Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)
TITLE: Gerald and Sherry
By Deborah Engle
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It was the house of her dreams. It had everything they were looking for – lots of bedrooms, more bathrooms than she could have hoped for, a wonderful kitchen and just enough property. Gerald said the choice was up to her, and this was the house Sherry wanted. They did need to move, and he knew just how to make the finances work out, so she trusted him to take care of it.
They stayed there only three years, never made a payment on time and eventually were forced to sell the house.
After 25 years of marriage Gerald wanted to give her gold or silver, but Sherry confessed that what she would really like some day was a string of pearls. He remembered that, and a few years later he secretly put a fine pearl necklace on layaway.
Gerald could not pay the balance and asked Sherry to go to the store, cancel the layaway and retrieve the down payment.
Gerald called and exclaimed, “I just bought you a new stove! Surprise!”
Surprise, indeed! The check Gerald wrote bounced, and when his
paycheck came he sent Sherry to the store to make it good.
What kind of person would consistently make such foolish decisions and look to someone else to deal with the aftermath? A person who gambles. After Sherry realized what was going on, she looked for ways to discourage Gerald’s obsession, but the problem was beyond any influence she might have had. Though Gerald had a good income, her family lived in near poverty and every new financial disaster brought more shame upon her. He didn’t see gambling as a problem, he thought of it as an opportunity just waiting to happen, so quitting now couldn’t make sense. Every unwise choice he made was compounded by a series of others in an effort to repair the damage, but nothing really ever got fixed.
Now Election Day was approaching, and legalized gambling was on the ballot. ‘What a nightmare that would be!” thought Sherry. She had confidence that the voters would not pass this bill. It was rejected and Sherry breathed a sigh of relief. But Election Day is an annual thing and supporters of legalized gambling don’t give up without a fight. This time around the local politicians, who had opposed the bill the first time, were now in favor of it. In spite of studies that revealed the negative impact to society and the true cost to taxpayers, the state and local governments joined the private interests in launching a campaign to change public opinion. Once again however, the vote was no. Not quite as loud, but definitely no. And on it went until gambling became a legal enterprise.
Devastated, all Sherry could do now is wait for the end, for she knew that could be the only possible outcome. With gambling legalized, the stigma would be removed. People like Gerald would never have any motivation to change. It would be people like her, who strongly opposed gambling because they understood the ramifications of addiction through sorrowful experience, who would be considered the problem.
Sherry was angry. She was angry with her husband for allowing this to destroy their relationship. She was angry with herself that she wasn’t able to find a way to stop what was happening to her family, and she was desperately angry with the politicians who pushed this through. In spite of the fact that the problems predicted by the studies were becoming evident throughout the city, they claimed that only a “small percentage” would suffer negative consequences from gambling. Since Sherry knew she was in that “small percentage”, she felt that she was considered expendable, and she was angry about that.
That wonderful dining room table? It was sold when the marriage failed. Accustomed by then to relinquishing the things that were special to her and having already learned that her efforts wouldn’t get results, Sherry impassively accepted her dismal future, and that’s something we should all be angry about!
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