Tag Archives: gambling

My friends and I went to Atlantic City

My friends and I all went to Atlantic City a few weeks ago, and after dinner, we were hanging out at this one hotel, at night, they turn the whole pool area into this giant outdoor club. So it was pretty cool, it was early, but not too early, just early enough that there was still enough room to walk around, get a drink without having to elbow anybody out of the way.


Anyway, I planned this whole prank out way in advance. I told my buddy Steve, I said, “OK, so we’re going to throw Kenny in the pool. Cool?” And Steve’s always down for a dumb prank like that, always. In fact, I was doing everybody a favor by actually putting some thought into this. Because if things progressed naturally, Steve would have inevitably had one too many drinks, and he would have just gone for it, I’m telling you, somebody would have been thrown in that pool.

Which, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great joke, a classic. But you have to think about cell phones. Which sucks, because before cell phones, if there was a pool, it was just assumed that someone was getting knocked in. But everybody has an eight hundred dollar computer in their pocket now, it’s not cool. So I took Steve to the side and I said, “Great, so I want you to wait until Kenny is kind of close to the edge of the pool, and then I want you to kneel behind him and try to take his cell phone out of his pocket.”

“Well what if he catches me going for it?”

“Look, I’m going to distract him. I’m going to ask him to hold my drink or something, or I’ll be handing him a drink. So he won’t notice. And even if he does notice, he won’t have any hands to do anything about it. And if he makes a move, just yank it out, all right? Because that’s when I’m going to push him.”

And Steve loved it, he was like, “Ha! That’s awesome!”

But Steve didn’t know that this was only one layer to my plan. Because my real goal was to get Steve in that pool. Remember what I said before? About Steve always doing something stupid like that? Yeah, well I wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. And so did Kenny. And Phil. Phil got pushed in last summer. It was a mess, he had his phone in his pocket. As soon as he got out, there was a big fight over who was buying him a new phone. And this is totally crazy, but Steve, that lucky bastard, he went on some sort of a gambling tear that night. Nobody knows exactly how he did it, but he made back the money, the eight hundred, enough to buy him a new phone.

But there was definitely a lot of bad blood, especially from Phil, so he was in on this too. His job was to, right after dinner, switch Steve’s phone with this old broken iPhone I had lying around the house. That way, when Steve wound up going in the pool, he’d pull this phone out, he wouldn’t know it wasn’t the phone from his pocket, and we could watch and laugh as he freaked out, we’d say stuff like, “Don’t worry about it man, just do what you did last year, go win yourself a new phone, you’ll be good.”

So it was all set up, Steve was kneeling behind Kenny, right by the edge of the pool, and that’s when Phil came out of nowhere and kicked Steve in, hard. Only, Steve had his hand in Kenny’s pocket, and, I don’t even know how he managed to hold on, but he did, and he pulled Kenny in with him.

“Shit,” I said to Phil, because that wasn’t part of the plan. “You switched the phones though, right?”

“Fuck no,” said Phil. He wasn’t smiling. “Seriously, let him win his own phone back this year. I fucking hate Steve.”

Yeah, this definitely wasn’t going according to plan. Then two security guards came out of nowhere.

“All right guys, everybody out.”

And that sucked too, because they didn’t kick us out last year. And now here we were, everybody stuck outside the club, none of the cabs would take us back to the hotel because Kenny and Steve were soaking wet.

Kenny pulled me aside and said, “Dude, give me Steve’s good phone. Let him take the broken one.”

“Man, Phil never made the switch.”

“What switch?” That was Steve, he heard everything because Kenny was talking way too loud.

More words were exchanged. Phil and Steve almost got into a fistfight. We got back to the hotel and Steve went straight to the casino to try and win back another phone. Phil was completely belligerent and disappeared, like we didn’t see him for the rest of the weekend. Meanwhile, Kenny just kind of stood there looking at me, “So what, I’m out of a phone?”

And yeah, I felt bad. This wasn’t at all how it was supposed to go down. But couldn’t we just win the money back? I mean, Steve did it last year, it’s not impossible, right?

“How much money do have on you?” I asked Kenny.

“I don’t know, like, two? Two fifty?”

“Perfect, me too. All right, so we’ll just double it, right away, five hundred on red at a roulette table. Come on that’s enough right? And with my old broken phone, that’s got to be, what, I don’t know, fifty bucks? What’s that web site that buys broken phones?”

“You think it’s worth fifty bucks?”

“Yeah, there’s a huge secondary market for parts overseas …”

I’ll fast-forward a little bit. We got the cash. We put it on red. And it landed on one of the two greens. So they didn’t take all of the money, but they took half. I told Kenny, “Do it again, there’s no way that happens twice.”

And no, it didn’t happen again, it landed on black this time.

“Black,” the roulette lady said.


“Sir, please refrain from cursing on the floor,” That was the pit boss.

I was like, “Are you guys kidding me? Why’d you all get so strict this year?”

And that was it. I told Kenny I’d give him some money, but I don’t have eight hundred bucks, and so I guess I’ll just give him like fifty bucks every week for a while, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay for the whole eight hundred, I mean, he was in on it too, and so was Phil. But nobody’s heard from Phil. Nobody’s really heard from anybody. That was like three weeks ago and nobody’s really talked at all, not except Kenny and me, and that’s strictly business, nothing but cell phone stuff. Man, I’m thinking the whole trip was a bust, I don’t know, I don’t really see how any of us moves forward from here. So that sucks, and even if we do wind up hanging out again, I definitely doubt anybody’s going to be down for AC again next year.

The economics of sitting down

I wish I could be a taxi driver. It seems like the best job in the world. I love to drive, I love listening to music, so on paper anyway, it just seems perfect. But then I think about the physical toll sitting down all day would take on my body. Every once in a while I’ll drive upstate, to Massachusetts. It’s like a three hour drive. Recently I drove up to Buffalo. That was close to six hours. It was a long, long time sitting down. My lower back hurt so much by the time I finally got to the hotel. I went to the gym to see if I couldn’t run it off, but I couldn’t. It was like I actually injured myself just sitting down.

But I wonder, if I were a full-time taxi driver, would those lower back muscles strengthen up? Maybe I’d get really good at it, but then all of my other muscles, the muscles I usually use for walking and stuff, they’d start to atrophy. And I’d just be stuck, sitting.

And traffic. When I drove up to Buffalo, the majority of the trip was spent simply trying to get out of the city. It’s the worst. Every once in a while I’ll think, maybe I should buy a car. It could really come in handy. But then I’ll get stuck in an epic traffic jam and I realize that this city is no place for driving.

Except for taxi drivers. That’s got to be the best, being a taxi driver who gets stuck in traffic. It’s like if you’re an office worker and the power goes out. You just sit there and hang out, right? It’s not like anybody can get any office work done nowadays without computers. And you still get paid, right? I guess, for a taxi driver, getting stuck in traffic all depends on if you have a passenger before you get stuck. Because once they’re inside the meter keeps running. Sure it’s a little slower if you’re at a dead stop, but whatever, a paid break is a paid break.

Recently my brother and I took a cab home from somewhere and for whatever reason the driver got on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a notorious parking lot. Sure enough, we get on and it’s just bumper to bumper, nobody moving. This driver was loving it. We sat in there for like half an hour before we finally insisted on getting out right there and walking towards the nearest exit. The driver was like, “You can’t just get out of the cab here.” But we did. And we beat every single car to the nearest exit. It was terrible though. We still had to pay like thirty bucks, then walk to the subway, then wait for the subway. The whole point of not taking the subway was to get home quick.

But whatever, every once in a while you have to pay the idiot tax. That’s what I call it when you just lose money for no other reason than making idiot decisions. Like going to Atlantic City for the weekend and losing hundreds of dollars playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Great idea Rob, you thought you’d just walk up to a table of card players and win? I only played two hands and lost everything.

But that wasn’t the idiot tax for that trip. The idiot tax was when I decided to go to the ATM and win a little back playing Blackjack. I’m telling you, twenty-five dollars a hand. Lose. Lose. Lose. Lose. Nice playing with you sir. And that was only part one of the idiot tax. Part two was taking another hundred bucks out and hoping I could instantly win it back on one round of roulette. Nope. It’s like if you get caught urinating in public. The idiot tax.

I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be a great cab driver. Any job where you have to rely on tips is always going to be disheartening, because tipping is optional, and given the option, some people will always be like, nope, no tip.

Maybe if somebody invented a taxi where you could stand up while driving. That would be so much better actually. Why aren’t all cars designed this way? Scientists are always wagging their fingers at us, telling us that we’re all getting so fat because our bodies aren’t meant to be living such sedentary lifestyles. So make all cars standing room only. As a bonus, you’d be able to fit a lot more people inside. Airplanes also. And movie theaters. We should just eliminate seats all together, so everybody has to stand all the time.

And I’m not talking about rickshaws either. That probably wouldn’t be the best job. I’m sure lugging people around like that has got to be grueling. And you don’t stand a chance against a car. I mean, if you get into an accident with a car, you’re dead. Unless everybody had rickshaws. Then that wouldn’t be so bad. But wait a second, if everybody is standing up, then what’s the point of a rickshaw? Because they’d be standing up also. And since they’re already standing, they might as well be walking, because that’s what the drivers are doing. I guess if everybody stood up, everybody would go out of business. Can you imagine how long that line would be at the unemployment office?