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Some calls are better left unanswered20 September 2007
Most writers are not major celebrities but we do have some problems at times. Here are some of the ones I find myself facing:
1. The phone calls asking me for advice - where I am polite and give my advice and then the person argues with me over that advice based on the person's many years of losing in the casinos! This can be annoying in itself but these calls are all on my 800 number and I am paying for them and the caller never seems to want to get off the line. So I have to pay for the 800 call to listen to this guy argue with me over the advice he asked me to give him! After about a 100 of these types of calls in the early 1990s, I stopped answering the phone and hired Fred and Peg to handle the office.
2. The calls where the caller wants to tell me his life's story - I get a lot of those from Florida - a life story that never ends. These are always on the 800 number as well.
3. I get about 10 to 20 calls a week asking where I will be playing so the callers can join me at the tables. Fred and Peg are very polite but inform the callers that I don't make appointments to play with people I don't know. Some of the callers have said that "when Frank meets me, he'll like me, so tell me where he's going to be."
4. There are callers who wish to visit me in my home. Yes, we get a few of these every year. "I want to come over and talk to you," the message on the answering service says. Some people have asked me if I can invite them to have dinner with me - at my home - so we can discuss gambling.
5. Some of the worst are the hyperactive callers who have a "winning system" and want me to get their book published. Now, I have helped a dozen writers get books published. I like doing that, but I am not an agent. Also the winning systems of these callers are idiotic and don't work in the long run. Some of these callers can get very abusive too. When they are told that I won't read their gambling breakthroughs, they hurl epitaphs in my direction. "Well, you tell Scoblete for me that he is a moron!" My one rule is now this: "I am sorry I don't read other writers' manuscripts."
I have had several "writers" steal stuff from me - I mean make photocopies of articles I wrote for magazines (The actual magazine layout is photocopied!) and those guys have blacked out anything that refers to me and sold these photocopies as if they were their own work. When my lawyer calls them, they get really nasty - as if they have the perfect right to sell their plagiarized photocopies of my articles. They do stop stealing my word-for-word articles but then they put it in their own words. One slot "writer" took large sections from my book Break the One-Armed Bandits! and sold these for $99.
6. Calls from self-professed "dice controllers" who want to become teachers in the Golden Touch Craps seminars. These guys are not very good controllers (at least the ones I have seen) and I have to politely turn them down. This is usually followed by the most outrageous attacks about me on the Internet by these "dice controllers" who seem to think that their skills get better as they get nastier when writing about me. These attacks used to bother Dominator, my partner in Golden Touch, and he was preparing to buy an airline ticket to punch out one of these vile individuals. Cooler heads prevailed. Now Dominator can laugh at the criticism of me and, now, of himself. No one likes to be criticized, especially in a vicious, vile way, but that is part of the price you pay when you are in the public eye.
7. The abusive calls from individuals who violently disagree with something I have written. I have even had dealers call me to complain about my articles where I say, for example, that craps dealers shouldn't be holding private conversations while the game is being played. Dealers should be focused on the game - not on anything else. One extremely drunken dealer from Atlantic City left me a message where he not only called me every disgusting name in the book but also wished I would die. He said in the message he planned to talk over any game any time he wants.
8. The largest number of negative calls since 1991 when I first published my book on the Captain, the greatest craps player of all time, have been to tell me the following:
9. I have also had my share of true nuts call me - including two women who wanted to have affairs with me. One said she could make me forget about my wife, the beautiful A.P. One called and told me she had a suite all lined up in Atlantic City on an upcoming weekend and she hoped I would join her. No thanks. I am married to my dream girl.
10. The saddest calls are from those individuals who think they will find the magic formula to become millionaires through casino gambling. The "I want to become a professional gambler" calls are very sad because very few people have the skill and, more important, the temperament to handle the demands of gambling for a living. Fred received a call last night about that. He told the guy that our advice is to use gambling as a hobby. Try to get an edge, yes, enjoy it, yes, but don't try to make a living at it. For most people that is a road to disaster - as most people can't get an edge at the games. Work a real job and have fun in the casinos. Professional gamblers are very intense and serious - and there aren't too many of them who last more than a few years at it.
Off the top of my head, the above are some of the types of calls I can do without. Thank God for Fred and Peg who are my buffers against the slings and arrows of outrageous callers!
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