Gambling

I’ve never really warmed to gambling. I understand that it’s one of those things that you’re meant to at least slightly enjoy, especially in Australia where the value of “having a flutter” is a foundational cultural myth. It doesn’t even leave me cold – I find it stressful and mildy boring.

I don’t claim to be particularly virtuous here. I just suspect that my brain is wired slightly differently to many people in this respect. There appears to be a pretty strong correlation between potentially addictive behaviours and particular neural configurations, and I seem to be deficient in the bit that controls impulsive behaviour. This is good and bad. Maybe I’m not as “fun” as the next person.

When there’s something on the line, as in all types of gambling, I immediately become anxious. The process stops being a game to me and suddenly becomes a situation where I have to protect what I have. If by chance I win a hand of poker I become acutely aware of the precariousness of victory and seek to cash out my winnings as quickly as possible. The enjoyment for me is in the “play” aspect – when money is invovled it feels like a school assignment and all the fun is vacuumed up, along with my cash.

Even Australia’s silliest holiday, the Melbourne Cup, means little to me. I attended Cup Day at Flemington once, dutifully bet on horses picked at random, and then lost all my money. My overwhelming feeling was one of relief that I didn’t have to participate any more, having made the token gesture.

No doubt I would be no fun at Vegas. I accept that. But on the up side, I’m not likely to get a pokie addiction either. So there are some benefits.

Sunday May 5, 2019, Glen Iris

I spent the afternoon at a trampoline gym with one of my kids. We both had a glorious time, bouncing, flipping, landing awkwardly, trying not to crash into other people.

The place was filled to the brim with kids, being a Sunday. A handful of adults were bouncing too, but the vast majority were patronising the cafe selling overpriced coffee made by teenagers and looking at their phones. Some of them were working on laptops.

I found this all terribly sad.

While I understand that trampolining isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it should be plenty of people’s. It’s super fun. Judging by the number of non participating adults of child-bearing age, I guessed that probably some of them had a medical (orthopaedic) reason for not joining in, which is sad in itself.

But I suspect that the rest of them had some combination of fears – fear of lack of fitness, fear of looking silly, fear of being not very good, fear of hurting themselves.

I think that these fears are probably rubbish. One of the great gifts of adulthood is understanding that most people don’t care about you, they barely even notice you most of the time. Why not exploit that and have some childlike fun?

I mean, really. Do it now before you get old and die.

Unless there’s something on Facebook that can’t wait.