I am a gambler

I am a gambler

Different cultures have widely varying views on different things. It is fascinating and refreshing, not to mention highly educational when you come to realize that.

For instance, in Sweden we have something of a love affair with alcohol. A real man should be able to drink like hell, and part of the women’s liberation movement meant that women started to smoke and drink like hell as well!

About a hundred years ago it was commonplace to receive part of your salary in alcohol. In fact in many cases this was even a requirement. Can you imagine a manager today who provides a bonus for an online casino as part of their salary to their employees? Or employees that demand 200 Free Spins as part of their remuneration?

It is not only okay to drink yourself into oblivion in Sweden, what you do when drunk also doesn’t really count. To paw at someone’s breast or hit someone in the face when drunk is soon forgiven within the social circle where the incident took place itself. But if the same were done when sober it would never be accepted, which, I might add, is the way it should be.

When I was an exchange student in Mississippi everyone thought I was completely loco for drinking pure vodka. For their part my peers smoked weed to get the same buzz. In Sweden the situation was pretty much the reverse case - everybody drank pure vodka but the person who smoked weed was instantly rejected as completely off the rails, and a drug addict to boot.

There is no doubt that it is society’s norms and values which decide reactions to specific acts, albeit without society’s ‘sheeple’ realizing it.

In Mississippi everyone ‘knew’ that God existed. “Do you believe in God?” was a question that wasn’t even understood in the European sense. But in Sweden religious people are actually looked down on by certain segments of the population.

Can it be that different?

I am a gambler. I have always liked playing. Ever since my father took out a deck of playing cards when I was 5 years old, in fact. I have played every card game that exists, from Gin Rummy to Go Fish, plus all other games you can think of, from Chess to Guess Who? I even have a silver medal from the time I partook in the Swedish Monopoly championship!

Summer memories for me consist of the sound of rain on the windows and a pack of cards so used, it couldn’t be shuffled anymore because of the worn out edges…

I played the national lottery because nobody told me there was an age limit. I played on the Swedish Oddset when it was launched. I went to the track and betted on horses.

I have always played and placed bets. On everything. For one simple reason - I think it is fun.

Playing and gambling is a form of entertainment. But in Sweden it seems that the Government actually wants you to be ashamed for being a gambler.

But do you know what? I’m not ashamed…

For most people, any games cost money in some way or other. The bet is just the spice that gives a bit more excitement. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. Almost all entertainment costs money.

To eat at a restaurant, going to the movies, visiting a museum — almost everything costs money. Why would it be wrong to single out putting money on games as being wrong?

Of course it isn’t. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to live your life!

There are many of us that like to play, both to relax and to be entertained, and in many cases the simple cause is purely social.

So get out of the closet and tell it like it is. You have nothing to be ashamed about!

Say with me: ‘I am a gambler’…


Written by Ken Lennaárd.