8 to 80, Crippled or Crazy
It was seven years after I had a paralyzing stroke that left me with a lingering limp when my sister, my mother and I decided it was time for a “girls trip”. We took off for Atlantic City, NJ where there isn’t much to do other than gamble in the casinos.
When we got there, I was suddenly having more trouble walking than usual due to a sore spot on my still paralyzed left foot. I decided it would be better for me to get around in the hotel’s wheelchair instead of struggling, so we borrowed it and my 75 year old mother pushed me all over the hotel and casino. I wasn’t accustomed to being in a wheelchair, seeing everyone at waist level.
I am not a big gambler, but my mother enjoys it quite a bit. I figured “when in Rome”, so we ventured into the casino.
I have long had a hunch about betting on “number 9, red” on the roullette table since I had years ago told my former husband to try that bet when he was in the casino once without me. He hesitated, and of course the ball landed on number 9 red. Since that missed opportunity, whenever the chance presented itself to try again, I would bet on that number to no avail.
I was feeling very out of sorts being off my feet in the casino with my Mom and my sister so I decided to try my luck for the hell of it. Mom pushed me over to the roulette table, which also happens to be one of her favorite games, and I put a chip on 9, red. Of course I got sucked in to the game and proceeded to continue playing after missing on 9 red. There was a man playing next to us and he was quite enthusiastic. He started to ask me for “tips” on his bets, and I played along. Sometimes he would win a little, but nothing big. It seemed he was getting supersitious about my being there to give him tips for betting. People can get a little crazy when they gamble. I kind of liked playing with someone else’s money.
In short order, I got bored sitting there. It was still early in the evening. We bid goodnight to the gambler who was counting on me for luck when he said to me “So, what are you doing later?” It took me a minute to calculate that he was flirting with me, having been out of the game for so many years. I think I was taken aback due to the fact that I was sitting in a wheelchair with my elderly mother standing behind me, too. My first thought was “I’m going to sleep later”. Did he think I was going dancing, or something?
My father uses an old expression to describe the type of women he finds attractive: “8–80, crippled or crazy”. I remember sitting in that wheelchair with a man coming onto me thinking, I guess Dad wasn’t totally kidding.