Birthday fun leads to

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

discovering addiction


Published Sept. 17, 1999

Email newsletter signup

I have left the issue of the lottery alone for a long time. But now I want to make three statements concerning the lottery and that will be all. 1) I will vote yes to the lottery bill, 2) I will vote yes because I want my children to have the opportunity to go to college free, and 3) I hope the lottery doesn’t lead to legalized gambling because I can’t even handle AdventureLand. With that said let me tell you why I fear legalized gambling and why I can never go to Las Vegas or Biloxi.

As you read in last week’s column last Saturday was my birthday. What began as any normal day held many surprises. The first was the surprise arrival of my brother and sister-in-law, the second was trying to get a massage and the third was realizing an addiction.

The first is very simple. My parents came to visit for my birthday. When we arrived at the restaurant a white 4X4 pulled up beside us. I looked over and the man driving was grinning like a "donkey" eating briars, and I though what is that fool looking at. Then I realized, hey, that man looks kind of like me, and it was my brother and his wife. And that in itself made my birthday complete, but the day was far from over.

I left in the white 4X4 to pick up my friend Jan so we could go to Bridge Day with my family. Soon after, my parents left and Jan and I went out to find an adventure.

We decided to get out of Troy and headed toward Dothan for some fun. Fun to Jan and myself could easily be sitting in the backyard and watching the grass grow. Everyone has at least one friend like that, the one who makes everything enjoyable.

As we were heading down U.S. 231 in the Cherokee singing along with the Eagles we spotted a sign advertising a spa a few miles down the highway. We joked about getting a massage to relieve the pressure of out high-stress jobs at The Messenger, when soon it was no longer a joke. Jan and I decided to get a short massage as part of my birthday treat.

Now Jan and I never look for trouble but somehow we always find something to get into. We headed into the spa/massage parlor. After the man who entered the building before us went to the back we approached the window to request a 30-minute massage. The woman at the window said o.k. and we went back out to the Jeep to get some cash. As we headed back in, looking forward to the relaxation, another woman stood at the window. She informed us that she was the only masseuse and we would have to call or come back in about two weeks. Then she blabbed something about a steam shower and paste for your face.

By this time Jan and I decided we were somewhere we shouldn’t be. Instead of herbal lotions and soaps, candles and soft music, we were surrounded by a musky/musty aroma mixed with the smell on incense. Instead of candles adding a soft glow to the establishment is was almost suspiciously dark.

When we realized we were not in a spa/massage parlor, but most likely a house of ill repute, we almost knocked each other over trying to get out into the cleansing sunshine and fresh air.

Then we high-tailed it to AdventureLand.

At AdventureLand we played around of putt-putt, spent five tokens in the arcade, sped around the go-cart track, went back to the arcade, spun in circles on the bumperboats, went back to the arcade, left the park to eat dinner and ended up back at the arcade in AdventureLand.

That was pretty much our adventure in a nutshell, except …

In the arcade Jan and I discovered our addiction. Not the Donkey Kong and Pac Man of our earlier young lives, but to a token gambling game.

The idea is to drop a token through a chute and when it lands it should push at least one token into the tray retriever. If it pushes one or more then you have scored big and you have more tokens to spend on other games or try your luck on more tokens. Well, we tried our luck all right, with an undisclosed amount of money.

Soon people began to stare. Shortly there after they began to point and laugh. But Jan and I continued, trying out best to rack up on as many tokens as possible. Soon we were weak with fatigue and hunger, so we left the park for dinner. At the restaurant we first decided to go to the movies, but by the end of our sandwiches we were ready to head back to the games.

A small boy with glasses was trying his luck with token gambling. He wouldn’t move. We stood and stared and tried to edge him out of the way, but were unsuccessful. Finally he moved and we jumped in front of the machine. In a matter of minutes we were broke and tokenless.

And that is how I realized my addiction and why gambling shouldn’t be legalized. I have not made any plans for a recovery program, but boy am I glad AdventureLand is 45 minutes away.

Amy S. Lansdon is the news editor for The Messenger.