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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stay Down!

At some point a tired, undersized, overmatched fighter has to stay down. It's just a question of whether it will be voluntary or not. He knows that he's never really going to win, but the pull to the rush of engagement cannot be overcome by reason in some fighters. Sure, pain and injury may keep the fighter down temporarily, for a few seconds, minutes, months, or years, but the sick bastard is going to get up. When he gets up, he will recover. While the bruises heal, the fighter will regain a healthy perspective on life and fighting, yet somehow the healthier he feels and the lesser he needs it, the more he wants to step back into the ring. This, mon frere, is addiction.

Relatively few may become addicted to fighting, but there is a countably infinite set of activities with little or no positive benefit, and sometimes extremely harmful, for which one may fall victim to. It could be as exotic as injecting heroin directly into your bloodstream or mundane as biting your fingernails. It could be as expensive as getting lap dances or as Larry Harrison-ish disturbing as masturbating outside strangers' windows.

However the human brain happened to come to be what it is does not matter, but it ended up with a major defect. If we were a product line manufactured for use by some other being, there should have been a recall. Somehow, certain activities which we willingly engage in send an electrical and/or chemical signal to our brains that, no matter the utility of the activity, our brain files it under the do that again as soon as possible category. Not everyone suffers from every addiction, thank goodness. Like with the common cold, we can reduce our chances of getting it by limiting exposure to known undesirable addictions, such as smoking. Yet just about everyone is addicted to something that they wish they weren't.

I was told by my guidance counselor in high school that I have an 'addictive personality'. Does this mean that my friends are addicted to me? Perhaps, but I think what he mean was that I am especially prone to filing experiences in the do that again as soon as possible category. I have adopted and battled off many activities in this category in my life, most notably cigarettes. Some were replaced with others, like weed for alcohol, while others were eliminated with a reduction in disposable income, like, well...strip clubs. Writing for this blog has its ups--good writing practice for a math major, and its downs--could, you know, perhaps be something I shouldn't be doing at work.

The word 'addict' has a connotation that suggests weakness and an uncontrollable tendency towards an activity outside societal norms. I am, without question, a gambling addict. My family of wagering of choice is sports betting. Through the years I have had my ups and downs, but it is always the big losses that are remembered. Remember that 49'ers/Giants playoff game that ended with the crazy field goal play? The Giants fucked up the snap, then a blatant pass interference was not called and the Giants lost after being up 17 or 24 at halftime. That play represented over a $1k swing (what I would have won vs. what I lost) and I of course remember it because I was on the losing end. That NCAA final game where the Duke player (Duhon, I think) hit a meaningless three-pointer as time expired? Lost $50 on that one. Remember when the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts lost at home to the fucking Houston Texans this past year? or that game in September when the Steelers lost to the lowly worse-than-Lions Oakland Raiders? Lost on both. Didn't give the points either, just needed them to win straight up. A few years ago I threw a Florida State money line bet on top of a four team parlay. They were -1300 and would have added about $3 to the win. It was of course the only one to not come through.

Perhaps what I regret most is all of the bets I have made simply because I knew I was going to be watching the game. What fucking sense does that make? In these games I don't see any particular edge to either side of the line due to some special insight on one of the teams competing in the contest. It's like dipping the end of a joint in cocaine or breaking the guide stick off of a bottle rocket before lighting it--no reason to fuck with a good thing. For fuck sake, just watch the damn game! The most recent examples of this behavior are the Red Wings/Ducks series and the Champions League final yesterday. I lost on both, making big homer bets.

That same guidance counselor also told me that I was so set on what was causing me to be seeing him that he didn't think there was anything that could be done to stop me doing that particular activity until some terrible event would occur in my life because of it that would snap me out of it. He was right. While I am certainly a heavy drinker, I mostly drink to great excess only in social situations where it is acceptable, even encouraged. There is no such social aspect to my gambling addiction. I'll bet on pretty much anything (very rarely baseball, however) and will drop a c-note on something I don't really feel strongly about happening.

What I would like to do is to limit both the amount wagered and make every bet the kind that I'd look back and say that I'd happily make again (they do actually exist). With the football season months away and just the NBA playoffs and perhaps the Stanley Cup finals to bet on now, it's time for me to draft a Bill Simmons-esque set of rules that sound good but in practice will not be followed. Starting next week I will begin this living breathing document, which in the spirit of the Almighty Bill Simmons, will undoubtedly contain shitloads of contradictions. I hope to get help from the rest of the staff chained up in the cellar on this. Oh, that reminds me: remember to stop by CVS and pick up some gauze. And some lube.

Have a happy, drunken, meat-gobblin', gamblin' good time this weekend!

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  • At 9:30 AM, Blogger the butler said…

    dude, you're all over my favorite topics these days...we spent last weekend in Vegas (Hilton sports book is the tits) and the Red Wings screwed me as well. So did Street Sense with his premature ass run.

    What I learned-
    Tim Duncan props = $$$

  • At 11:02 AM, Blogger The Battleship said…

    Rule #1: Never bet on or against the Detroit Lions unless John Navarre is involved in the game.

    I add that last caveat because the last time I recall betting on the Lions Navarre was the starting quarterback for the opposing team and I made a boatload hating on him.

    The Lions generally lose but they have a surprising knack for rising up anytime that I try to profit off of their crapiness.

  • At 2:06 PM, Blogger Joe said…

    gambling: quality over quantity


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