A casino is a cathedral of dreams. Endless naves of slot machines intersect mammoth transepts of table games, all surrounded by chapels of bars and change booths. A sign over the latter might even read redemption.

Simply walking out onto the floor can be vertiginous. All the flashing and ringing, mirrors, people pulling and rolling and spinning and doubling down. Arcane nickel slots (loosest slots in town!) which only the initiated can voodoo properly, in hope of blessings. Women asleep at the button, weary from a night of pressing their quarter-dollar prayers away.

The sheer intensity of it all forces you to fractalize it, break it down, focus, resolve this single one-armed bandit you're standing in front of out of the bank of billions. It's not a place to absorb any kind of big picture.

Try shutting your eyes. Defocus your hearing and let it all blend. Listen openly, with no expectations.

The casino is singing to you.

You'll hear it. There is one, gigantic, all-pervasive chord vibrating at you. It sounds remarkably like "om".

Sing along. Let your chest barrel out, and get down deep. It's amazingly easy to become one with the casino.

As you walk around the floor, the lower register will tend to drop out and return occasionally, depending on how the local architecture affects the standing waves. Intermittent counter-melodies ring out when the lucky win. Try getting your companions, if you're not a solitary gambler, to add harmonies. Walk around singing your mantra. No one will notice your enlightenment.

Light research shows that all slot machines and their ilk are programmed to emit sounds only in the key of C major, so as to avoid any dissonance which might drive the slot zombies away. There are also reports that the exact blend of tonalities, overall, is a "flatted fifth inside a dominant seventh chord", but I cannot confirm this from personal experience. To me, it was a monolithic C. The observation was reinforced and confirmed in both the Trump Taj Mahal and the Resorts casinos in fair Atlantic City.

Anecdotally, Herbie Hancock was once unable to play a second set during his gig at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut due to his absorption by the chord. Instead he spent hours playing C progressions on a piano. Once you hear it, you can't unhear it.

Fantasies of herding together a clutch of tibetan buddhist monks to chant amongst the gamblers. Perhaps we'd be witness to a spiritual event of cosmic proportions.

If losing money gets you down, and winning money becomes unfulfilling, try losing yourself in the casino om. Ethereal therapy right in downtown Mammon.


anecdote regarding Herbie Hancock retrieved from the weblog of one Sally Taylor at http://www.sallytaylor.com/roadtails_jan01.html

Start at the back of your throat. Slowly push it forward. Make every shape with your mouth. All vowels are one. As we all are one.

You do not simply hear the om. You taste it and feel it. You surround it, as it surrounds the universe. Inside you.

It is a cloud, an aura. It colors your perceptions. You can't isolate it. You try to pinpoint and it slips away, fragments into a hundred reasons and emotions.

You walk the casino and you walk. You see many lights, many jewels, many strange plants on the carpet. You are now open to the thoughts of your fellow humans. You can sense excitement mixed with boredom, desperation mixed with hope, amusement mixed with insanity.

You sense no love. No love.

But that's okay.

If you know it. If you're prepared and not deluded. You can make it out whole.



I walked the rows and I stopped and picked one. This one. Why not, right? A big handle, silver with a black ball on top. That's good, I know what to do with that. I need the touch. I'm tactile. But you know that.

I gambled and I scored. 100-to-1 shot. I felt special. Then I wasted the extra and left with, physically, what I brought. Mentally, I'm changed for the better. I won't get addicted. The most important part is when to leave. That's the secret to winning.





You were not with me in the casino. You taught me something in your absence. By it.

The casino is one long note, with all its harmonics. It's tantra, baby. But you and I are Western. We modulate pitch and increase rhythm, heading toward that earthy pinnacle. Not deep, but steep. Not spiritual, but high.

I knew this could be done with music as well as bodies. But you taught me it was possible with ideas as well. We clash and stir, become lost and confused. We try to match each other but we can't know for sure. Hard anger might be hurt or it might cause it.

Then you speak my thought and all the tangles rush out of me in a wave as we share. Different state of mind now and we float apart. It's okay. I trust you.

No love. No love. I know. No love.

But still. So good.

Thank you.

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