A problem started back in the late ’80s. Maybe you remember those days. Corporations gobbled up a casino a week and, overnight, our business became the savior of Wall Street. Naturally, corporations expected the casino bosses to talk to stockholders and Wall Street wise guys and TV hosts and all that.

Trouble was, the bosses began giving speeches that their own people couldn’t understand. The staff would trade amazed looks. Whispers would fly around the room. Like, “What’s he talking about?”

Somebody had to settle this mess, so your faithful reporter took on the job. I wrote a bunch of columns I called “Translations from the Upper Casino Management.”

You can find some of them in my two books. Anyway, I solved the Wall Street problem. Now there’s a new crisis.

Direct marketing screwed up everything. Just imagine-knowing exactly what you got for your advertising dollar. Unheard of. Then came the Internet. It’s direct marketing, too. Finally, slots took over the business. The “Marketing Speak” these three factors have spawned is just awful. So, I’m stepping in again as the visiting translator.

What he said: “Metrics are very important to our survival. If you don’t have metrics, how can you function? It’s basic marketing these days, this metrics business. The marketing magazines use it a dozen times on every page. We used to look at the daily statement from accounting to see how we were doing. Now, that wastes too much time, so we call in our metrics experts. They snap the answer right off. It’s impossible to fool these guys with a daily revenue report. They laugh. Metrics-it’s the know-all and be-all of our slot machine business.”

What he thought: “The stockholders think I’m “with it” when I throw around these new phrases. I learned about metrics just this week. It’s hip-know what I mean? But just for fun I checked my payroll this morning. We got three people in the marketing department and 16 people in the Metrics department-and my head metrics guy wants to hire five more. Okay, so they know the figures. But what else do they do? I mention metrics to my slot manager, and he looks at me like I’m from another planet or something.”

What he said: “I’ve asked my marketing director to make a deal with www.FindersKeepersLW.com. These guys have a satellite with a powerful long-range camera. They can zoom in on a guy dumping his trash and pull out name and address, bank account numbers and investments. Can you imagine the high-end list we could put together? I mean, Shazam!“

What he thought: “I let my Internet experts sell me this deal. Now, I’m not sure if it’s a 100 percent legal. I swear, if the Feds get after me, I’m going to march over to the IT office and tear somebody’s arm off.”

What he said: “I think we need to change our slot marketing strategy. First thing I want is a shift in positioning to eco-friendly. Paint the machines green if you have to. Hand out carrots and celery to the players. Give away carbon credits instead of cash. The newspapers and TV people will love us.”

What he thought: “I subscribed to a couple of direct marketing magazines, so my people think I’m right on top of every new development. I hope to God they don’t ask me to explain anything. Sure, I’d like a switch in strategy. But I’m not proud. I tell my people to drag the players in here by the heels if they have to. Just once I’d like to make forecast and get the corporate office off my back.”

What he said: “I’m looking for a new person to oversee our slot marketing. Our ideal candidate must possess seven to ten years of direct mail experience, have excellent database, circulation, planning, quantitative and analytical skills, strong oral and written communication, and must be familiar with modern marketing database systems.”

What he thought: “The corporate office wrote the description for me. Right away I know I’m in trouble. Who ever heard of a guy like that? So I take the description over to show my minister. ‘Whadda ya think?’ I asked him. He leaves the room and comes back a couple of minutes later. ‘I just talked to God,’ he says. ‘He turned down the job. Wanted to know what ‘analytical’ means.’ Don’t laugh. You got any better ideas?”

What he said: My slot manager came up with a breakthrough idea that will get us more press than any casino in history, and I’ve saved the announcement just for you, our stockholders. The idea is-a robot slot machine. As this gentle giant (he’s 6-foot-5) strolls the casino, he stops and lets customers play his built-in $5 dollar slot machines. Just think of it. If play drops off in one section of the casino, we send in the robot. People can’t resist him.”

What he thought: “We’re taking a little chance here. Once and a while the big guy’s machinery goes haywire. The other day he walked right through a wall. And now and then he gets a little testy and throws things, like people, if the engineers don’t fawn over him. My staff says they’ve changed his wiring and he should be OK. But he stays in the warehouse until our lawyers check him out and give us the OK. He doesn’t like lawyers, by the way.”

What he said: ‘There is a revolution in the CPG market, and more of our customers demand one-on-one interaction. Which means we must improve our CRM strategy and beef up our ROI calculations. Also take a second look at our SMS marketing and WAP banner ads while making sure our privacy regulations conform to HIPAA regulations.”

What he thought: “My PR guy wrote this and I only had time to go over it once before I spoke to the corporate meeting. All right, so I don’t know what all the initials mean. It’s not a federal crime, is it? I get a little hot when the marketing writers think you know what every set of initials means and they don’t spell out one damned thing. What do they think I do-spend my days reading marketing stuff? Dopes!”