Gambling and Gratitude

Some random reflections on my now, and America’s now, 2019

Photo Credit: UnSplash


I’m in my hotel room searching the Internet for tips on how to win at gambling. It’s a desperate search because 1) I’m not a gambler and 2) we really don’t have much money right now at all.

In my head I thought ok we can make it to Vegas and pick up a couple of hundred to just enjoy the weekend — maybe be able to go to the awesome sounding used bookstore, — without stressing over how to afford gas to get back home and groceries once we get home.

Summer is a dry time, in terms of the weather in Nevada and in terms of our bank account. Fall, winter, and spring aren’t big money times either I suppose.

Not yet.

I am banking on a flashy loud utterly random and essentially pointless machine to get generous with us ASAP.

I am also long term banking on my writing to do what I have always dreamed of it doing: to pay off.

It’s an art, it’s a craft, it’s a passion, but also, I need this. I need this.

Spirituality, emotionally, mentally, and financially I need my writing. I need to write.

Many of you know the paycheck to paycheck life. A lot of us are struggling right now. And a lot of us who are struggling still give to those we love in their times of need because we love them.

But the stress that follows the giving is often hard to endure. My fiancé and I both make an effort to give gratitude, to embody gratefulness, to remember what we are thankful for.

But sometimes when we check our bank account and have 60 dollars left between the two of us, it’s a disappointing moment and also a lot of fear that fights with the gratitude feelings.

I know how it works, in theory. Be grateful above also and more good will come to you, be grateful and be thankful and you will always be ok. I honestly believe this, deeply.

Or maybe I want to believe it deeply? But, getting there for so many of us is an effort that takes monumental effort at imagination and a Mr. Roger’s degree of make-believe.

I will remember to be grateful, we will also strive to be happy in the moment, and we will come out on top eventually, even if it means no one has health care for a while longer, a car payment or two is missed, or groceries consist of ramen and cereal for a few weeks.

This is how Americans do in 2019.

Oh I know I know all of the talk of personal responsibility and what not, sure, maybe we shouldn’t have come to Vegas.

Keep in mind I also hate gambling and casino culture but, here is where the family is. And it’s hot beyond imagination outside — awful heat that is heavy and painful to endure, plus a literal storm of locusts is out there too. Massive amounts of grasshopper type bugs jumping in your face every second. No thank you!

But I digress, my point is, we are here for family and who says no to a family reunion? Who wants to be that guy? Why is that fair? Families are super neat. Bonding and quality time is awesome.

And so, we are here, we have a hotel room, paid for, we have a generous family to have fun with and to share food with, it’s really alright after all.

We have each other. We have a relationship that is simply wonderful, and I am getting to bond with my Love’s parents a bit.

That’s important stuff!

It’s just the expectation of easy money to solve a few problems is so tempting and strong, there is so much hope invested in this idea. Not just for us, in Vegas, for a weekend, but I would say, for thousands of Americans who just want to dream of a way out of their financial woes.

Woes caused not by personal faults or deficiencies but by structural shifts in what jobs are, what jobs pay, what benefits are, who has benefits, who has access to wealth, who doesn’t. Yes we all make mistakes in life. We all make some bad decisions. But if you have money, have wealth, those poor choices and bad decisions don’t really make a dent in your day-to-day. Unless you finally get caught. And even then, check the papers, it takes a long time for justice to catch up to you if you’re rich.

The problems go beyond people praying to a slot machine for a big win. Beyond me trying to lighten up and enjoy a casino because here’s the now where we are.

Life in 2019 America is a bit of a gamble for 99% of us, — and sometimes we hit it big by having money to pay for health care to buy the medicine we need, and other times, corporations jack up the price of insulin and people lose — aka they die. It’s high stakes.

And the worst part is none of us signed up for or gave our ok to the idea of playing a game with our lives. We would all like living wages, universal quality health care, a clean and safe environment to live in and be human in.

As for me, one more day in Vegas and the hope of hitting it big is hard to shake. We will keep playing, laughing, and enjoying time with family and if it happens, it happens, if not,then that’s ok too.


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Jenny Justice

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Writer, Sociologist, Adjunct, with degrees and experience and such; also: Spiritual, Feminist, Mom Stuff and attempts at Poetry and Social Justice in motion.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +489K people. Follow to join our community.

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