by Kaelan Hollon - 05/20/2005
** The following story is for entertainment purposes only and does not represent the lifestyle or opinions of it's author. All semblance to 'real' individuals is coincidental. This is narrative fiction. **
If you asked me five years ago what a lawyer had in common with a gambling man, the only thing I could've told you is that we both piss the same color and bleed when you cut us. But it turns out we've a lot more in common than I thought. The thing is, pal, (and this is just between you and me) that the bright bonfires in our respective bellies are kindled by the similar vices of lust, greed and chance. I stand in court wagering bets on the unpredictable, and you're on the sidelines doing the same. It's our slack-jawed weakness for uncontrollable factors and the misfit fortunes to reap from as much that put us on the common end of professionally having a Damn Good Time.
A beautiful thing.
My boss is an exceptional gambler, bridge player and numbers man. He gave me my current job when I walked in his door unannounced one day and made him a bet. Standing broke and scared in cowboy boots in front of his desk, I mustered up a voice that could pass for cocky and said that I'd work for two weeks free wagering that he'd hire me full time, after. Considering he had just hired someone for the position, that person wasn't planning on giving up his newly acquired job, and I wasn't even licensed yet, I was taking a rather large chance of hanging myself by my own noose.
But I've been here a year now, the other boy shuffling shame-faced out the door after my two weeks. Talk about a good purse on a half-wit wager.
I was thinking on gamblers, lawyers and fiendish types in general a few weekends ago at the Pimlico racetrack. Hanging around the back entrance last weekend yarning with gamblers over a shared bottle of Jimmy Beam, I struck up a conversation about lawyers and gamblers with an older fella' who walked up in a yellow mustache and dirty boots.
"The thing is," Gus started, taking a long draw off the bottle as we leaned against the back end of my friend's pickup truck, "I just love trying to calculate the odds. It's not the numbers, it's just, I dunno, trying to make the picture fit together in a way that makes a lot of money."
"Exactly what I'm doing, most days," I countered. "I'm betting on the flexibility of the law itself, believability of my witness, whether opposing counsel is a goon or a hired gun, how I come across, the temper of the Judge and a million other things I cannot control to try to create an outcome that I can."
Gus nodded, approving. "And in order to make money, you have to treat these really volatile situations with limited emotion. I do that too. When I'm betting, I have to be careful and not bet on emotions. The outcome isn't important; the over-under is."
"But it's the whole sex of the situation, too," I countered (ignoring Gus's nervous twitching at my mention of libido, financial interests and sports gambling), "you're terrifically excited, you stand to gain or lose an awful lot in a relatively short amount of time, and there's generally a lot of sweat and liquor involved in both pursuits."
"You may just have a point there, Counselor." We took a few more slugs off the bottle and parted ways shortly after, me coming home to think on professions and hobbies based on a healthy sense of greed.
The way I figure it, the societal scowl for our passionate pursuit of the sporting life (and good money in the meantime) is horseshit. Let the naysayers wallow in their teetotaling -- I'd rather be on the Bill Dally from start to finish for all things related to fun and sin. I'm not one to go quoting too oft, but I came across a good one recently that gave me a double take, a good day in court, and left a hole in my pocket that afternoon at Pimlico.
"If there's anything in the world worth arguing about," says poker champion Amarillo Slim, "I'll either bet on it---or shut up."
And lemme tell you something, my dear gambling aficionado's..I know exactly what you mean.