By David Anderson
When someone embarks on an attempt to do something that has no chance of success he is said to be ‘on a fool’s errand.’
When a miner discovers pyrite – shining and glowing in its dull yellow hue – and thinks himself rich, he is shamed to learn that it’s nothing more than worthless ‘fool’s gold.’
And there was a time when “the Quinault Native Americans believed that a woman could make a man fall in love with her by waving a forked false azalea branch,” later to be named “Fool’s Huckleberry.”
In each of these instances in which folks think they’ve found fame and fortune (among them fawning females flourishing foliage), finally and foolishly – foiled in having followed what is false – they are shown to be the fools of fables: failures and fakes.
Some maintain the happy-face façade, foisting upon the unsuspecting public a carefully-woven spider-web-like fabric of deceit.
And these facsimiles frequent every walk of life.
From luxury handbags to DVDs, for example – “for every real set of workout videos, there’s a fake that’s virtually indistinguishable” – everything from the high price of luxury goods to relatively inexpensive tapes on how to achieve your beach body, all are targeted by knock-off artists at the estimated rate of $500 Billion yearly.
“All of it fake,” ABC News Nightline reported this past October 22.
Fake is also the take you should expect from that occasional gambling gambit – if not addictive habit. But you won’t. Here’s why.
In July of this year, Tom Jacobs in Salon.com reports on the conclusion of a team led by psychologist Mike Dixon of the University of Waterloo who has extensively studied the psychology of gambling. The headline? “Slot Machines are Designed to Trick You.”
All the bells and whistles of the slot machine’s music and sound effects amount to a phenomenon the researchers call “losses disguised as wins.”
Failure to connect the slots – anticipating an economic windfall by playing the appropriately nicknamed one-armed bandits – is not limited to recreational or addicted gambling junkies.
Government – at all levels – hoodwinked, has fallen to the windfall hijinks of gambling proponents.
In a couple of his recent columns in the Tacoma News Tribune, Staff Writer Peter Callaghan states the abundantly obvious conclusion that neither the gold-seeking gambling players, nor the gullible government policymakers will admit: “If you gamble, you will lose. If you gamble more, you will lose more.”
Both, observes Callaghan, would prefer to pretend that “the laws of probability do not apply to them.”
In true Halloween fashion, “duped” is what then-Gov. Gary Locke (1999) said he was, writes Callaghan in another of his October columns, when the Governor signed the law creating what we now know as minicasinos, a law that would lead “to an explosion of commercial casinos drawing protests across the state and causing politicians to run for cover.”
‘Threatened,’ is what then-Mayor William H. Harrison said he felt when the trick-or-treater casino operators disguised as cash-cows appeared on the City of Lakewood’s doorstep.
In a letter dated five years ago this Halloween, October 31, 2008, and published in The Suburban Times three days later, Harrison agreed with Locke writing, “the legislature ‘didn’t know what they were voting on’ when the law creating mini casinos was passed.”
But in true give-us-candy-or-else fashion, on December 1, 2008 Harrison referenced the gambling goblins when he said, “at that time they told us that if we did not go along with this we were going to be sued and break the city.”
Fine folks these casinos we’re ‘dealing’ with. Duped and threatened we are.
And, in keeping with the season, there’s halloweed, aka marijuana, a literal cash crop that has been dropped upon the duped public.
But that’s a pot to stir another day.