Vices we love: A sure thing

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A sure thing

The first time I went to a casino was at the ripe old age of 12. Already quite the intercontinental man of mystery, I sought to broaden my vast horizons by looking at bright shiny things. I have no vivid memories of that night of pre-teen Vegas debauchery but do remember two things: Winning at the slots and having said winnings confiscated by casino officials who evidenced a touching, if unexpected, concern for my welfare.

Fifteen years go by. I grow older, wiser, heavier. I finish college but not law school. I manage to avoid marital bliss. Spend some time on America's fine interstate system- wait, make that a lot of time. Try to become a hobo. Fail due to old-country yuppie instincts. Try to become a yuppie. Fail due to insufficiently blue blood. Wind up in Asia. Bum around Korea a bit. Hang out with Pakistanis, Indonesians and Russians who are so down on their luck they consider Korea a pleasant destination. Learn that I'm relatively lucky in the genetics and birthplace department. Have the spiciest curry ever. Yum. Spend saturday night bouncing around Sangroksu station. See lights! See glitter! See K-Vegas as it was meant to be seen!

Memories, filtered through a selective and sexually charged membrane recall that night at the casino. They convince me that casinos are filled with beautiful women whose degree of affection for me is directly proportional to my income. (Which is 0 at the age of 12, but let us not dwell on that for now.) Inspired and now living abroad, I open my eyes and see before me casinos on every street. I decide to stroll in- or rather, my hormones decide for me. And what do I see? Korean ajosshis in various states of old farthood staring at slot machines. Slightly younger ajummas serving them drinks with sly sideways glances of resentment thrown in. I've been cheated! Where is the glitz? The glamour? The faked affection? That is a casino! To be piss drunk and stoned to the gills- preferably simultenously- while surrounded by surgically enhanced beauties who will play a prominent role in the eventual removal of your feeding tube- That's living!

Korea for dissapoint me once again.


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