Sunday, June 26, 2016

Strange Bet Fellows

Let me start by telling you that the title of this post is not a typo or an auto-complete. Today I’m blogging about betting. I got the idea from some news items in the New York Times shortly before the vote by the Brits on whether or not to leave the European Union. Apparently there was a lot of action betting on Brexit: Will they stay or will they go? The odds favored staying, so those who bet against that must have made quite a few pounds. My immediate reaction was: “Jeeze Louise. People will bet on anything.”

The same issue reported that Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has decided to skip the Olympics in Rio for fear of contracting the Zika virus. Barely a week earlier, NBC reporter Samantha Guthrie announced that she’s preggers and will be covering the event from New York.

Conflating these stories (as I often do), I wondered: What else will bookies be taking bets on this summer? Will it be which athlete will be next to skip the Olympics? Rather than Google this idea, I moved on mentally to what every day things one could bet on. It didn’t take long to turn up plenty of strange bet fellows in my own life. Some of these are health related.

For instance: How many points will my blood pressure have increased at my next checkup, now that I’ve put on quite a few pounds? And: How long will it take for me to lose the ten pounds I desperately need to peel off? (And the next ten that really should go away, too…)

Here’s one that I doubt many of you have to worry about. How many golf balls will hit our condo this season? Last year I collected 48 of them, but they didn’t all hit the house. Some just landed on the grass and in the bushes. But when they hit, it scares the (expletive deleted) out of us.

You could place bets on how many more weeks Jagdish will be taking the train up and back to Providence for four days at a time. It was supposed to be just for a month or two. That was in March. I don’t think either of us realized how much he missed holding court in his “ashram.” And how much his customers missed him. That’s OK. I have the cats to keep me company now.

Speaking of cats, what are the odds on whether I try to sneak a third one into our condo? We’re only allowed to have two, even though they never go outside and together they weigh less than most dogs. Apparently, people here are OK with having some poor little senior feline caged at the rescue facility for the last years of its life. Even when a good home is waiting. Note to self: Stop looking at the Protectors of Animals website. You fall in love with all the new ones and feel terrible for those that have been there for months.

Oh, here’s one I like. How many more months of practice will it take before the band Elaine plays with is ready to perform in public? We’re not talking about getting paid to play. There’s a convalescent home waiting for us to entertain for free. But not until we’re more polished.

You may have noticed that, despite starting this blog with betting on Brexit, I’ve assiduously avoided any bets that involve presidential politics. I doubt we’d get any agreement on the odds. And even if we did, they’d probably change weekly in any case.

I’m sure I can think of many more issues that could have odds applied and bets taken. But you get the idea. Feel free to do a similar drill on your own life. You’d be surprised what strange bet fellows are waiting out there.

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