“Where’s Perry?”-Brad (quoting Phineas)
My New Years resolution? I didn’t make one this year. I don’t have many bad habits to start with and the few I do have I didn’t want to quit. There was my addiction to gambling, but I dealt with that before the year ended. Here is that story.
I work as a behavioural support worker in an assisted living environment. There are shifts when we are flat out busy and then there are shifts when everything is taken care of and we wait for our replacement workers to arrive. Two days before Christmas was that waiting kind of shift.
My co-worker, Kim and I were taking turns flipping through the channels trying to find something interesting to watch on the television, but with Christmas a mere thirty-hours away there wasn’t much to watch. The regular shows where reruns, the reality shows had all revealed their results in the season finales, the good Christmas specials had already been aired and every Christmas ad now just grated on the nerves like jagged glass in your eye having been seen so many times.
Like a blazing star shining to lead smart people to destiny’s promise, a beacon of hope appeared on the guide channel. In less the an hour the Phineas and Ferb Christmas special was coming on. I shouted it out loud. Kim looked at me in disbelief, probably thinking, Aren’t you a little old to watch Phineas and Ferb? To which I would have to admit, if asked, “Yes, yes I am.” I watch it anyway.
“No!” Kim groaned, “not that Finigus and Ferp!” She mispronounced the brothers’ names. My attempts to guide her in the proper pronouncement was of no avail. She continued to add a hard G to Phineas and pronounce Ferb as if she was giving me a raspberry.
I gave up and explained that due to my cable providers’ program packaging that I refuse to pay for, it was over ten months since I’ve been able to watch an episode of Phiniugus and Ferplp. Kim laughed at the fact that I was now pronouncing the names as she did. I was eager to watch this special.
I looked at the clock, what was I going to do to make the time go faster.
A short time later, across the room, Kim had found something to occupy her time. “Whatcha Doooooing?” I asked. She had opened a Christmas card given her by a family member and to her delight it contained a holiday gift pack of scratch and win tickets of which one was a guaranteed winner. She seemed to be enjoying herself when to my surprise she asked if I would like to scratch one and handed me a crossword puzzle ticket. Like a light bulb flashing in my head I knew what I was gonna do today. In order to pass the time before Phenergus and Flerb I was going to try my hand at scratching and wining. Something I don’t recall ever doing on my own before.
With a penny from my pocket, I scratched off the first letter in my letter pool, H. I started scanning the puzzle for corresponding H’s and as I located my very first one I realized something; while scrapping the silver-like coating away from the puzzle I was having fun. Just like that I was addicted to gambling, I couldn’t stop scratching, revealing more letters in the pool. It was as if I had fallen under the sway of some company of evil incorporated, enslaving me forever in it’s tight squeezing grip of control.
More letters were peeled away and I took my time savouring each one, taking time to square up the edges not allowing a single trace of silver remain. A completed word was revealed and I cackled in glee like some mad scientist revelling in the creation of a new device, something like the Scratchenator 3000 or some such thing. A second word; my pleasure increased. I was giggly with excitement, this gambling was a thrill, I wanted more! Growing up in a home where tickets were frowned upon I had no idea what I had been missing all these years. “Yes!” I exclaimed out loud. A third word had been completed. I was glad my sister wasn’t here to see me in this state, she probably would have run home to my mother shouting “MOM! MOM! BRAD IS TRYING TO WIN $10,000 USING JUST A PENNY!”
Yes, $10,000 dollars. Did I mention that was the prize? Kim explained that if I uncovered four words in my puzzle I would win $2 dollars, The more words I revealed the more I would win, but, if I was able to scratch off eleven words total the $10,000 dollar prize would be mine to claim (or possibly Kim’s, technically it was her ticket but I am sure the courts would clear that up one way or another).
Here was where I found myself that night. I had three words uncovered. I needed an E to clear 4 more words; an R, would clear off another four. That totalled eleven words for the $10, 000 dollars grand prize. Two letters remained in my letter pool waiting to be reveal.
Can you feel it?
The rush I was experiencing at that moment in time was amazing, the world was moving lightening fast in slow motion. I could taste the metallic tang in the air as the sweat from my finger tips chemically reacted with the copper of my penny. I was in complete control, how could I not loose!
I scratched the penultimate letter hoping for an R or an E; it revealed a Y. Now Y would have been helpful if I was spelling something like platypus, but I searched the words remaining on my game piece and that platypus was nowhere to be seen!
But the last letter would surely put me into the prize range, I felt lucky, I’d bet my lunch on it. I could make this win happen! But as I scratched that final space, Lady Luck laughed loudly in my face. I think Kim laughed too when she heard me complained in disbelief, “X! It gives me in X! There is not even a single X in the entire puzzle!” I turned the ticket over to read the fine print on the back, I couldn’t even find an X there!
I was so close to $10.000 dollars! Next time, I decided, next time I am going to beat this game and win! I just needed one more ticket.
I was now a full-blown gambling addict and I didn’t care.
I turned to the TV, ready now to enjoy the Phiggynus and Furlb Christmas special. To my dismay the credits were scrolling up the screen, the closing credits. I had spent so much time on that scratch and win ticket I had missed the TV show I was waiting to see.
I realized then and there my gambling addiction was robbing me of the good things of life, and after 30 minutes forever lost to its seductive, yet deceptive, embrace I knew I had to deal with my gambling problem once and for all.
So I did
I am please to announce that as of today I am 14 days scratch and win free. It feels good, life is different now, and I plan to live it to the fullest.
So tomorrow, in celebration of this achievement, I am going to surrender to my pirating addiction and download Phigitgeus and Flurp of the Internet… or at least I would if I could ever figure out how to spell their names!