Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Uncle, the Gambling Addict

You probably know someone like my uncle.  You might even have someone like him in your family.  

People with serious gambling problems aren't hard to spot.  Their homes are always shabby and neglected looking, with peeling paint and missing shingles.  Their yards are overgrown with weeds and seldom mowed.  Their children wear ragged clothing and, in the worst cases, are ill fed and sickly.

They’re always just one step ahead of the bill collectors because they pay for life’s necessities with credit, with all of their income being diverted in service of their addiction.  If they own a car, you can be sure it’s both old and in a terrible state of disrepair.

Such people are seldom close with their families, neighbors, or have any friends—save for their fellow addicts—because their addiction has caused them to alienate all who might be sympathetic or supportive. Their relentless pursuit of the Big Payoff has caused them to lie, cheat and steal from all those unfortunate enough to get close to them.

As I said, we all know someone like my uncle.  And if you’re a U.S. citizen, I know you know my uncle, because he’s your uncle too. 

His name is Uncle Sam.

Now I know that my analogy is a bit weak in that Uncle Sam isn’t so much a gambler as he is an enabler of the Big Time gamblers whose billions dominate our government.  But the level of influence wielded by these Big Shots—always substantial—has grown at such an astonishing pace in recent years, it’s fair to say that they now are Uncle Sam.

Only the new Uncle Sam no longer wears that corny red, white and blue getup.  That outfit represented a lot of quaint, outmoded ideas like fair play, justice and government-by-the-people.  And nobody who’s anybody cares about that stuff anymore.

No, he’s traded it in for a sharkskin suit, two tone shoes and a black fedora.  Like a mobster straight out of a Scorsese flick, when he bets with a bookie and wins, he collects his money.  On the other hand, when he bets with a bookie and loses...he collects his money.  If the bookie refuses, he’s in for some serious trouble. 

And when the mobster’s addiction spirals out of control, he starts squeezing every one of his underlings to kick as much cash upstairs as they can.  When that’s not enough, they start letting the basic stuff go and they end up living in the sort of houses described above.

And it’s gotten to that point in the U.S.  Have you taken a good look at our ‘house and yard’ lately?  Millions of homes are in foreclosure with millions more on the verge.  Large swaths of our cities are in decay.  Roads and bridges are reaching a frightening state of disrepair.  Poverty is soaring, with social programs suffering drastic cuts.  (More than one in five children in the U.S. is now living in poverty!)  Public schools are crumbling, due to equally drastic cuts in spending for education.  Vast numbers of citizens are either unemployed or underemployed and our standing in the world community has degraded, with anti-American sentiment at an all time high.

I could go on and on, but in short, our national ‘house and yard’ looks like it belongs to an addict.

So why did this happen?  Because a bunch of Big Shot gamblers made a load of bad bets and they’re taking payment for them out of our collective ass. And just like the addict's house, which will someday collapse from neglect, so shall our nation someday collapse from this shameful neglect.

All of this points to one conclusion:  Our country is being run by a pack of degenerate junkies and the time is nigh for an intervention.

1 comment:

  1. You know I agree! You write SO well, Bill! And do you think there are lots of people out there that need counseling? Well, guess what? Community mental health orgs. have been cut to the bone. So yes, it is like a parent (or uncle) with an addiction that traumatizes everyone around them.