Shallow Analysis: The Gambler (Kenny Rogers gets Roasted)

3:12:00 PMPaul

 On a warm summer's evenin'
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep

Ian:  Okay, okay.  I'm gonna have to put the brakes on like, right now. There is no such thing as a train bound for nowhere.  No fuckin thing!  Are you in some derailed boxcar making a shady deal with this mysterious "gambler?"  Seriously, sounds a little less than pastoral at this point.  Did you just run into the gambler?  Or was this a pre-arranged thing?

So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
When boredom overtook us
He began to speak

Ian:  It's nice that you've learned to share, but if it's the darkness you're staring into, first off, it can't be that interesting.  Also, is the train so full packed taht you couldn't both have a window seat?  I guess starin out at nothin is better than havin to talk to someone sittin next to ya, god forbid!

He said, "Son, I've made my life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes

Ian:  So wait?  Is this actually your father??  Like, what the hell?  Is that what this is all about?!  What a curveball!  So, you're meeting with your estranged father in an abandoned boxcar only to learn that he's a drifter, card grifter who apparently has taken some course in Non Verbal Communication.

So if you don't mind my sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice"

Ian:  Don't do it!  He should give you the advice for free.  Did you explain to him that you didn't bring any cards at all??  Technically, you're out of Queens Twosies and Niners, as well.

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light

Ian:  You just got hustled, sonny.  All it took for him to get you to hand over a "taste" of whiskey and your last smoke and light.  And how the fuck did a taste turn into a goddamn swallow.  Dude, no wonder you're outta aces.  At this point, for me, the song would be more like.  He drank down my last swallow/Then I punched him in the stomach/And we began to fight.  Whatta joik!!

And the night got deathly quiet
And his face lost all expression
He said, "If You're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right"

Ian:  Deathly quiet... foreshadowing???  I can't imagine that'd bother either of ya since it apparently takes overwhelming boredom to even exchange pleasantries.  But no, it didn't stay quiet for long, as pops vomits forth this ridiculous "advice."  Still seems pretty uneven handed, yknow?  What if y'all don't really care to play the game?  Unless this is still just an extended metaphor for a shady drug deal.  In fact, I can totally see Walter White playin the Gambler in this scene.  Creepy.

You've got to know
When to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run

Ian:  Still imagining Walt starin down this meth runnin lackey, in deathly quiet, deciding whether he needs to kill him or not...

You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Ian:  Okay, there is no situation where you count your money at the table.  They give you chips, don't they?  And you sorta have to count them when you place your bets.  Right???  I mean, if you ignore how much you have, how do you know whether to leave the table or not?  This is NOT GOOD ADVICE!

Now every gambler knows
The secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep

Ian:  The Gambler needs to watch An Inconvenient Truth.  The secret to survival is knowing how to properly recycle.  That's that.

'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep"

Ian:  Y'know what?! Fuck you.  That is the gogdrained opposite!  That defeats the point of gambling, doesn't it?  I thought some hands win and some lose.  But then again, I guess I don't know as much about gambling as this sage destitute deadbeat dad.  I don't know about this shit, because I think we can hope for a little more than just knockin off one day without ceremony.

And when he finished speakin'
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep

Ian:  What fuckin rude conversationalist.  "NO MORE QUESTIONS!!!"  Like, seriously, just quaff this poor kid's whiskey ramble off some silly ass gambling metaphors the make NO SENSE, waste half a cigarette instead of offering it back and just pass out.

And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler - he broke even
And in his final words I found
An ace that I could keep

Ian:  Full circle!!!  You got an ace back!  Don't give away to the knew silver tongued self-styled Henry Higgins type that arranges some shady ass drug deal in an outtatheway locale.  But just as a matter of interest, how did you exactly figure out he was dead...?   I mean, if y'all were droppinto silence here and there, then who the hell's to say he didn't just pass out until you fell asleep too?  Maybe this is the gogglelivin Twilight Zone IIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiidunnnnooooooooo...

You've got to know
When to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run

Ian:  You should've walked away at the very beginning, son.

You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Ian: Not tryin to be disrespectful or nothin, here, but it doesn't exactly seem like there was time in this here gambler's case to count nothin when the dealin was done.

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