Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I think I have a gambling problem

[Hm, title's vaguely reminiscent of that "My Drinking Team has a Skiing Problem" t-shirt.]

A couple years ago, the Vancouver radio station of "my generation", Z95.3, introduced a novel radio contest called ZFX. It quickly gained popularity, as callers called in to try and guess the "zed-effect", a short sound clip that callers identified to win cash. Each time a caller got it wrong, the jackpot was increased by $500. When caller #9 got it right, he got the jackpot, and a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I never thought much of it at the time.

Then, exactly 2 weeks ago, my life changed drastically.

While driving to my parents', a suave, recorded radio announcer came on: "Do YOU know what THIS is? *schwap ting ting* Call now to make your guess." Heehee, silly ZFX, I thought. Then, out of nowhere, flash boom bang, an image, clear as day, popped into my head. A sink. A bathroom sink. And pushing down on the metal plunger thingie to unplug it. Luckily, the mental blindness quickly faded, as I was doing 80 km/h down Lougheed and really should've be focusing on staying between those white and yellow lines, not some divine revelation.

$11,500. That's how much the caller who *did* call didn't win. I mused to myself how the answer was so obvious. Somehow, I was extremely sure of my answer. How could it be that no one had guessed it yet? I checked out the Discover Vancouver forum and sure enough, the list of guesses did not include "unplugging a bathroom sink." Curious.

That night, I hooked up a radio and waiting for the announcement to call in. Busy signals, busy signals, and more busy signals. Gah. But you see, I am not one to give up. I'm tenacious. And as the days passed and the jackpot grew bigger and bigger, I didn't miss a beat. Four times a day, Z DJ's ask listeners to call in and guess. Four times a day, I was on my phone, hitting Redial.

It got pretty bad. By bad, I mean I took 5 min "bathroom breaks" from CMPT 418 class to plug into my AM/FM radio and dial in. At 6:30am, despite going to bed at 1, I hopped out of bed, turned on the radio and sat, patiently waiting for the Morning Crew to open up the Z-lines. One time, Kelly Grant answered the phone and told me I was Caller #7, thanks for playing. I think I just about had an aneurysm.

I've had dreams about winning. That's right, plural. Dreams. But here's the kicker: See, my cell phone plan is Fido's by-the-minute Pay As You Go. The radio station has 5 lines (I've done my homework), and when they're full, you either get a busy signal or an automatic answering machine saying that the lines are full. Thus, when I use my cell phone to call (ie. every time) and get the answering machine, I pay for a full minute of air time. And then I hit the send button twice and try again.

The result? My cell phone has become a virtual slot machine, where a chance at a thousand-dollar jackpot costs 15 cents of Fido air time. Sometimes, even when I'm sure the time has passed and it's probably too late to possibly get through, I still redial and pay the 15 cents for the sake of "But maybe THIS time I'll win."

Gambling is against my religion. Gambling leads to greed, yes, even if the money would go towards helping a special someone move to Canada.

And thus, with all the facts finally set in front of me like a burning sceptre of truth, I can come to only one conclusion:

Z Effects. Is Satan.


Noah said...

And now you've posted the secret of the sound on the big bad internet!

Angelica said...

Maybe they'll share their winnings with me.

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casinos and gambling said...

Hmmm... I think that it's only a question of will. I quit smoking after many many years. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I practice online gambling but I can hold my gambling, if I can say so. You just need to have the will to control it.

Dynamite said...

Well.. that is a form of gambling abuse, but it's not as costly as other ways. The government needs to educate their citizens on the ills of gambling instead of trying to monopolize the industry or restrict certain games or internet use.