If you’re playing a poker game and can’t tell who the sucker is around the table — it’s you. Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich – something for nothing. And Atlantic City is like a crab, crawling backward in search of the ocean… and missing! And now back to being Gay…

One night under the low lights of a noisy tavern this young, vivacious woman with laughing eyes from Texas was explaining how she had logically, strategically and mathematically determined to move from Dallas to Philadelphia. That is instead of some of the other venues she was considering to start a new life.

I marveled. I was impressed. Entranced. And aroused — in parts that usually require a whole bottle of Viagra. But in the next breath, and in the same sequence, she then explained how she also resolved she was much happier being Gay.

“I decided that I am definitely a lesbian,” she said, blowing a satisfied smile my way like exhaling on a cigarette.

Oy-vey-iz-mir! Such is my fate. My ebullience was leaking… Dive!… Dive!… Going flaccid!

And then her ‘mate’ strolled up to our barstools. And va-va-va-voom! Put me in coach: I WANT sum!

Yum-yum!

So I wrapped an arm around each of them and boldly announced: ‘What a coincidence — I, too, am a lesbian!’

But of course!

It didn’t work. Even when I begged, pitifully, to be allowed to sleep between them. With amusement dancing in their devilish eyes they said they’d consider it.

No doubt right after they’ve solved world hunger.

Alas…alack…

You know, the older I get the more I wish I was bi-sexual. Not only would it double my diminishing chances it would just make life easier. I mean, compared to women, men are always ‘semper paratus.’ (For you folks struggling with your pig–Latin that’s ‘always ready’).

However, G-d didn’t make me that way. And I have to wonder: Does that mean HE loves me more… or less… or, more-or-less… Because bisexuals get more… while I keep getting less… and less… and less…

Hmm…

What the hell. What duh hell. What duh heck. Hang myself up by duh neck.

And I got to thinking about all this the other day while blowing smoke at the best little cigar shop in South Philadelphia – the Twin Shoppe. Some of ‘duh boys’ dere were caterwauling about Atlantic City designating an official Gay (LGBT) beach. Actually re-designating it with a rainbow flag where it was before, some 50 years ago, just off the iconic — as well as America’s first – Boardwalk.

What perplexed me was that duh boys were puffing mighty hard on this.
I mean, look at all the other stuff in the news these days: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, POW Sgt. Bergdahl, Russia, Ukraine, Hillary’s new book, Nigeria, World Cup, Afghanistan, VA Hospitals, the Taliban, IRS missing files, the latest heat wave, and a whole bunch of even more stuff. And there they were yapping and flapping about Atlantic City’s first openly gay mayor designating the second most valuable place on the Monopoly board, Park Place, as the latest LGBT sandbox.

Sheeesh! I have long known that it is part of G-d’s plan for me to spend more than a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth – particularly when I am absolutely alone. But, as they sang in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’: What’s the fuss, what’s all the happening?

Hmm…

With the gaming industry struggling, Atlantic City seems more than ready to make a case for its gay moment in the sun.

“But why do they need to have a beach designated for gays?” snorted Gary the good-looking cop who’s never seen a reflection he didn’t admire. He was echoing some of the angst on the morning talk-radio shows. And remember the two things cops, like Gary, hate most are the way things are, and change. “So why don’t they designate a beach for straights? And how about a beach designated for cigar smokers.”

“And how about a nude beach,” chimed in Teddy.

Hmm… I think bent and hobbled Teddy ought to borrow one of Gary’s mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who’s-the-fairest-of-them-all.

As for me, I am for all of it.

Sort of.

After all, we’re talking about Atlantic City. It was once dubbed The World’s Playground. Where everything from health to hellacious could be gotten between the fudge and salt water taffy. Then it choked, turned colors and dropped deader than an autumn leaf for years before its reincarnation with gambling in 1978.

And that was like jumping in bed between the devils – casinos. They grabbed money and politicians went to jail. But soon everybody everywhere (including Philadelphia, its closest major city just 60 miles up the Atlantic City Expressway) grabbed a piece of the gambling revenues with their own casinos. And Atlantic City found itself struggling and stranded once more – with many of its dozen gambling meccas losing money.

Hmm…

So when Keith, my bartender at Grumpy’s, asked again: “Why do they need to push this in our face. Designate a beach just for Gays? They don’t do that for other people.”

And all I could reply to Keith, who’s been on a lucky streak of late on the slots at Philadelphia’s casino: “It’s a gamble, Keith. And once you start gambling you never stop to think why 7 other horses are always beating mine. Now Atlantic City is betting Gay will bring in folks to play.”

Like the mayor said: “It represents Atlantic City coming of age. Atlantic City’s been gay-friendly for a long time. We just had to welcome them back.”

Then again, really? I understand the tide has turned – and you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

But… having worked in Atlantic City in my early days of journalism, and considering its rather colorful and checkered history as represented on TV’s “Boardwalk Empire,” I’ve got to say it’s always reminded me of a crab… crawling backward in search of the ocean… and missing. That’s the way the mind of man seems to operate there since the horse started jumping off Steele Pier.

Folks used to come by train and stay for weeks. That is until after WWII, when would-be tourists got cars, and jets started soaring people to island destinations. And Atlantic City didn’t adjust. Just like it didn’t adjust when places like LasVegas reoriented and reinvented themselves as destination resorts for the entire family.

Everybody in the tattered World’s Playground just wanted to grab a fist full of dollars. No one was being smart. They got to thinking that the gambling halls may struggle, but they’ll always be in business. Then one or two closed. And then the monolithic $2.4 billion Revel, with its 1,399 hotel rooms and a mammoth casino built to hold a whopping 13,140 gamblers filed for bankruptcy after being open only two years.

Atlantic City can’t bet on the weather. So they’re betting the Gay parade will march in and do for them what it did for places like Asbury Park (New Jersey). And Rehoboth (Delaware). Stonewall in New York. Provincetown. Fort Lauderdale…

But isn’t that how gambling got so diluted in the first place — everybody seeking the same poker players who can hold only so many cards. And instead of — like capitalism – blessing a few, it’s gotten more like socialism where everybody is miserable together.

Hmm…

Gays probably never knew they’d get so ‘lucky’ and in such demand to rescue the macho, straight world. Particularly since Atlantic City casinos and hotels stepped up targeted-marketing to gay and lesbian tourists after gay marriage was legalized last fall in New Jersey.

Look… when you make a bet, you’re saying something. But one way to stop a runaway horse is to bet on him. And a long-time Atlantic City friend and journalist used to tell me that ‘if Mother Teresa had come to town I don’t think she would have started playing blackjack.’

There are many harsh lessons to be learned from the gambling experience, but the harshest one of all is the difference between having Fun and being Smart. While perfection is the child of time, it’s is one thing to re-invite the Gays back to help save the parade down the Boardwalk. But it’s quite another to perfect a solution with what’s everybody else is already doing.

Hmm…

As that genius once proclaimed: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To put it yet another way: In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. And when you go to Atlantic City, who wants to be normal?!

And like the girl from Dallas, if you want people to place their bets on you, then you’ve got to put yourself in a different place… and embrace it.

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

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