "Double Diamonds! F-ing Cool!"

OMIGOD! My wife just said the F word. In PUBLIC! And loud! She grabbed the scotch out of my hand and handed me another twenty and pointed me to the machine at the bar. Where were these twenties coming from? The Devil? Wasn?t it a sin to gamble when there were so many hungry children in Africa? And what about the little old ladies chain smoking and carrying on? I began to say the Hail Mary, and A looked over at me like I had lost my mind. She accused me of jinxing her, and insisted that I have a beer and chill.

Look, you don't ever have to twist my arm to drink a beer, even on the road to hell.

I have since come to regard my wife's affection for gambling as a sign of human weakness much like my love of tobacco and beer. In fact, we just returned from a day trip to Atlantic City (her Christmas present from me, are we surely going to hell, like tomorrow?). She still sends me to the bar to get her a Scotch, and then gives me a couple of twenties to play the penny machines and drink beer. But slot machines have changed a bit, maybe to appeal more to those like me who will soon be little old ladies with time on their hands. I found this penny slot machine called Pharaoh?s Gold. If you won, the machine played that old Bangles song, "Walk Like An Egyptian". It lit up, and the mummies climbed out of the tombs and did the Egyptian dance. I had so much fun, I put $80 of my own money into it, and lost it. At 3 in the morning, A had to come and look for me, I was doing the dance on my little slot machine chair and ready for bed.

I'm already going to hell, it's been pre-determined. My partner A. is perfect, and she needs a bit of help on the way down. I figure her road to hell will be a bit more fun on the way down, and for me, if A chooses eternity with me, no matter where we end up, it will be heaven.


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