Wednesday, September 4, 2013


"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." -Victor Hugo

THIS is gambling. (And creepy.)
Gambling isn't my thing. While I do enjoy fantasy football, filling out my NCAA tournament brackets, and the very occasional trip to the blackjack table, I'm no gambler. That is, at least some skill on my part needs to be involved for me to lay my own money on the line. I don't do slot machines, play the lottery, or amble up to those spinning wheels at the boardwalk or amusement park. Even if I'm going to lose a dollar, or a quarter, I want to do so knowing that my knowledge or ability had something to do with it. So I don't gamble, generally.


Last weekend, we took Peanut to The Land of Make Believe, a small, low-key amusement park tucked into the mountains of northwest New Jersey. She loves it because she can ride everything there. My Director and I love it because it requires a fraction of the cost and features a fraction of the crowds of a big amusement park, and Peanut's just as happy if not more.

On our way out, we passed the carnival games. Peanut is at an age where she wants implores me to win her something every time. So I try, and more times than not succeed. (Sometimes My Director has more success than I do, as I wrote about HERE.)   I will shoot a basketball, throw a football, toss an oversized wiffle ball into a basket, throw darts, smack a frog onto a lily pad, wield a sledgehammer to prove my considerable strength, and even try my hand at that tricky claw gadget made famous by Toy Story. All games that test your ability. But that wheel of misfortune with the spinning arrow where if it lands in the spot that you place your money on wins you your choice of prize? It's a sucker's bet. A pure gamble based on nothing but chance.  No dice for me, hombré.
The devilish wheel of financial doom tempts an
unsuspecting child with promises of riches for just a quarter.

This day, however, something called me to that devilish wheel of financial doom. "A dollar to play," the skinny, pimple-faced fourteen year-old running the stand squeaked at me in his Peter Brady voice. Peanut didn't even ask me to win her something this time. I just wanted to play. For reasons I can't explain.

"We're just going to put one dollar on Pop," I told Peanut. "For Popsie." Popsie is what she calls my dad, who died four years before she was born. I placed my coin on the square labeled Pop. Peanut pressed the button to start the arrow on its dizzying journey around the wheel. We watched and waited. She pressed it again to slow it down and wouldn't you know, it landed on Pop. For Popsie:

Dead center too.
No doubt about it.
"See?" My Director said. "Another sign." For her effort, Peanut took home a very cuddly pink fish, which she is yet to name. We suggested Pop, or even Dominic, my dad's name. "No," she says. "Those aren't girls names."

Peanut about to go to bed with her
new fish friend. (Name TBA.)
Sorry, dad. We tried to get your name in there one way or another. Thanks for being there, though. Thanks for always being there. Even when we're not looking.

The other sign My Director was referring to took place on our second honeymoon trip in Italy earlier in the summer. I wrote about that HERE.


  1. Love Dad posts. Congrats to all the winners that day my friend

    1. These little reminders are always very comforting.


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