We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Tulalip Resort Casino is an Indian casino and resort in Quil Ceda Village, Washington, owned and operated by the Tulalip Tribes of Washington. It opened in 2004 as Tulalip Casino, and was renamed in late 2007 because of the new hotel, which opened August 15, 2008. In addition to the AAA Four Diamond award-winning 12-story hotel with 370 rooms and suites, the resort includes 192,000 square feet (17,800 m2) of gaming space. The property has 7 restaurants: Tulalip Bay, Blackfish, Cedars Cafe, The Draft Bar and Grill, Journeys East, Eagles Buffet and Canoes Carvery. The T Spa is the resort's onsite spa and features 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) of treatment rooms. There are also meeting facilities, and the Canoes Cabaret, Orca Ballroom, and Tulalip Amphitheatre for entertainment events.
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO A DOMESTIC FIGHT
I had just passed through Arlington when the Taco Time began to take hold. The meaty filling and breathtaking sauces had begun to plummet my belly's pH level to a low that now refused all immigrants to my stomach like a pack of Texans at a gun show in a Trump convention. Or something. I turned to my wife and told her we were going to need to stop.
This was a mistake.
She beamed at me and said "How about the Outlet Mall?"
I would like to say I didn't shit my pants. But I shit my pants. I needed to pull over and a thought occurred to me. Well, two thoughts: fireworks and the casino. Any able bodied Washingtonian should know that the Outlet Mall in Tulalip is a win situation. In fact, it's not a bad idea to tell your wife that "Hey, you deserve a treat - let's go to the Outlet Mall in Tulalip." And then drive her up there, stay for the Banana Republic and Starbucks and then "Hey, hon, I might have more fun if I went over to the casino." And then drink until she has to drive and gamble until she has to take all the clothing she bought at the mall back.
So, it was off to the Outlet Mall. Luckily, they sold underwear.
THERE IS NO OUTLET AT THE OUTLETS
Nothing in life is free. And nothing in life is easy. So, I did have to purchase new underwear and I had a little more trouble than I imagined getting out of the Outlet Mall.
The mall seems extremely escapable as it's outside. However, you must be quick with your "Ho-hum, I'll just go to the Casino" story. You must say it nonchalant and give your partner a look that says "I can take it or leave it". Unfortunately for me, she replied "Maybe next time."
I forgot that our chance adventure at the Outlet Mall was a product of me shitting my pants and not a gift on a Saturday of spousal Outlet shopping.
"Look" I said. "I need to sit down and rest. We just spent the last five hours driving from Canada down here and Taco Time made me shit my pants AND I had to go into Banana Republic. I need to chill. This is important to me." Telling a loved one something is important to you is very important. You must use it wisely.
She gave me a look that said that she wouldn't forget it, but I got clearance to leave. I nodded her adieu and made my way through the Outletters.
There is a sick notion in the American mind that goods and services can be had on the cheap by venturing into an Outlet Mall. Nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, the new underwear I was wearing had already begun to split at the seams. There is a reason the Outlets are far away from civilization - it impedes returns.
Teams of tourists surrounded me, looking for bargains, when all I wanted to do was get away from them. The cheap kitchenware and taffy were not the drugs I needed at this time. I needed fireworks, beer, and that feeling that only comes when you pull cash out of a credit card to get your bank account back from the greedy wheel at the roulette table.
"Back, you!" I shouted at the Scientologist that is a permanent fixture at the Outlet Mall.
"But it's just a personality test!" She screamed after me.
"I take that personal!" I screamed back.
Into a Japanese tourist I slammed and spilled their belongings of muffin pans, omelet makers, and fudge named after some damn mountain in Montana that no one knows about or wants to.
Security was on me and took a hold of my collar and shook me like a bag of gold. "Out of here, you joker!" the guard yelled.
"Thank you." I whispered as he shoved me out into the parking lot and on my way to the firework stand.
TWO NATIONS MEET
There's nothing like a firework stand. Well, nothing like a good one: the kind that will sell you enough explosives to get sanctions slapped on you. Tulalip was one.
Much like sister city Auburn, Tulalip did not disappoint in the firework department. They had razzlers, tazzlers, jizzles and phazims. They had rollies, tollies, gollies, and bazims. I made all those words up, but the point is that you simply point at the biggest cannon you see at the stand and say "I'll take that."
Some of the fireworks are themed. There's a Terminator themed pack full of cannons and mortars. There's a Star Wars themed pack of cannons and mortars. There's even a Celebrity Chef pack that has...cannons and mortars.
Because of my hurry and my need to return to my loving wife within the two hours it would take her to figure out nothing fits, I went for the bone: the stuff they pretend they won't sell you unless you act like something illegal is going on.
I approached the fireworks dealer. "Sir - I would like - come closer."
"Yes?" The man asked.
"I hear your firework stand is the best." I cozied up to the register and began toying with a pack of Saturn Missiles seductively.
"Big Tits and Ass Fireworks is the best. My grandfather built Big Tits and Ass Fireworks with his bare hands! Tulalip Nation!" The man screamed and the other firework dealers screamed back.
"Yes, that's all well and good. It is a fine establishment. But tell me this...."
"Yesssss?' He asked, winking.
"Can I get..."
"A tennis ball full of....."
My head shot up and I looked at him cross and said "Good lord, no! Cocaine! Cocaine, my good man! I want to buy cocaine from you!"
Again I was tossed out of an outlet. This time it was the fireworks kind. I had flown too close to the sun. I figured I'd get some sparklers. Then I figured a mortar. Then I figured an M80. Then I just went all in and asked for cocaine. I was severely off my game.
I got back in the car and began cursing the Tulalip Nation in the only language I knew: English.
Sure, I took some sign language and Spanish, but I didn't remember most of it and wasn't going to Google it.
Not now. Not with the casino a half a mile away.
I parked the car and took out a cigarette from a pack I kept in the trunk for just such an occasion: shitting your pants, getting kicked out of an outlet mall, trying to buy cocaine, and then getting kicked out of a firework stand.
I called it Old Smokey.
Tulalip Casino is a majestic building that greets you with fountains and lights and all the majesty of realizing you are about to lose money you don't have to a video game themed on the premise of milking money out of a cow.
As you enter, the smoke comes on you like hot fudge on a sundae if hot fudge was smoke and you were a sundae. The atmosphere reminds you of a wedding some uncle had before he went to jail for a crime that the family will not acknowledge in public. From room to room you feel that rush of being a racial minority for the first time in your life, only to become just another white guy leering at a cocktail waitress behind aviator glasses in the next room - complicating this is the fact that you're Korean.
There's an aroma of food under the nicotine and perfume, but you can't quite make out what it might be. It could be spare ribs or it could be Pad Thai, but what it won't be is good. There is no good food made by human beings that can be carried from poker table to poker table in a plastic sack. Sure, there's the nice restaurant where you sit down and eat your food at a table instead of in your car crying as you try to figure out how you're going to tell your wife that you lost the life savings and all you got out of it was a free bag of sliders and fries...but you don't want to sit down and eat food like a human. You want to gamble.
Like most casinos, the Tulalip has a club you can join to lose money within a kind of fraternal order of losers. Sure, you'll get free money and smokes and food, but those things just keep you anchored to that casino. No, the real pros skip the club and lose on their own terms.
Like me. It was time to lose money the only way I knew: video slots. Video slots are like the slot machines of old, only they have little video games within them where you get entertained as you pay for three computers and a college education for a Tulalip Nation member's family. There are bonuses, free spins, and even quests where you lose money by way of slaying dragons or orcs or zombies.
I slid a hundred in and began navigating a gnome around a fairytale castle hoping to hit the jackpot that would possibly pay off my car, but certainly wouldn't make me a rich man. As I slid hundred after hundred in the machine, the damn gnome continued to get lost in the flower city of Zambel. I shouted at the gnome "JESUS, WILL YOU PICK THE CORRECT DOOR - THIS IS COSTING ME MONEY!" But the gnome failed to pick the right door and I was out 800 dollars.
I went to the bar.
THE CASINO AND BEYOND
"At least I can get drunk now." I was left to my own shame in a bar in the casino, nursing a beer and trying to imagine how to rob the Wal Mart next door and actually make any money.
I had another half hour before I would have to meet my wife and explain how we couldn't have kids now.
"You seem down on your luck." The bartender looked at me from behind a mask of years of inbreeding. His eyes were fused and his cycloptic movements made me cringe as he pushed a matchbook across the table to me. "Meet this man at the city limits."
"You mean the Exit door?"
I couldn't possibly see how this man (T.C. said the matchbook) or any other man could help me out in the predicament the Native Americans had put me in. Oh, who was I kidding, it was my fault!
And the Native Americans. And my wife's. If she wouldn't have shit her pants on the way home - but I must not blame, I thought.
"Hear you need a job, kid." It was Tom Cruise.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"I own this place."
"Hell no. I had to take a piss on the way home from Canada. You lose some money?"
"It's true, Mr. Cruise! I am guilty of gambling! But the Native Americans made me do it. It was some ancient curse, some demon that -"
"Speaking of ancient curses - have you heard about Xenu?"
"Good. Now, I hear you need some money."
"YES! I DO! Did the cyclops tell you?"
"The...no, that's John Travolta."
"He's a bartender?"
"No. He's a drunk. Look, you want to make some money or not?"
"I don't have to...?" I made a gesture with the hotdog I always keep in my pocket for just such instances.
"Let me just show you."
THE NEXT DAY
"Free personality test!" I yelled at the Japanese tourist.
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