Christmas in Atlantic City
Atlantic City. Just those words conjure up such a mix of emotions for me, and likely, a lot of other people. I always get excited when the opportunity arises to take that drive down the Garden State Parkway to the poor man’s Las Vegas. Whenever I leave the city, though, I am full of regret, disappointment, and disgust.
It’s like I’m in an abusive relationship. The Atlantic City lures me down with promises of lavish gifts. I go and then get punched around, lose my money, lose my hope, and lose my lust for life. When I can finally pull myself away from the casino, I feel dirty and taken advantage of. I vow never to return; doing so would just make me a sadomasochist. A couple months later, Atlantic City will send me flowers (or actually just some coupons promising me five bucks in slot money) and I’ll come running back into its abusive arms. This past Christmas was no different.
You may be surprised that I would want to spend my Christmas in such a disgusting place. Don’t worry, I’m Jewish. Christmas is just a free day off from work for me and an excuse to eat Chinese food. For the last few years, it has also been an excuse to go down to Atlantic City with a bunch of Jews for Christmas Eve. As a matter of fact, I spent Halloween there too. Yeah, maybe I have a gambling problem.
Anyway, the Jew Crew and I ate at PF Chang’s at the Tropicana, which was actually my first time eating there. I can’t say I was disappointed. After dinner, I hit the casino, where I quickly lost a good chunk of money. I then won a huge chunk back, which I eventually whittled down to nothing. The next morning, I made a stop at the ATM, and paid the ridiculous Atlantic City surcharge, and hoped to win some money back. After about two and a half hours at the roulette table, I walked away with exactly what I put in. I then went home full of regret, disappointment, and disgust.
On top of my usual financial loss, I was disappointed in this trip for other reasons. Mainly, the dealers at the three casinos we went to (Tropicana, Caesar’s, and Bally’s) all SUCKED. I think maybe the casinos were using the slow holiday business to train their new employees. Because you would think the casinos would be able to hire dealers that know how to play craps, can do simple mathematics, and, most importantly, pass along a stack of chips without knocking them over. Usually the dealers are very professional and top-notch, but not this night. It really was a sad showing.
Aside from the usual disappointment and the surprisingly low-caliber dealers, my latest trip to AC was a lot of fun. Of course, I think I’m only saying that because I’m writing this a week after the fact. Had I written this last Thursday, this entry probably would be a lot more negative and contain a fair amount of curses. But I’ve had my time to heal and reflect. And I can’t wait to go back.
Which should be in February. I’ll let you know how it turns out.