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The Odds are 1 in 4.92

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“…here is not the world. Here is a place where there is no work or homework, where people do not judge each other, and where they do not…

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The Casino Always Wins

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A Short History Lesson Before I Lose My Nerve

Let’s talk about Love. That’s a broad topic, I’ll narrow it down. Not the fluttery feeling that comes when you see that special someone. Not the guy who lived in my apartment complex and gave me cigarettes while we talked about rock and roll music and deadbeat dads. I’m talking about a land of enchantment in south Central Oklahoma — Love County. With exotic locales like the cities of Thackerville, Leon, and the county seat, Marietta.

I know what you’re screaming, dear reader, I know — “THACKERVILLE?!? DID YOU SAY ROME?!?”

If only the ancient Romans had duct tape…Photo by David Köhler on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY MADRID?” You’d inject, dear reader — you there, with 10 fingers.

Did you know that Schweppes is the Spanish word for “cream-filled sandwich cookie”? Photo by Alberto Restifo on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear whole-handed reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY VIENNA?” You’d insert, dear reader — you there, with the shirt.

Franz, who was feeling a little upside down tried to visit the famous church, Karlskirche, but when he tried to enter, he got all wet. Photo by Laurenz Kleinheider on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear decent reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY LONDON?” You’d hurl bilelessly, dear reader — you there, on your mobile telephone.

Jasper took the newspaper with him as he left the red “port-a-loo”. Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear Millennial reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY BEIJING?” You’d query thoughtfully, dear reader — you there, with the popcorn.

Vassal: “My lord, the barbarian hordes are encroaching on our northern border, our people are in grave peril!” Emporer: “Let’s build a virtual wall with drone surveillance and LIDAR scanners!” Vassal: “My lord, that technology won’t be available for another 600 years! Even then they won’t use it.” Photo by Hao Zhang on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear snacktime reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY PARIS?” You’d bark, dear reader, you there, with the brown hair.

Do you suppose that there is a “Louvre County”? Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear brunette reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY CAIRO?” You’d demand, dear reader — you there, with the drink in your hand

Pyramid: “what’s that smell?” Sphinx: “What’s a ‘smell’?” Photo by José Ignacio Pompé on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear thirsty reader. But, now that you mention it…

“DID YOU SAY NEW YORK?” You’d inquire, dear reader — yes, you there, the individual stuck to the earth.

Linus was overcome by simultaneous urges to purchase an overpriced phone, fly on a broomstick, drink sugar, attend musical theater, and open a bank account. Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

…Um, not exactly, dear terrestrial dweller. But, now that you mention it…

Finally, having addressed a representative sampling of (dear) readers, the inquisition stops.

I study each of you — The one with the fingers, that one person who’s stuck to the planet, the individual with the beverage, the beast with brown hair. And even you, you wretched Millennial.

I carefully inspect the snacker, as s/he chats with the properly socialized owner of the tunic. Unto you all I say. “Yes. In a manner of speaking I, indeed did say Rome, Madrid, Vienna, London, Beijing, Paris, Cairo and New York.”

This is true — Winstar World Casino, much touted as the “world’s largest casino” (a fact confirmed by, has over 600,000 ft² of machines and schemes designed with the express purpose of taking your money. It also stands in for the beacons of civilization mentioned above for those lacking the means and/or desire to reach the real thing.


“Come on! Big money, no whammies! no whammies! STOP!!!” Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

Naturally, we need to go to Georgia in 1832 to begin to grasp why this should be.

In the Cherokee capital of New Echota — in Northwest Georgia, upstart missionary honky Samuel Worcester (that’s pronounced “wooster”. To my everlasting shame I spent two years as an eighth-grade history teacher saying “wor-chester” *shame spiral*) had the “unmitigated temerity”¹ to advocate for the Cherokee on the eve of a great upheaval (Indian removal — the cause of the Trail of Tears).

The state of Georgia suspected that Worcester (remember, say “wooster”) was rousing rabble. The governor, a real swell guy named George Gilmer, said something like “that dog won’t hunt, Sammy” and rallied the state and “passed an act that forbade “white persons” from living on Cherokee lands unless they obtained a license from the governor of Georgia and swore an oath of loyalty to the state.”

Worcester and a few of his buddies had been invited by the Cherokee to stay there and wouldn’t budge. So he got thrown in the clink.

Worcester held out and took his case to legendary Chief Justice John Marshall and his superfriends on the US Supreme Court.

I think I see Princess Laia in the background coming to free the good judge from the carbonite.Photo by ipse dixit on Unsplash

In an unprecedented show of setting precedent, Marshall declared that states had no authority on tribal lands, thereby overturning the Worcester conviction and reinforcing the doctrine of tribal sovereignty.

About 16 minutes (Google Maps doesn’t have a horse/carriage option, so I assume a horse was the 1832 equivalent of a bike) to the east northeast, a cantankerous fella named Andrew declared (apocryphally, most assuredly)

“John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it!”

in the general direction of Chief Justice John Marshall

In other words, Marshall was reinforcing the doctrine of tribal sovereignty. But you can’t really REinforce something that has not been enforced.

Here is a simple analogy that explains how it was supposed to work– Indian reservations are like your older sibling’s room. It is part of a larger household (i.e. the United States), and can be subject to parental oversight, but the sibling is largely allowed to do what s/he fancies. Make no mistake, you (a state, like Georgia) have no authority or jurisdiction there. Your dad (the chief justice) makes it very clear that that space belongs to your sibling. Thing is, your sibling has a supersweet stereo that can shuffle FIVE CDs(!), so you invade the room, your mom (the president) catches you, but instead of punishing you, she encourages you. She says, “if your father wants you out, he can come get you.” Then you both proceed to steal all the CDs and the stereo, etc.

This, young people, is called a “compact disc” — often shortened to “CD”. This hunk of plastic would spin around on the table while a needle on a long arm fondled its grooves 😀 and made delightful sounds; such as “Oops…I Did It Again.” by Britney Spears and “Who Let the Dogs out?” by Baha Men. Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

I’m going to stop here and loudly proclaim that I don’t like this article one little bit. I’ll probably finish it at some point, but I think that “Resistance” as Stephen Pressfield calls it, is having its way with me. For those who have not read Pressfield’s War of Art, “Resistance” is the name he gives to the voice we all have that tells us we can’t do it, that we will fail. It’s the sudden and all-encompassing urge to do the dishes when you are in the zone — writing from the balls of your feet. Once a word leaves your brain, it’s automatically followed by the next word.

You see, dear reader, I see writing success for myself. That scares me.

I’ve always known about this fear, but I guess that, as I approach the dream of writing for a living, Resistance does its best to make my writing suck. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’m doing a thirty day stretch of writing 300 to 500 words a day. What you are reading now is me telling Resistance that it might can steal my wit and writing prowess, but I won’t let it steal my work ethic.

This is going to work because the above gooblygock is kind of like struggling through life with a brain injury, it isn’t pretty, but I’m getting through it.

They can’t all be winners…

To be continued…


A Short History Lesson Before I Lose My Nerve was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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