Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spending Time Wisely

I used to be addicted to craps. It was a very expensive addiction. I never kept records, but I estimate I lost over $150,000 during my twenty year career. This is about $7500 per year, $150 per week. During that time my average income was $2000 per week or more. I am not justifying my losses. Just stating the facts.

I remember nights visualizing the roll of the dice, imagining different scenarios in which I would win hundreds of thousands of dollars. This relaxed me and helped me sleep. No matter what I was doing during this phase of my life I'd constantly think about heading down to Atlantic City. It never was an effort for me to drive two or more hours at any time of day or night to satisfy my craving.

Today I live under six minutes, if there is traffic, from the nearest casino. I have no desire to shoot dice at all. Matter of fact, I don't even enjoy going to the casinos. I'm addicted to poker. I play on the internet; I don't have to leave my house. I don't lose much money either. I don't win, but I estimate my losses are under a thousand per year. The main cost is the amount of time I play, forty or more hours per week. Actually, this is a little misleading. I'm usually watching TV or listening to music on TV at the same time. If I wasn't playing poker I might just be watching or listening to TV.

I'm addicted to poker. When I can't sleep I visualize hands I've played, or hands I imagine I'll play in the future. It helps me relax. The reason I need to relax is because playing poker puts me under pressure. First of all, especially on the internet, there are a lot of bad beats, hands that I am positive I am going to win but lose. Secondly, when I am not playing I feel compelled to play. This puts additional pressure on me.

What helps me relax is to not to play poker at all. When I take a few days off, maybe a week or two, I feel terrific. As if a large burden's been lifted; I'm free to do whatever I want.

Which eventually leads me back to playing poker.

(Even writing about it, looking forward to not playing is beginning to relax me.)

I know, this is a little ridiculous, but I don't think it's much different than the way most people spend their lives.

I could be living in a monastery and spending ten or more hours a day in prayer or meditation. I could be working in the Post Office, boxing mail. I could be in Africa with a spoon carefully digging forty to fifty hours a week with the hope of finding a bone or two. Or maybe I could be a doctor treating sick people sixty hours a week. Many doctors play poker on the internet to relax. What's keeping me from being a doctor is not gambling. I was never good at organic chemistry.

How about trading stocks, writing greeting cards, selling pocketbooks, counseling addicts or neurotics, driving a limousine, training race horses, making important decisions, fixing roofs, or walking across the Appalachian Trail? Would any of these activities be better ways to spend my time? My mother would probably think so. I'm not so sure. I just read that there are more blog writers who make money than lawyers. They spend fifty to sixty hours a week writing their opinions about sports, politics, sex, health, investing, exercise, or how to spend your time wisely. I wish I knew how they get paid. I'm not sure I'd want to do it anyway.

What I would really like to do is sit around with a group of wise men and women in a cafe discussing the meaning and purpose of life. Now that I think about it, though, I'd rather have these discussions in my house while I'm on the internet playing poker. If there are any wise men and women who are reading this and want to come to my house they are more than welcome.

1 comment:

  1. This is a funny blog, Dad.

    I laughed out loud when I read this line:

    "Now that I think about it, though, I'd rather have these discussions in my house while I'm on the internet playing poker."