The Minor Fall, the Major Lift - an essay on gambling
November 21, 2010 9:50 AM Subscribe
The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (61 comments total)
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// Gambling addiction is a simple disease. Living the addiction is a bit more complicated. A chronicle of dependency in seven parts, by Jay Caspian Kang
, about poker, Lolita, and how to lose $18,000 in 36 hours.
"Unlike drug narratives, which fixate on withdrawal and destruction, gambling narratives tend to glamorize the upswing—the writer/gambler will always tell you about his biggest score, how quickly he blew the money, and how fast he was back at the tables, but he will rarely tell about the scraped-out bottom. Indeed, the only truthful gambling narratives are told by the family members and friends who witnessed the fallout: the bank account receipts, the early morning arrivals, the hanging stench of re-circulated cigarette smoke. Whereas drug literature comes from those who have bottomed out, there exists no bottom in gambling because every new hand brings fresh hope and possibility. Is it any wonder why most narratives written by gamblers read like boyhood fantasies—every casino a palace, every bellhop a best friend, every dealer an alchemist? Gambling narratives are projections of casinos’ fantasies—the tracers of lights that flash inside a gambler’s head as he watches the ball spin around the roulette wheel."