Dear Ellen, take my money.

Now, I’m not saying I have a gambling problem.

I’m saying I have an ‘Ellen’ problem.

As in, I’m utterly addicted to her slot machine.

What started out as curiously walking by it, glancing at the human playing and hoping they finish soon has morphed into fighting the urge to bribe and threaten bodily harm to people to get out of my chair.

See, Ellen and all her catchy lines belong to ME!

Why? Because I’m going to play max bet. I’m going to max bet real hard. That means, take your minimum bet strategy so you can drag out your time for no real reason and go play elsewhere.

Ellen is MINE.

I don’t just ‘play’ Ellen.


engage Ellen.

I tickle her face and chant her name. I do this because we’re friends and she likes it. I’m going to rub my cheek, hands and feet all over her machine so she knows it me. (And she always knows) Just as I know Ellen’s responses to every type of win the machine offers. I may know this better than my own family’s birthdays.

( I said, may.)

While the ‘Wheel of riches’ is my favorite, in December the ’12 days of giveaways’ made me super merry. I was the merriest in Detroit. My pores were oozing merriment.

There were presents flying everywhere!

To my knowledge, Ellen is the only machine that makes you happy to lose large amounts of money.

I mean, real Ellen is generous and kind, even her machine reminds us to be kind to others (uh-mazing), so the last time I won a few bucks I gave the woman next to me losing her house to the same machine (not playing max bet) twenty dollars. Gah, Ellen would so love this!

She didn’t say thank you but shoved that bill straight into the machine and proceeded to lost that too… Anyway, I was being kind so I let it go. Plus, it was the holiday’s and if she was this ungrateful at Christmas people probably hate her year ’round. Oh, and I bet she doesn’t even watch Ellen’s show. And I just can’t let folks like that steal my energy. Truly, I cannot. I’m going through menopause and can’t spare it, sorry. When playing next to others who gripe and moan about losing I have no issue explaining, “Ellen will never reward you with that attitude.” I’ve even said, “Your negativity is getting precariously close to Ellen, stop it.” A real crowd pleaser is, “Uh, would you kiss Ellen with that mouth?”

Because something comes over me when I see Ellen’s face.

Life gets…brighter.

Inside a casino.

A mechanical piece of equipment designed for impulsive people like me, actually makes me feel like a better person for sitting at it.

This is either marketing genius or the power of Ellen. (I’m going with the latter) Because I don’t dance at other machines. I don’t high five and spin around in my seat at other machines. I don’t carry on conversations and tell other machines about my life. I don’t have to literally be drug away from other machines either.

It’s Ellen.

She’s magical.

Her voice, smile and little body dancing across my screen in snappy clothes send me to another time and place. Where it’s just us and we’re having espresso and she’s showing me the reviews she left for my books under an alias. I get this because my material isn’t suitable for Ellen viewers. But Ellen and Portia secretly love my stories and take turns reading the POV’s and it’s adorable.  I never accept money for books either because their company is priceless. Then suddenly my eyes open, I’m brought back to reality and broke.

So I run to the ATM, take out more cash just to have a little more time with her. Just so we’re clear, my foray into gambling is recent. Just a few months in fact. I started off bringing $100.00 and if I left with the same, I was happy. All that changed when I heard her voice from a few rows over.

“Wait,” I said to a total stranger. “I hear Ellen.”

“It’s a slot machine,” she said leaving off the ‘idiot’.

Being the nice person I am and new to the casino game, I wished her luck and followed the voice. There sat an empty chair and I’m pretty sure angels hovered above it, beckoning me. I’m certain she even said, “This is the closest you’ll get to heaven, Kelly. Come, sit down and play a while. By the way, I love your hair.”

Looking left to right, I slid in and from there let nature take over. In truth, what happened that night is still a haze of happiness and flashing lights.

Now, I hear her in my sleep.

I hear the BUM BUM BUM of the bonus multiplier and I hold breath wondering will it be 2x, 3x, 4x? (Can you imagine hitting the 10x?)

 I feel Ellen’s eyes on me. As if she’s waiting for me to find her. It’s comforting and cajoling. I’m helpless to resist it. I cannot resist Ellen. She’s a penny slot seductress!

I should mention I have rituals before I play.

If you’d like to get a pen and paper to write this down, I’ll wait.

Okay so once seated, I reintroduce myself by saying, “Hi Ellen, it’s me Kelly. How are you? You look fantastic.” Because casino’s are loud and I don’t care for miscommunication. It’s the polite thing to do.

Then I slide in my players card and twirl my hair once.

If I’m using cash, I blow on it.

Voucher, I kiss it twice.

Then I slide that in too and tap my toes four times each while it validates.

After my warm welcome and before I hit the blessed button, I close my eyes, rub the screen and promise Ellen, “If I win, you’ll hear me in California.”

Exhaling, I let ‘er rip.

From there all the touchy feely stuff happens and if Ellen were actually present, she’d probably call security.

But she’s not so I continue on uncaring of the looks from strangers and poachers waiting to steal my seat.

How about no. They get no piece of Ellen! Not today!

Between the oxygen pumping through the ducts, religiously reapplying hand sanitizer, the vodka and my determination, I am not leaving. I will not be moved! Even my friends go off without me, checking in hourly. When they return it’s with a drink and encouragement to keep going. (I have good friends) They know I need this. A small break from the daily grind, an escape, a small staycation. An opportunity to disconnect and be silly. Whether it lasts twenty minutes or hours, playing along on her machine gives me endless entertainment and joy.

Alas, I have managed to give myself a limit on my spending and when I reach it, I push through the range of emotions before taking my card back and walking away.

And when she says, ‘Aww I’m going to miss you’, a little part of me whimpers. Because Ellen, I’m going to miss you too.

Until next time…

All my love and luck,


Hi, I'm K.S., wanna party?
Hi, I’m K.S., wanna party?

K.S Adkins is a Detroit native, a lover of the wine, Spanx, the Golden Girls, Ellen and loud music.
She can’t wear heels with dignity, speak without swearing or watch commercials without crying.
She also sucks at writing herself in the third person.

You can find K.S. anywhere alcohol is sold. Not a drinker?
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