By John Matonich
I am not a huge gambler, but I do enjoy a trip to the casino every now and again. Always take a small amount that I know I can afford to lose and if I don’t lose it, I consider it a victory. It is simply entertainment for me and I look at it about the same as going to a major sporting event, concert or trip to a sporting goods store.
It has always made me smile how many different things guys can find to gamble on. When I lived downstate and golfed, there were always games to be played that involved a few bucks or a cocktail after the round was over. Back in the clubhouse, the bets never seemed to stop. I remember whatever game was on TV, someone would want to talk about the spread see if anyone wanted to take up some action.
It didn’t stop with the games on TV either. I was sitting in the clubhouse once after a round with some of my buddies when one of them blurted out that he would bet anyone that the next commercial we saw would have a dog in it. I think we were watching football which has a lot of beer commercials and could have easily had a shot of the Dalmatian seen in many Budweiser commercials. Even with that being a possibility, many of the guys at our table took the bet about the dog. Unfortunately for my buddy, the next commercial was for a local legal firm looking for anyone who had slipped and fallen. He had to shell out a few bucks and put up with a little ribbing.
That incident started a trend for the day and I heard some of the craziest bets I had listened to in a long time. Anything from who the next person would be to walk in the clubhouse to how many cubes of ice would show up in the next cocktail. I didn’t take part in any but did buy a round since it was some of the best entertainment I had seen in a while.
I saw a new game recently that let me know the male population hasn’t changed much even in the area I moved back to. I was sitting in a local tavern after a day in my wood shop enjoying a cocktail and playing some Keno. Even though Keno is not a good bet, it is a fun way to pass some time. Anyway, there were some young guys in the tavern enjoying a day of friendship. I almost chuckled out loud when one said they all needed to play the gumball game. I wasn’t sure what that was but knew it should be fun to watch.
The tavern has a really cool gumball machine. It’s about 5 feet tall and after you put your money in it, the gumball winds down a long spiral ramp to the bottom of the machine where you retrieve it. The head of the machine is somewhat like a crown and is always full of brightly colored gumballs. I discovered the bet was the boys each put $5 on the bar. They all had to pick a color and if the gumball that headed down the ramp matched one of their colors, that individual won the pot.
I have never seen anyone cheer for a gumball, but I did see it several times that afternoon. It was fun to see this group of buddies having a great time together. It made me look at the TV screen a couple of times to see if the next commercial had a dog in it.
And that’s the situation as I survey it.
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.