With the CTA’s funding in perpetual jeopardy, it’s nice to see that they are trying some innovative solutions.
“I work for the CTA Entertainment Department,” the wiry old man announced on a northbound Brown line train. “They pay me $500 a day to entertain you, the customer.” With a flourish he produced a small shelf of black felt, upon which rested three yellow soda bottle caps and a pea-sized, red ball. He went on to explain in lyrical form (they are paying him $500 a day, mind you), how in his youth his pal Jughead would take all his bread by always knowing the location of the ball that was red. So he practiced every day and eventually won his money back. Now he’s giving us the chance to win. Lucky us!
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit gullible. But no one could fall for this swindle, right? Let’s start with the obvious. There is no CTA Entertainment Department. Furthermore, these shell games are always a scam. The operator uses sleight of hand to manipulate the location of the ball, so it will never be under the cap you think. What about that guy who just won 20 bucks? He’s in on it. The three others that lost over $150 between Sedgewick and Southport… they’re not. Sheesh.
If you see a shell game on the el, please do your best to ignore it and notify CTA personnel after exiting the train. While the action may liven up your commute, gambling on the CTA is illegal for a reason. When people are cheated out of large sums of money in a short amount of time, they tend to get pretty angry. Best not to have a bunch of angry people in a crowded, enclosed space.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find some black felt. $150 in 20 minutes is nothing to sneeze at!