In the world of Harry Potter, “Dementors” are the undead guards of a magical prison. Their particular gift is being able to suck the happiness out of a place and, provided proximity, suck out your soul without killing you.
When I turned twenty-one, my buddy Luke took me to one of Shreveport’s glitzy casinos. I quickly lost twenty dollars. More quickly, however, I discovered casinos to be what I imagine as my own personal hell.
Therefore, looking back on last Saturday night, I continue to scratch my head as to why I followed the rest of my friends to the casino attached to Hotel Quito, where a visiting friend of Annie’s was staying. I walked into the casino and was immediately dizzy – as on the Red River, a flood of noise and lights and smoke and soulless people inundated my senses. I immediately told everyone I was leaving and then dizzily bounded out the side door, inside just long enough for most of the happiness to be sucked out of my body.
My friend John tells me that because of the rapid-fire angle changes on television shows and commercials, Americans are trained to have their occipital lobe overstimulated. That information, plus the fact that I watched about thirty minutes of TV a week as a kid, might go a long way to explaining my aversion to stimulant-suffused casino halls. So, while I understand the potential economic benefits of casinos and have no illusions about their impending disappearance from the Shreveport or Quito skylines, I think I can safely say that I’m finished with them. When I need a scare, I’ll just go pick up Harry Potter.