Wheel of Fortune and the Angel in the Casino

Throughout my life, from time to time, I have been graced by the presence of angels.

An Angel

Mind you, I have never gotten to see them, but they have whispered to me.  Sometimes, the tickle of their breath against my ear has sent shivers down my spine.  One night when I was young I heard them singing and I was stunned by the perfection of the harmony of their choir.  My bedroom window actually rattled with the lower notes.  There was no mistaking it for any hallucination.  It was spine tingling.  I could hear both the blended choir and each individual voice, simultaneously.  I told my mother about it the next morning, but she remained clearly skeptical of me.   Years later, as she drove home late at night on Sunrise Highway, she heard it too.  They were so loud that her car windows rattled.  It freaked her out, but I was forever vindicated when she shakily apologized to me for thinking me daft.

But what does this have to do with Roulette?  Or Howard Hughes?

We were all quite broke, the four of us.  Richard Hughes called his adoptive parents who were living on social security and shamefully begged them for money.  The rent was overdue, the car payment was about to be due, and there was no food.  The money arrived the next day via Western Union.  Richard handed me the  crisp $100 bill and said “Here, take this to a casino and see if you can run it up.  If you lose it, it’s ok.”

Well, no, if I lost it, it wouldn’t be ok, not at all.  I reluctantly took hold of the bill and set out on my mission.  The other three remained at the apartment.

I decided to go to the Stardust  ….

I sat down in my favorite spot and cashed in the entire $100 requesting $5 chips which were pushed toward me in a neat stack.  I looked at my scrawny stash and I felt my heart sink; only twenty precious chips and no room for error.  The nearly crushing pressure of such overwhelming responsibility had me trembling with fear.  But I knew better than to play like that, so I fixed my stare on the spinning wheel, slowed my breathing down and silently asked to be given a number.  Getting myself to a level of deep relaxation was key.

Suddenly, I was out of my body, floating close to the ceiling, looking down at the wheel, the table, the lady to my left, the stacks of chips, ash trays and cocktail glasses, and other players at the far end of the table.  The dealer released the ball and it sped around the wheel.  Then the voice came in the usual soft whisper from my left side…”seven”, it told me. I willed my body to pluck a single, precious five dollar chip from my stack and placed it on seven…and seven it was.  Pay the lady….$5 x 35.  I watched myself reach out and take the chips.  Then the voice softly spoke the next roll…ten.  If only I had done what I saw Craig do…reinvest the bet…if only.  But instead,  I drew a single $5 chip and slid it over number 10…pay the lady, $5 x 35.

But then there came a silence, a terrible silence.  I was puzzled by the silence.  What is the number?  O or OO, no doubt.  I did not place a bet that roll and the number was OO.  Nobody had covered the zeros on that roll…house takes all.

The dealer swept the table with his arms and quickly gathered up all the chips and rapidly stacked them…but I had no chips among them, having withheld my bet.  And then the voice spoke to me one last time.  Again, I bet just a single $5 chip…and again, pay the lady.  But then, something dreadful happened.  The woman seated to my immediate left finally noticed that I was betting  just a single chip each roll and hitting every time.  She became excited and stretched to be ready to follow my next bet but as she stretched, her ample bosom knocked over my pool of stacked chips and the noise of the cascade broke my “float”.

I fell back into my body with a thud, turned and scowled at the woman, and then angrily demanded to cash out.  I was so angry!   But I knew that I had covered the rent and the car and that there would be plenty left to buy food for awhile.  My fury turned to gratitude by the time I reached the apartment.  That money brought such relief to everyone.

From an edition of Boccaccio's De Casibus Viro...

Boccaccio’s Lady Fortune

Had I the utter, unshakable faith that Craig had, had I kept on reinvesting the bet, everything would have been different.  But I didn’t. Even heaven couldn’t save me from my own fear.  Mastering that lesson lay well in the future.  The universe just keeps handing you the same lesson over and over again until you conquer it, at which point it calls up the next big lesson and the game begins anew.

Ultimately, the only thing that any of us has the potential to control is our own personal consciousness, our own personal fears, and how we go about the business of our own personal growth.  The universe will always grab hold of our greatest fears and shove them in our face.  That, my friends, is the basic program that runs silently in the background as the wheel of life spins round and round.  What are your deepest fears and what will you do with them?  How will you play the hand that you are dealt?

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