Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss

Double Down: Reflections on Gambling and Loss



The Pequod Review:

In their memoir Double Down, two University of Mississippi English professors (Donald Barthelme and Steven Barthelme) inherit a modest sum of money from their parents and proceed to lose it all through a gambling addiction. I like this paragraph:

You start thinking you have found that lost Atlantis of slot players, a “loose” machine. Sheer genius, that word. “Loose,” with all its implications of sin and imperfection and factory defect, its suggestion that the customarily tight mechanical fist holding all those coins deep inside the machine has been momentarily distracted, its hint that this son of a bitch is tired, worn out, relaxing into death, about to come completely unglued and just rain money, its threat that if you don’t hurry, the management will discover this treasonous machine and fix — that is, tighten — it double quick…well, someone dreamt that up. The word is a miracle, inspires awe.