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I Definitely Looked Forward to Turning 21



It is a little different these days. When I was a kid, we had milestones. Sixteen was a big birthday because having a drivers license was a key to life. Eighteen was not that big of a deal as I was already in college and allowed to drink if I wanted to because I was on a military base. Twenty-one was definitely a big deal. I finally get to go and gamble.

Understand, when I was twenty-one, I looked like I was seventeen. But, my ID showed me as twenty-one. We planned our first trip to Atlantic City over a weekend. The Jersey Shores were only about two and half hours away. We arrived late Friday evening. We had one room at a casino for three people. This was back when the machines took coins and currency so you had to constantly wash your hands. I was pretty excited to try my hand at gambling. I had a plan for black jack so I tried it first.

My plan was to wager one dollar. If I lost, my next wager would be two dollars. If I won at two, I would get my original dollar back. I might have broke a little bit better than even that first night. I had a great time. Oh, I only got carded twice. After that, I realized that I was so focused on gambling that I forgot to eat. I hit my first buffet. I definitely ate until I could not eat anymore.

The next day started at about 2 AM. I woke up ready to go downstairs and hit it again realizing that I can go back to sleep any time that I wanted. I actually felt fresh and ready to go at 2. The other two people stayed in bed. There were still a lot of people gambling at 2 AM but at least it was a little less smoky than earlier. This time I tried the slot machines. The slot machines require no thought. I just pulled the handle on the penny slot. While playing slots, yes I was carded again, I lost the rest of my money except for the stash to pay for fuel to get back to school.

All in all, I had a great time. I did not bring that much money so losing was not so bad. As I have aged since that first trip, gambling rules have changed. I definitely do enjoy hitting the casinos. A big piece of that is hitting the buffets whether it be Vegas or Reno. I like to be able to choose what I am going to eat for each plate. I just like to eat until I am full.

I have become a slot machine person over the years. I have gotten used to machines that I have success with and keep playing them. I still have a budget. Of course, the mental plan is to win early and pocket the winnings. Normally, my wife wins early. That still counts. Believe it or not, I was carded until I was 37. I am still pretty young but I do not get carded anymore.

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