Big giant head


In Other News

A few last words on Dave Van...

He's put up an apology of sorts to Beth, saying he never meant to suggest she isn't a wonderful woman and excellent mother. That's very true. What he suggested is that she's not much of a wife. No apology for that, apparently.

That's okay. On Beth's behalf I accept.

But I guess he's confirmed what I said at the outset, hasn't he? He sent Beth an inappropriate mail, she slapped him down, and then he zinged her in his journal. Ergo, Dave fired first.

And finally... That e-mail from Beth that he posted, saying I obviously wrote it? I didn't.


Saturday -- October 9, 1999
A Day At The Races

Damn, seven entries, seven days in a row! I'm on fire! And today there's pictures! How can you people stand it?

We did the company picnic thing with Beth's office today.

Which calls to mind a warning I should maybe give you fine readers: Don't date, then marry, within the office. If you do, then when you quit but your spouse doesn't you're still not rid of all those people because you're going to get dragged to office functions and Christmas parties and company picnics and when you drop in for lunch you'll have to walk the halls and make the rounds and say "hi" and make small talk with everyone and try like hell to remember their names and look like you know who they're talking about when they tell you how "Sheila was let go because ... well ... you remember what she was like" and etcetera. Just a little warning. Just FYI.

So we did the corporate company picnic thing today. It seems like I've been doing these things with this company since just about forever. Hell, I organized one of them years back when I still worked there. I was the Gamemaster and I made sure everyone played games and had fun or else. And I think maybe I harassed the CEO maybe a little too hard because the next year I didn't get to be Gamemaster again. Wuss. Like sitting in the dunk tank was beneath him or something. And what was with that 3-piece suit?

Anyway. Picnic. Right.

They're always mixing it up somehow, looking for new and interesting ways to do the picnic, looking for some way to raise morale and increase that sense of teamwork without actually doing it by handing out raises. Well, today I think I'd have to say they succeeded. Today the picnic was held at Santa Anita Racetrack.

I like Santa Anita. It's pretty, there are horses, one of my short scripts takes place there, and there's gambling. What more do you need? Cash to gamble with? Well, the company provided that. Only 10 bucks, but hey, there've been years where they wanted to go the other way and charge employees to help pay for the festivities. Free money -- can't argue with that.

A kiss for luck

I, unfortunately, needed more free money than that measly $10. A lot more. Usually when I go to the track I hit pretty good on the first two or three races and those pay for the rest of my day. I usually end up breaking even, which is just fine with me because it means I had a good time for free. Today, however, I missed on the first couple races ... and the next couple ... and the next couple. I ended the day down about $100. No, $110, because I lost the $10 the company kicked down, too.

They lost
Just win, baby!

I think it's my new system that was to blame. In the past I'd always peruse the program, read the handicapper recommendations, check the horses' and jockeys' records, reject anyone with purple silks, see which horses' names sounded funny, ask the toothless guy at the next table who he liked, and wet my finger to test the wind. Thus scientifically reinforced, I'd go place my bets. And win the first few, which covered the next bunch that lost. Hey, it worked.

Today's wrinkle was my invention of the Sure Thing System. I came up with a way to pick the winner of every single race, every single time. It's a surefire, no mistakes, can't miss, can't lose way to gamble. And it's so easy, even a child could do it -- if I child could bet legally, that is. All you do is this: Bet the field to win.

Somebody's going to win, right? Bet 'em all, and you'll have money on the winner. Simple. Now, granted, it has flaws. Like the fact that you tend to lose money. Yeah, okay, I'll give you that. But what if a long-shot wins, huh? What about that big payday then? Well, okay, that usually just covers two or three of your other losing races and you're still hemorrhaging money, but it could happen, right? And, sure, favorites win most of the time and don't pay much, certainly not enough to cover your losing bets on all the other horses in that race, but if maybe, just maybe, you can put a string of long-shots together, say maybe 6 or 7 in a row? You're golden! You're in the Winner's Circle! You've made ... well, not a lot of money, but you're ahead! Woo hoo, go you!

Today, however, wasn't one of those days. My big long-shot win paid all of something like $24, which meant I was up a whole $4 on that one race. My biggest payoff all day was the race where I won something like $34, and it only cost me about $40 to do it. You can see I was on fire, right?

But what the hell. It was fun. And Beth did pretty well for herself. She showed a knack for picking the winners -- especially long-shots -- and she ended the day up something like $60. My wife, the handicapper. She's very excited about it, very proud of herself. I don't blame her, she had a good day.

I don't think it's hit her yet that we didn't.


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Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins