From Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss by Frederick & Steven Barthelme:
When you’re sitting at a blackjack table with some guy with a Boston accent and a tenpenny common nail bent in half and hanging from his pierced ear, listening to him tell transcendently stupid snail jokes, it’s a battle to believe that life is a dreary chore, designed that way by the Good Lord for some inexplicable reason. In fact, at that moment the world looks like a place of great tenderness and beauty. We liked this place of jokes and jackpots, preferred to think that a great new blackjack strategy or more fabulous run of cards would come. Each time we went to Gulfport, part of the ritual was “Here’s the new plan,” both serious and not, a hope and a joke at the same time. It was a problem, this tendency to think that good things were going to happen, that things would turn out well in the face of acres of evidence to the contrary. Father could never have anticipated that his faith that life really did make sense and his hope that just by keeping at it success could be won would eventually figure in our donation of so much of his well-preserved money to the casinos.