My Gambling Addiction is Making Me Fat
By Jeffrey Kieviet
I was afraid this was going to happen. I try and I plan but no matter what I do, short fiction tends to elude me. But hey, at least I’ve written something. And to be fair, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Finally opened my new show (Ravens & Writing Desks, playing through all of August at the Garage Theatre in Long Beach) & I’ve started rehearsals for an October horror show at Stages in Fullerton: The Woman in Black! It’s a real creepy play, perfect for Halloween, but I’m sure you’ll hear more about it in the coming weeks. If you do not live in the Orange County area, I recommend booking plane flights now, tickets will sell out. And that’s not me being modest; this is the remount of a wildly popular ghost story. But I digress. Hopefully Part III of A Lifetime Ago will be prepared for publication by next week. For now, let’s talk about McDonalds.
I hate McDonalds. I haven’t eaten there in many years. I think the last time was after a conversation about Big Macs and I thought to myself, “Self, how bad can they be? You ate several hundred as a child, McNuggets turned you into the strapping young lad you are today, and you spent an entire day in France trying to find a McDonalds to verify the Quarter Pounder vs Royal with Cheese scene in Pulp Fiction (Tarantino was right, I got myself a Royale with Cheese & Bacon, I live the good life).” Really, how bad could they be? If you haven’t had a Big Mac recently, they’re disgusting. The meat is honey-baked cardboard, the special sauce isn’t special (unless you’re talking helmet-on-the-playground kind of special), and I wouldn’t feed the lettuce to my most hated hamster (don’t worry Casey, I’m not piggy-backing on your Arkham legends).
I’ll be the first to admit it: I have an addictive personality. Be it comic books, a new band, Breaking Bad, or things even more detrimental to my mind, body, and pocket book, if I enjoy it, I abuse it. When I go to Las Vegas, I have to predetermine the exact amount of money I intend to lose. And that’s it. I have to view it as spending the money for the experience of gambling. Otherwise, if for even half a heartbeat I feel like I can win, I’ll end up broke, homeless, and in my underwear in the middle of the blackjack table. The underwear is my choice, I don’t think I’d actually gamble my clothes, but if I were to achieve the fullest extent of my gambling addiction, stripping down to my skivvies would be the least of my worries.
One of my favorite (if not necessarily fondest) memories is when I spent hours in the basement of an old man’s house. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. My mom’s first husband was a well-off individual. “Rich” and “wealthy” would be better words. And “is,” not “was.” Dude still plays the stock market like a nerd in Super Mario World. He crushes Bowser with stacks of Benjamins. Any-who, he had this sweet pad near the beach, and in the epic basement there was a slot machine. And since it was “free to play,” I would spend hours pulling the lever, watching the wheels spin, the lights glow, and hearing the alarm ring. I think I won like five bucks in nickels, which I feel like I probably gave back since it wasn’t my money. It wasn’t about winning the dough; it was just about winning; beating the house: the nice, fancy house of my mom’s rich friend.
So let’s jump back to the McDonalds. While I’m not a fan of the clown’s fast food, that is not to say I eat healthy. Sure, I try to throw onions & tomatoes on my sandwiches & a stalk of broccoli with my potato salad (and potatoes are vegetables too, I don’t care what science says), & I always get supreme pizza to make sure I get my daily intake of olives & bell peppers. But I can put down a Little Caesar’s $5 Hot-N-Ready by myself in a single sitting, And Jack-in-the-Box’s Hot Mess lived up to it’s name ten times over. So life being the way it is, and I being disgruntled, I ended up a McDonalds to purchase some fries and a drink. Much to my surprise, I found those classic Monopoly peel-offs adorning my food. And it proclaimed the odds would ever be in my favor; 1-in-4 wins. I had 6 and didn’t win squat, but I did have half of the million-dollar prize: Park Place. And how hard could it be to win Boardwalk?
I went from Micky D’s once every few years to several visits over the next week. The pieces come on all of my hated favorites: Big Macs, McMuffins, McNuggets… you even get 4 pieces on a Large Fry. That means you should be able to at least get a free ticket for more fries (1-in-4, baby!). I began to shovel my face with the Hambergler’s excrement; pink slime was the base of my food pyramid. And even though they have any size drink for $1, I would always go with Medium because that’s where my golden ticket lay. I got a couple of the Railroads (I could win free gas for a year! And I drive a lot), I picked up 2/3 of the Fiat (may not be the best car in the world, but a FREE BRAND NEW CAR always sounds good), and I’ve won enough free Medium French Fry & McFrappes to feed the nation of… one of those poor, hungry nations. Phlegmohelia? Is that even a real place?
Avoiding Jared’s magic weight-loss inducing Subway sandwiches, I would favor the new Egg White Delite on my way to work. These things are killing me. I can feel the McGrease coursing through my veins, my hair is growing out in bleeding red curls, and my Grimaced eyes shake googly in my head.
Most addictions come with side effects and compound addictions. Boozing risks your daily commute from bar to home (& vice versa if your a true fan of Sailor Jerry’s), porn addiction leads to hilarious awkward situation comedy (anyone else excited for Joey Gordon Levitt’s Don Jon? I always loved 3rd Rock from the Sun) , and a gambling addiction tends to lead to being tied up in the back room of a casino while Lawrence Fishburn punches your face into pink slime (was that one of the Ocean’s 11 movies? I think Kevin Spacy was in it). But McDonald’s is worse than them all. What was an innocent game of Monopoly (I know, Monopoly is never innocent. I once stole my grandma’s purse until she relented her “Get Out of Jail Free” card) has turned into me becoming a regular McDonald’s customer. I must find something new to replace this heinous addiction. Anyone know a good crack dealer? Or should I go directly to Ronald?