I Have Stalkers!

I am a minor celebrity in the great scheme of things. I have a good fan base for my gambling books, some fans have seen me on TV, and as I expand into other areas of writing I hope that fan base grows. But I mean I am “minor” as in completely, utterly minor—almost atom-like, as in I still take the damn garbage out on Mondays and Thursdays.

But I can now understand how real celebrities such as movie stars, sports stars, television stars, big-time writers like John Grisham must have it. There are nuts out there. There are seriously whacked-out people who write you, call you, show up at your house, knock on the hotel room doors where you are staying to invite themselves in.

I have stalkers, for crying out loud. I know many celebrities have stalkers. But they should just be for major celebrities, not the flea-sized kind that I am.

Newspaper articles report stalkers that have been brought to court by some of the real celebrities and almost none of them look really, really weird or even really, really scary.

But I can’t believe that in the past 20 years I have had my share—although I am not quite sure what my share should actually be.

A rabbi from a town near mine dropped by my house several times and asked to come for dinner. I made pleasant excuses the first couple of times. (“Oh, sorry, I had dinner already.” “It’s only two in the afternoon.” “I eat early.”) Finally, not to be offensive, I said, “Look, I eat pork and shellfish every damn night and down them with milk.” Now he just constantly emails me.

I had two women who seemed to always know where I was staying when in Vegas. However they did it, they were always able to take the elevator to my floor (often a floor that was secured), knock on my door (actually ring the bell of these particular rooms) and ask, “Oh, Frank, want some fun?” I would tell them that I was calling security in twenty seconds and they would go away. My wife would ask, “What was that?” I’d say, “Oh, just some fans.” She’d reply, “Oh, yeah, right,” turn over and go to sleep.

I have had several horrendous looking women, more like Morlocks than Eloi, who send me photos of themselves scantily clad, posing seductively, or rather, what they think is seductive. I completely ignore them because showing interest in them—even negative interest—would just encourage them.

I had a woman who would call me to tell me she was staying in Atlantic City in a beautiful suite and she would pay for everything if I joined her. I put my wife on the phone with her. That settled that.


I had one woman who offered me a “world-class *&^%**!!!” (I had never heard of that term before) if I did a favor for her husband. That was awkward. I blanched at the thought and immediately told my wife.

Oh, and men? Oh, yes, men too. “How do you know you don’t want to have sex with a man if you have never tried it?” If I were interested, I’d know it by now.

I did have one dangerous individual who had a severe mental illness called erotomania. This is when a person imagines and believes he or she has an intimate relationship with you. (Remember that woman who kept breaking into David Letterman’s house saying she was married to him when she had never even met him?) It is just the opposite of “Fatal Attraction” often with the same conclusion—the person (in this case, female) wants to harm you because she thinks you belong to her even if you don’t even know her or just know her in passing. That was scary. Thankfully that woman disappeared into the ether.

These crazies aside, I know this; I do enjoy people who have enjoyed my work, in whatever field it might be—teaching, writing, or acting. It is certainly an ego boost.

But these nuts, these fans who are certainly fanatical, are sad people. There is far, far more to a good life than bedding or bothering a person with even a modicum of fame.

Is fame important? No. I am happy taking out the garbage two days a week.


The Look, the Voice, the Truth

When I mention to people that I am a writer and I often write about gambling and casinos, I will get “the look” from some of them. “The look” incorporates a scrunched up forehead, a slight involuntary sneer, a tilt of the head often followed by the words, “Oh, you’re a gambler?” The tone of the question is in keeping with the scrunched forehead, the sneer and the tilted head – not pleasant at all.

What have I done wrong? Have I murdered someone? Stolen food from a baby? Looted Little Lulu’s college fund?

Being a gambler is not perceived as a good thing as gamblers are often lumped in with problem or addictive gamblers. Certainly, the 54 million people who go to casinos every year are not addicted to gambling nor are those people who play a football lottery daily slaves to Lady Luck’s charms. If you like a glass or two of wine with your dinner are you a raging alcoholic? I think not.

The fact that we all gamble all the time is often lost on most people. That loving couple you see strolling hand-in-hand along the beach (regardless of their age) took a gamble on each other. Would a relationship work out? They had to gamble and see.

The person waiting for the bus or in the terminal boarding his flight or heading up the planks boarding a cruise ship or selecting tonight’s dinner items, or walking across the street or going into a pool or ocean; all these people are taking a gamble. Gambling is a part of everyday life. In fact, it is most of everyday life.

We tend to dismiss the above gambles because we make most of them all the time. You could be walking down the street and a rock falls on your head and injures you – the act of such walking down the street was a gamble.

The biggest gamble people probably take is having children. That is genetic roulette of the first order as you have no idea which genes will be coming out in your kid(s). Will it be the brilliant but overly neurotic Aunt Emma from the 17th century? Will it be from Karl, the great athlete? Will it be someone with a pleasant disposition? Or will it be the raging serial killer from the 1500s?

Parents have sometimes heard their kid say, “I didn’t ask to be born!” Many parents would love to shoot back, “I didn’t ask for you to be born either. I wanted someone else.” Children? A lifetime gamble that’s for sure.

For most people most of their children turn out to be okay to brilliant – that’s the continuum.

For casino gamblers the continuum would be from those who use it as their major pastime to those who go on occasion. Yes, in life there are outliers; people who gamble until they harm themselves and others, and people who never gamble on casino games. The latter dominates the outlier group.

Most people are rarely in the outlier groups; that’s why such groups are outliers, they constitute the extreme ends.

So the next time someone gives you “the look,” ignore them. They know not what they do or have done every day of their life.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from Amazon.com, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]

I Want to be Lazy!


My wife the beautiful AP said to me the other day, “You’re becoming one of these grumpy old men who sits around all day watching TV and spouting off like Archie Bunker.”

I wish. Oh, how I wish!

You see for my life up to now (69 years as I write this!) I have been a Type A personality (make that Type A+). I’ve been working real jobs since I was 12 years old. Some of these jobs were not glamorous: cleaning sewers, cleaning giant roach-infested elevator shafts in public housing, cleaning and collecting trash, sweeping up the debris from drug addicts in public parks, and teaching public school.

I’ve written 35 books. I wrote four in one year for Triumph Books, a division of Random House. Not short books but nice big, fat hefty ones. The year-of-the-four I also continued to write my articles and columns for a thousand magazines and newspapers (well, not quite a thousand). I also wrote a couple of television shows.

How did I do this? By working 12-hour days and not watching much television or even relaxing much. I did shower though, so no one had to smell my fevered writer’s body. I also got really fat. When I was an actor I was a slim, well-built leading man – now I would be the fat, comical neighbor.

I do not (as in do not) want to do that anymore. I want to take a break  like for the rest of my mortal days , and work a lot less, yes, and be (yes! yes!) lazy. I am going to work on being lazy–a lot.

Even when I was teaching, I’d get up early, write like a maniac, go teach and come home and continue my manic ways. I am one full year ahead on my columns for a number of publications, even weeklies! I know, I know; that is ridiculous but I can’t seem to stop myself.

So what I‘ve done these past six (or more!) months is this: I write for three hours, also answer what is becoming a mountain of email, and then I say to myself, “Screw working any longer; I am going to watch a movie (or two damn it) every day.” So I’ve watched movies or an orgy of a given television show such as Breaking Bad to fill the time when I would have been working.

I fidgeted through them for a while, like some drug addict giving up his beloved heroin. But I am now calming down. Oh, baby, I am getting into the lazy thing. It’s great!

Here is a list of how I am being lazy (as told to me by my wife):

  • When I finish eating or snacking I do not put my dirty dishes in the dish washer; I put them in the sink which is right next to the dish washer, but I am now too lazy to bend and pull the door open. That feels so good.
  • Years ago the housekeeper quit, so I replaced her with my wife. When she vacuums the living room I help her by lifting my feet up so she can vacuum under me and my recliner. Same goes for when she mops the floor.
  • I used to thoroughly clean the bathroom twice per week. Now on rare occasions I do it. My wife inspects the job I do and notes that it looks just as dirty as when I started and accuses me of cleaning with my glasses off. (She’s right, but please don’t tell her.) She then re-cleans it while muttering, “Hopeless. Incompetent.”

My friends and readers: I am going to keep practicing my laziness until I get it down pat… or die. I want to become an expert at it.

“Honey, my love, my Beautiful AP, my darling, bring me the remote please! Ouch! Why did you hit me in the head with it?”

[Frank’s new book Confessions of a Wayward Catholic is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, at bookstores and at the Vatican — not really the Vatican, he’d be excommunicated if they read it.]