The white flag from my last blog is still flying – well, probably lying limply on the flagpole really – although it might be a little larger now. Things are spiralling out of control.
That last blog missed out another cross I have had to bear for years. In addition to being consistently alone, no love life, no sex life, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and back pain, there is the gambling. I would just qualify that by saying I have never been into a betting shop in my life. It is slot machines that have done for me, and, as is entirely appropriate, it is a loner’s disease.
That first started when I was just 18. At 16 I started playing football for the British Legion in a Saturday League. I say play but usually I was an unused substitute. We met at the British Legion club and went to games from there. As such when I was 18 I joined the British Legion but only for one reason – to play on the snooker tables. I was a starter and rubbish at the game so mostly I played with a guy from work who had introduced me to the football team in the first place and joined the club when I did. They had two fruit machines. 10p a go with a £100 jackpot and on a Friday we would just have 50p each on them. However, Fate had Dastardly plans for me, or maybe I was just a Dick. One day I went into the club at lunchtime. There were two snooker tables, and one was being played on by a foursome and the other was empty. There was a board to write down your name if you were waiting for a game. I wrote my name down and one of the guys playing looked up. “I don’t know why you’ve put your name up there. None of us are going to play you.” I was a bit upset by this putdown and to hide my embarrassment I started playing the machines.
That then was the start, and it has never stopped. At the beginning it was just a few pounds but over the years I have spent thousands. Today in an amusement arcade the jackpot is £500 with the stake £1 or even £2. It is quite easy to lose over £500 in less than an hour.
The threat is not constant. The longest period I have lasted on will power alone is two years, but Will Power left this place in February when my clock turned over and I don’t think he’s coming back. Years ago, in my 20’s, I went to Gamblers Anonymous, but I only went once. The gist of that first meeting was that once a gambler always a gambler and a gambler could not have access to their own money. I had been away from home for a few months so was fending for myself and having the pursestrings held by someone else was out. I also had some sessions via Gam Care more recently but still quite a few years ago. That was a bust too because they are treating the symptom and not the root cause. As I said it is a loner’s disease and it is my hell of an existence that pushes me into gambling. In the very brief two periods I was in a relationship – before being toyed with and left needing therapy – I never once thought of gambling.
The result of all this is that I have never had any savings. I have never defaulted on my mortgage, a loan payment or any other bill but I never have any spare money.
Gambling used to give me a buzz but not now. It is just something to do and I always feel bad afterwards and a lot of time whilst playing.
As I said in ‘White Flag’ I have nothing going for me now and the future holds nothing either. I always want to turn back the clock and start again, which is why I wrote ‘Rewind’. Looking the other way though, to the future, I see nothing.
I am never going to be a bestseller now. What chance have I of getting an agent now? Without one what is my reach? There are about 500 people in the Group I work for, most of them do not know me but let’s assume they do. On Twitter I have 600 followers and most of these are Wordlers from the league I co-manage or other writers. Interaction with all these is extremely limited and I only talk regularly to a few but let us assume the full total. On Facebook I have 28 friends but again interaction is almost nil except for the few greetings I get on my birthday. A maximum potential reach then of 1128. If they all bought a book I would earn less than £1,000. I have written at least two good books according to the public – Rewind and Once Upon A Week – but I am not famous so no agent will look at me.
I am never going to meet me better half either. Years and numerous ignored messages on dating sites have shown me this.
In the years to come, when I eventually retire, I will be stuck in this flat – I have wanted out of for years – because I cannot afford anywhere better. My pension is being eaten away so I will have little money either – no savings remember – and private medical will finish so I will be at the mercy of the NHS.
What is my current existence? Work – just managing to keep on top of this with the tiredness and lethargy – and TV, which is my only escape. I did for a short while interact more with Twitter – hashtag games, quizzes, imparting witty comments where I could spot them and the ‘Pointless’ gang when watching the programme – but since February that has all gone by the wayside, other than the Wordle League. Monotony and melancholy with the odd bout of financial self-destruction.
I must have been very bad in a past life, except I don’t believe in that stuff. However, I just found this out. People used to believe an old English poem that stated a child born on a certain day would have a life full of bad luck and trouble. We have all heard this but I didn’t know what it meant before today. Wednesday’s child is full of woe. The line came into my head and so I looked up my birth date. I never knew – I was born on a Wednesday.