For Whom The Dice Roll
By Randy Warren
In Ajijic sits the Sad Casino. Oh, that is not its real name, but that is what I call it because the casino’s actual name sounds too close to a sex act.
And it might as well be called the Sad Casino because nobody is smiling, except the plastic leprechaun standing outside the entrance. With his green outfit, he assures luck to all who enter. But once inside, there is no feeling of luck.
Upon entry, you know you are in the Sad Casino. No music. No jackpots clanking in a joyous sound of rain. Instead of boisterous sounds from players and machines, there is only silence. The slot machines make no sounds; they trade in paper rather than coins. The place is just . . . quiet.
You would expect to hear the shout of a winner now and then, but apparently the leprechaun works for management.
Even the few blackjack tables are quiet. Gringo players and Mexican croupiers do not speak each other’s language, so there is not much to talk about.
I think the only people in the world who would truly be happy here are librarians: So many people gathered together in one big room and everybody maintaining silence. So that gave me an idea I want to send back to the Old Country: America should turn its libraries into casinos!
Slot machines up and down every aisle. Roulette alongside Rousseau. Blackjack at the librarians’ desks. They can deal cards while checking out books. Shout out when you win and you forfeit the payout. Shhhh!
Let’s be realistic: Post-pandemic budgets are going to get slashed. Gambling would be a great way to preserve funding while also getting more people into libraries. Free admission but you need a library card to get in.
Add a section for books about how to beat the games. That at least gets the newbies started with reading. After all, casinos are much like literature: You arrive with Great Expectations and leave when it’s Gone With The Wind.
Maybe librarians can confer with Bally to create custom library slot machines replacing those noisy Wheel of Fortune units. Instead of chasing three cherries, you need three scarlet letters. Try to hit the Harry Jackpotter. We simply have to accept that Betty Friedan would not approve of “Feminine Mystique” slot machines or their artwork.
Like other casinos, sometimes they issue credit and sometimes people don’t pay. So they will need a private collection force to round up the payments. To offset library budget cuts, this same workforce could double to retrieve those past due book returns.
“Bobby, there is a man named Salvatore at the front door. He is asking about ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and something called the vig.”
There may be some pushback about libraries having cocktail lounges, but if you look around the library, cocktails probably played a big role in creating a good number of the novels. Now, I concede that some librarians may not care for their new outfits. On the other hand, the tips will be amazing.
I think this is a great idea! The one problem that remains to be solved is the minimum age to enter the joint . . . I mean the library.
Normally, you have to be 18 to enter a gambling hall. But students need to be able to use the library too. This conflict must be resolved and I think I have the answer.
Minors can enter the casinobrary only if they have a library card in their name, the obtaining of which now requires at least a B average at school. So suddenly, having a library card is cool. Because only the cool kids can get inside the casino, only kids with high grades will be cool.
Yes, it may result in a few fake library cards, or minors congregating outside the entrance asking strangers if they could get them some Victor Hugo.
But the only way to be sure to have access is to get those higher grades. An unintended consequence of this policy might be to make students place value on being smart. When they grow up, that could fully reverse decades of American policies.
Will this work? You can bet on it!
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