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Frank Scoblete - When in Rome and Elsewhere

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  • Frank ScobleteLet me tell two quick stories:

    A friend of mine was in an African country, teaching at a local college. He was new to the college, new to the country, but he decided to take a trip into the countryside to check out the local wildlife. His car broke down about 20 miles out of town and he decided to hitch a ride. After several minutes a car came down the dusty road and he stuck his thumb out to hitch.

    The car screeched to a halt. He figured, ?What a friendly country this is. The very first car stopped!? But then the driver and three of his male passengers got out and proceeded to pummel him almost into unconsciousness. Once he could get his mind together, and long after the car with the attackers had gone off, he dusted himself off and waited for the next car. It soon appeared. Again, he stuck his thumb out. Screeeech! The second car slammed to a standstill and again the driver got out. Our friend figured he was a dead man as this driver was a towering, muscular specimen of a man and he was coming right towards him.

    ?No, no, no,? said the man-mountain in a pleasant lilt, ?you will get killed. You do not ask for a ride by insulting the driver?s family.?

    Then the friendly native informed our friend that in his country the American hitching sign was tantamount to saying that the driver?s mother was having carnal knowledge with a baboon. It was the highest of insults. He went on to explain that to hitch a ride, you hit the back of one hand against the palm of another because ?you are begging for a ride.?

    Had it not been for that nice mountain of a man, my friend might never have survived his roadside situation. He was in another country but he didn?t understand the culture of that country.

    In a similar vein, another friend of mine was teaching at a local high school. A girl, just recently arrived from China, was placed in his homeroom class. Our friend gave the girl her schedule but at the end of homeroom, she came up to him and she was clearly upset. In broken English she said: ?Can?t go to that class! No!? She pointed to her schedule. He tried to figure out why the thought of going to biology was such a scary proposition for her. Finally, after much effort, the girl said she could not go ?to that f***ing class.? My friend was shocked at the language coming from this seemingly genteel young lady. Then the girl added that the class ?sucks.?

    It took him awhile to realize what had happened. The girl had very limited English. When she had gotten her schedule, another student took a look at it and helpfully informed her that he ?hated that f***ing class? and that as far as he was concerned ?it sucks.? She took his words literally and was shocked to discover that in America we had a ?f***ing? class where we also taught oral sex techniques! Needless to say, it took a little doing to explain to her that in America there were no literal ?f***ing? classes and that ?sucks? was just a word American teenagers used to mean that something wasn?t good. This poor girl was in another country and it had confused her.

    Well, the casino is like another country; it has its own rules, language and culture. Each table game is like a province in a country, with its own distinct dialects and mores. To not feel like an unwanted foreigner, you have to understand the language and culture -- and then you must assimilate. The casino is Lady Luck?s melting pot. And there?s only one way to do things when in a casino ? the casino?s way!

    Some of Frank's most popular books can be purchased by clicking one of the image links below:

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