Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sounds to Me Like a Personal Problem

Daily Trivia Question & YES-terday's Answer
Sunday, March 9th, '08 (Hope you remembered to Spring Ahead 1 hour!)
Q:What is Dracula's favorite drink? A: a Bloody Mary (no brainer)
Q: What is Van Helsing's favorite drink? A: tomorrow

Yes, I've decided to add a bit of fun & nonsense to the blog. It came to me like a Bolt from the Blue, since I come up with these punny references, I might as well inflict, er, use them to entertain you, my kind readers. The way my mind works is almost pure free-association unless it's reined in and directed elsewhere. My wife suggests that perhaps I have a bit of that Adult ADD. Perhaps.

The daily trivia question will be daily and far ranging, from Dumb Puns to True Facts (both of those category titles could be considered oxymorons, and one might even be a trivia question itself). And for more True Facts, please check out Randy Cassingham's website: This is True.

Enough of this. On to today's topic.

The headline read: "Problem gambler sues casinos for $20M". My first thought was: "Talk about a long shot!" then today's title popped into my head.

"Sounds to me like a personal problem," was something tossed at the whiner in the group whenever he or she was complaining about something or other. I'm not quite sure where it started, possibly from a teacher that was trying to redirect a student's complaint back to the student. We students of the day were pretty good barracks lawyers (borrowing army slang, here) regarding points on tests, tardies, late homework, etc. I suppose not much has changed in that regard. Making some, if not all, of that problem a 'personal problem' of the student was a way of reminding us to take personal responsibility for the situation, and look for our own solutions.

Which, by the way, is what this blog is about. But I digress ...

The news story goes on to relate that the gambler in question was gambling non-stop (for about five days straight in on instance), passing out in her chips and sustained only by candy bars given to her by staff members.

The woman, a lawyer, had a $500,000 an year law practice that has since gone to pieces, and a current IRS debt of some $58,000.

She contends that the casino had a responsibility to her when it became "obvious" (her word) that she had a problem.

The casino contends that to do so would have interfered with her personal freedom to do as she chooses.

I'm not going to pass judgment on whether the casino had a legal responsibility to save this woman from herself. It might be argued whether they has a moral or ethical obligation to do so, but when has gambling ever been considered moral in the first place?

Just a thought, though, the casinos had no problem with her losing money to them, citing personal freedom. But, whenever (in their opinion) someone is winning too much at the blackjack tables they are accused of being a card counter (which there surely are a few), and shown the door, sometimes even being barred from returning ever again. Certainly they do the same thing if you cannot pay your bill. That seems to be an ethics of convenience (not to say self-interest), and the lawyer might even argue that point in court. But, again, I digress ...

We all need help from time to time to get us out of our personal pits. Our personal choices do come back to haunt us. Sometimes we don't have the strength to take even the first step. However, we need to be willing to choose to be helped, and to put forth the effort when we have it within ourselves to do so. In other words, we have to take personal responsibility for our personal problem before the helpers can truly help us.

What the gambler is contending, in truth, is that the casinos should have played the part of the Good Samaritan, and made sure that she was picked up from where she had fallen. This is, I think, something akin to the fox being asked to guard the hen house. Unreasonable expectations are being placed on the fox, considering the fox's nature.

Where does that take us, then?

In my humble opinion, the casinos (operating in the light of enlightened self-interest) should have ethically cut her off from the tables, at least until she had gotten some rest and regained her senses. Legally speaking, I don't think they have a responsibility to do so. After all, gambling is legal, at least in certain areas, and we generally do not prevent legal adults from partaking in legal pursuits.

It sounds to me like a personal problem. As part of the solution, this gambler should seek out some counseling (if she hasn't already) to help her come to grips with it. Blaming the casino will not help her recovery, except that whatever monetary award she might get from them would help to pay for her treatment.

I'm not belittling a gambling problem. Like any other addiction (and I use the word advisedly) it can take hold of you and drag you down. There was a time, though, when a person had not tried (fill in the blank). A little bit of temptation, a little bit to give in to, and the thing you'd be addicted to tries to give you a positive experience, to keep you coming back. If you do, you're on your way to being hooked. With chemical addictions (nicotine, alcohol, pot ,crack, heroin, etc.) it's worse, of course. Not only are you wanting the good experience again, your body is crying out for the substance that it has adapted to.

I have to admit that I'm lucky. My one addiction is food. I tried alcohol; I didn't give it much of a chance to chemically snag me, and I didn't care for the out-of-control feeling it gave me. Negative feedback, you see. I avoided the other 'gateway' drugs, since they were illegal. But food is another matter.

It's psychological, of course, but if I don't put myself into an "eat to live" frame of mind I can overeat like no one's business. And from time to time you'll see me relating my success, or lack thereof, to keep my weight under control. But, yet again, I've digressed.

Whatever this lawyer's chances in court may be, her personal road to recovery is a 'personal problem', and she will need to deal with it on that level.

If you are in similar straits (and we all are from time to time) you will, too. That's the bad news. The good news? You can do it.

Yes, you can!

No comments: