Vegas will teach you.
If you want to know someone’s true nature; how they will really act in any given situation, take them to Vegas.
I used to have a policy that I wouldn’t get into business with someone unless we’d been to Vegas and played blackjack together. Everyone thought it was just me being wild and crazy or requiring some weird, partying rite of passage.
But I learned everything I needed to know about them, their business practices and how they would handle complicated situations, by watching them place bets and make moves.
How risk averse are you? How calm are you when a lot is at stake? How willing are you to press the bet? How far in debt will you go to chase the cards? How far up do you have to be, to walk away? Do you take it personal? Do you play with strategy or just throw money out there and pray for luck?
Is it just fun and games or do you get obsessed? Do you get upset at other players who aren’t playing correctly? Do you place bets based on which seat you’re occupying; in other words, do you see the table (and the game) from the 30-thousand-foot vantage point or are you simply always only playing your own hand?
All of these little nuances of blackjack show your personality…your true personality. Not the one you try to show everybody, publicly. And guess what? Every person I ever watched play blackjack, actually did turn out to live their lives and conduct their business the way they played.
I also learned things about myself I needed to know. And what I learned is that I probably don’t need to play blackjack at all. When you’re playing all the hands at the hundred dollar table, and reading about the game and the cards and the history of it and losing time, you realize that you either need to do this for a living or not do it at all.
But I digress …
One of the saddest by-products of the past 18 months, is that we have learned who we are…who wereally are. Not just the person we want everyone to think we are.
If you’ve ever wondered if you would’ve been a Nazi, you now know. Maybe you haven’t quite grasped it yet. But in your heartyou know.
“Not me. I would’ve fought against racism and tyranny!” is what everyone reading this is saying to themselves. “I would’ve stood up for the Jews! I would’ve probably hidden them in my house!”
I hear ya. Of course you would’ve.
But would you have even known which one was Hitler and which one was Churchill?
We all think we would’ve known. But Time Magazine didn’t know when they named Hitler 1939’s Man of the Year. A lot of Americans didn’t know either. A lot of Brits hated Churchill more than they hated Hitler…until he started raining bombs down on them. Hindsight is 2020 I suppose.
But here’s a wrinkle …
What if the Jews had all refused to get a vaccine that everyone in the world wanted and needed them to get? What if Hitler could’ve convinced the world that they were somehow carrying a deadly virus?
How would you have reacted then?
However you answer that question is how you would’ve treated the Jews. No need to ponder any further. We know who you are.
Everyone is the hero of their own movie. We all want to see ourselves as strong and brave and quick to fight against wrong. Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t have to speculate anymore. We’ve all been exposed.
Are you violent? Do you condone violence? You may claim you are peaceful and that you are here to promote love. But then, what happens if the wrong person is elected president? What happens if a video surfaces, showing a cop murdering someone of your race?
What happens if a U.S. senator opts out of the Covid vaccine?
You still non-violent? You still a strong advocate for peace and love?
You don’t have to answer. We know who you are.
Are you compliant? Do you ask questions? Are you a critical thinker or a blind follower? Can you maintain your sense of humor in the face of disaster? Can you remain calm? Do you panic? How far do you have to be pushed to give up your core beliefs?
Guess what? You don’t have to answer. You’ve shown us. We know who you are.
This morning I was on a zoom call with a friend from Canada. He was telling me about some of his pastor friends who have been shut down by the government, for holding church services…even when they were completely compliant with Covid regulations.
He sent me a video of the police arresting one pastor and carting him off to jail.
And the public outcry against these ministers is violent, strident and visceral. Even now, when we have a vaccine. Even now, when most of the pandemic has run its course.
If you are an officer about to put a pastor in handcuffs, we know who you are. You don’t have to tell us.
If you have been paralyzed by fear during this whole ordeal, you don’t have to tell us. We know who you are.
If you have allowed your fear to turn you into someone you don’t recognize, you don’t have to tell us. We know who you are. The bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of sound mind.”
We don’t need to hear about anyone’s professed relationship to God, anymore. We kinda know.
If you have ever wondered what it would take for you to turn on your friends, it’s all clear. You don’t have to tell us. We know who you are.
This virus has taken several of my friends’ lives. It infected and almost killed my daughter. It infected and almost killed me.
We’ve all been touched by it – ALL of us – in one way or another. There is anger to be felt and blame to be placed. There are answers we still don’t have. There are lessons to be learned.
But maybe the hardest lesson we’ve had to learn, is who we all became…or maybe who we were all along.
Either way, we know, now. Oh yes, we know.
You don’t have to tell us who you are anymore. You don’t have to try and curate your Facebook profile or take down violent tweets or post anymore inspirational memes. We’ve seen you play blackjack, now.
And we know who you are.
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