there’s no “i” in casino

I saw an ad for a show at a casino (maybe they called it a “revue”) that would be more painful to watch than a room full of cats taking a dump. The “revue” is nothing but celebrity impersonators. They have an Elvis and a Garth Brooks and other people I’m sure but I had to look away from the TV for fear my head would explode. The only thing worse than having to see Garth Brooks would be having to see a person impersonate Garth Brooks. Actually, the thing that would be truly worse than seeing Garth Brooks (or his impersonator) would be seeing Toby Keith (real or impersonator).

So I wondered – are the people who impersonate real people excited when they get these gigs? I realize they are dressing up as these people and going to the audition of their own free will, but I wonder if it’s more a situation of, “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I shouldn’t have gotten that degree in music theory,” rather than, “I HOPE I GET THIS FUCKING GREAT GIG.” The thought of dressing up as someone who has had success and pretending you are that person to a crowd of people who don’t have enough money or the correct geographic location (or in the case of Elvis, the right chunk of the big timeline) to see the real thing…it’s just depressing.

I think casinos are pretty depressing, too. James and I recently stopped at one in Albuquerque because, well, they’re everywhere in that state. This was only my second time in that sort of environment – I went to Las Vegas once for a wedding (yes, the bride was pregnant). It was cool seeing some of the iconic images I’d seen in movies my whole life, but I have no plans to ever return to that dry, tacky place. But that was, like, a decade ago. Maybe I would have a different perspective this time. Nope. If anything, I found it more disturbing. The people just mindlessly punching buttons on the slots…you don’t even have to pull a lever anymore. You just put in the money and push a couple of buttons. At least with the lever you could believe that maybe if you pulled in just the right way at just the right speed, perhaps then you would win. But there are only so many ways to push a button.

If there were machines based upon mental or physical skills, that would be cool. Like a machine that rewarded you for having a large vocabulary or remembering a series of images or finding words in a puzzle or hitting certain buttons in a certain order – at least then you would feel like you had some say in how well you did and how much $$ you made. A drunk monkey can sit at a slot machine and push a button. There’s no grace or skill in that. But having to complete a long round of Simon Says or Millipede or Test Your Word Power – now that’s a casino I could get into. Along with a bunch of other dorks. At least the stench of desperation wouldn’t be in the air. Or, I should say, it would be of a different sort. It would be of the “will I ever get laid/kissed/noticed” variety instead of the “I just spent the rent/laundry/vasectomy money” type.

As a side note, James did really well playing Blackjack. That takes a bit of skill and a bit of luck. I would have played a few hands but was worried I would make some big blunder and they’d think I was cheating or retarded and deal with me accordingly.