Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I live in a house with four other people. One of my roommates has a problem and I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to help him deal with it. This guy, let’s call him Larry, is addicted to online poker.

It started out innocently enough. Larry just wanted to try it out and played a few hands. A week later, he was hooked.
He spends at least five hours a day playing poker. He skips class and sometimes forgets to shower and eat.

It’s really affecting his mood, too. Some days he will be all happy and joke around with all of us. Other days he will always be angry and yelling.

Lately, there has been more angry days than happy days. I am afraid he is going to lose all his money. What should I do to help him?

Sincerely,

Fretting Fred

Dear Fred,

I, too, know what it feels like to have a friend succumb to the dangers of gambling. My best friend lost all his money, his house, and his girlfriend when he bet against the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals.

I don’t know what possessed him to think that Gary Payton and the Seattle Supersonics could defeat Michael Jordan and the 72-10 Bulls.

It all turned out for the best though, because after that loss he never gambled again.

Sometimes it takes a monumental loss to be able to change your ways. In the book, Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk says, “It’s only after you have lost everything, that you are free to do anything.”

So maybe, Larry won’t be able to change until he hits rock bottom and loses everything.

Maybe if he had something else to focus his time and energy on, his gambling problem would change. Invite him to go out with your roommates.

Offer him to join your intramural basketball team, or a club you’re a member of. Hopefully once he meets real people, and has a positive experience with the outside world, online gambling will be a thing of the past.

If he keeps on acting like a jerk and sending a negative vibe throughout the house, give him an ultimatum: give up the online betting or leave the house.

Explain that it has changed him, and it really annoys everyone in the house.

If he is a real friend, then he’ll clean his act up. If not, then he is going to be losing something more valuable than a poker game.

Sincerely,

Devil’s Advocate ? ? ?

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

It’s that time of year. The beginning of the spring semester always brings with it one of the most annoying phenomena in the world. Of course I am talking about the New Year’s resolution crowd at the gym.

Every January, the amount of people that go to the gym increases tenfold for about a month. The line to get on a treadmill is 45 minutes long.

The newcomers don’t put the weights back where they belong and they don’t wipe their sweat off the machines when they are done.

I know there’s probably nothing you can do about it, but do you think you could give me some ideas about how to deal with the frustration that the New Year’s resolution crowd causes me?
I mean, I think I might snap and punch someone in the face if I have to sit down on one more bicycle seat that is soaked in another person’s sweat.

Sincerely,

Angry Andrew

Dear Angry Andrew,

Well, sir, aren’t you special. I happen to be one of those New Year’s resolution newcomers to the gym and you have offended me extremely deeply!

The gym is not your own private sanctuary. It is a place that anyone can go and work out, even if it is just for a month.
You do not have to be all high and mighty about the situation. Think back to when you first went to the gym. You weren’t familiar with gym etiquette.

You didn’t know it was rude not to put your weights back or realize that everybody in the gym was offended when there was still sweat left on your treadmill.

So, maybe the cure to all your problems is just to try to be a little more understanding. If you see someone who isn’t following gym etiquette, then politely explain to them that nobody wants to work out in a sea of their perspiration.
Believe me, they will get the hint and be so embarrassed that they’ll never do it again.

Sincerely,

Devil’s Advocate