Irish Roulette

Roulette is a sucker’s game.

The reason that the pay-out is so huge is that the odds are so massively stacked against you.

I like to play poker. Poker is not gambling; it is both a science and an art; the art involves hiding your poker money from your spouse. I hide mine in my Bible, because I know it’s one of the few books in the house my wife won’t read. She also doesn’t read my blog, so I’m pretty sure I’m safe; just in case, I’m going to stash it in “War and Peace” for a while, because no one in their right mind would read Tolstoy.

Which explains why I read Tolstoy.

But I digress…

I played “Russian roulette” once, as a teen. A boy who’d bullied my best friend and myself had died playing this “game”, and I thought it would be a fine idea to honor his memory by playing it ourselves.

We got ourselves an old revolver that my friend’s father had “hidden” in his pantry (kids can always find guns, parents), put a round in the cylinder, and gave it a whirl. Since it was my idea, I went first. I put the gun to my temple and pulled the trigger.

Click.

Then it was my friend’s turn.

Click.

Rien ne va plus.

After we’d finished changing our trousers, we mutually decided that it would be a better idea to raid his father’s whiskey.

This is Irish Roulette, or at least one of it’s many forms.

I do not judge people for their alcohol consumption, because I myself am in no position to do so. Nor do I subscribe to the notion that the Irish are a nation of alcoholics; I know loads of Irish people who have never taken a drink in their lives.

Therein lies the key to beating “the game”.

Every year, some “scientific” study is published about alcoholism; nature versus nurture, that sort of thing.

It’s both.

I know, for a natural fact, that if you come from a culture, and a family, that drinks in excess, that you will also, most likely; the only way to know for sure is to take your first drink.

That’s roulette. Sucker’s game.

I took my first drink when I was three years of age. And I remember thinking “Ah! Here’s what I’ve been missing!”

Don’t get me wrong; some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life involved alcohol; and I do not regret any of them. I’ve never gotten into any sort of trouble because of drinking, never lost a job or a girlfriend or anything of that sort.

Because I beat the house odds.

Which is pure luck.

A lot of my family and friends weren’t so lucky. Automobile accidents, imprisonment, death.

Roulette is a sucker’s game because it’s all about luck, which you can’t rely on. You have to keep your wits about you.

I’m not saying that drinking is bad.

I’m just saying that if you’re going to play a game, choose one that you know how to play, play it in a sensible fashion, and know what the odds are. If you don’t, you might as well be playing “Russian” roulette.

I just noticed that my copy of “War and Peace” has disappeared.

Damn it. See?

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