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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

The gods of gambling

BY Sonny Orr Mar 17, 2023

The voice on the radio drones on with another bingo number. I’m not sure how many numbers have been called or how many are left to call out, when we hear the voice declaring someone had won on the previous number. 

Aarrgg! I toss my unlucky dabber into the big pile of used-only-once game dabbers. It’s a good thing I only play when the jackpot is too big for people to handle. They need a big spender like me around, if only I could finally win.

A few minutes pass by on air and then we hear a golden oldie, as the kids call it, written and performed in the long-ago year of 2012. 

I realize that my taste in music has now retreated to an ancient era when lyrics and words were considered important. When having to repeat the same thing more than twice was blasphemy and considered lazy songwriting. The bassist’s beat was just to help stir things up, joined by an occasional guitar riff. 

Life and music were simple yet complicated, as songs had to be written in some sort of secret code that didn’t offend strict laws of free speech. Not an ass was bare, and the excitement at live concerts came from spectacular fireworks.

Finally, the announcer returns with the promise of easy winnings and a lifetime of richness. If only the prices would go down long enough so that any windfall wouldn’t disappear into a few bags of groceries. The voice drones on, another winner is called out and the game continues into the silent night, where nothing stirs but the dabbing hands.

Anyway, trying to get to a topic that affects us all and trying to make anyone laugh about it isn’t as hard as it appears. I lose again and laugh out loud – maybe the next generation will have better luck than I do at games of chance.

The only real gamble, which is more than a sure bet, is the time spent on moulding a young mind into a razor-sharp calculating machine during years of schooling. Yes, betting on our youth is a wiser use of our funds and time. One day, when all the money is used up, the fact that there will be good memories is comforting and good to look forward to. Food on the table and a bed to sleep on are necessities in life. But the mind and soul need nourishment too, so invest in your children wisely. Remember, money only solves money problems.

As I line up with a few other winners to collect the prize I just won at the local radio station, I think of how much I spent to get to this point. Gladly, it isn’t much for me and the winnings make it all good again. Forgetting about the losses is easier now.

The familiar game, with thousands of followers in our lands, brings everyone together, mainly to compete against each other and take their money and put it in your pocket. But no one seems to mind. The fun of winning keeps the spirit alive. 

One day, hopefully the next game, I will return to collect more winnings. I only wish the games would be shorter and more infrequent, making available more valuable family time. For instance, so I can remember that cute baby’s face. Suddenly that cute little child is three years old, and we didn’t notice until it started speaking to us, asking for our attention again. Yes, time goes by too fast to ignore the real world around us.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.