I love betting. Mostly because I love the thrill of winning and I love to compete. This is the crux of betting. There should be no tie, there is a winner and a loser and in our society of giving everyone medals and certificates of participation, having a clear winner or loser is rare. If you win, you are on cloud 9. Nothing is wrong in the world, you outfoxed, outwitted, and outplayed your opponent and are now the winner. I’m getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. This excitement and burning desire to win is what drives me to gamble (money is just a bonus if you’re successful), and to bet with my friends on literally anything. I’d like to share a couple of my completed and ongoing bets with Rudy.
“The Name Bet”
The Story: Rudy and I go back to 6th grade when I have a distinct memory of me teasing him and him crying and saying “Do you not like me because I have no eyebrows?” This is a completely factual story by the way, God children are terrible to each other. Since then we have gotten a little closer. Sometime around 11th graded I realized Mark was probably the coolest dude I knew, and it also helped that we loved mercilessly making fun of Rob for being an all around tool (Still love you Rob). The origins of the Name Bet are highly disputed, much like scientific debates over the creation of the universe or the sovereignty of Kashmir, but the following conversation is recreated from old memories.
Rudy: “I’m going to give my first born son the middle name of Danger.”
Cliff: “NO way, by the time you’re married and having kids you’ll be so whipped and just glad someone married you that you will never argue with your wife about something that ridiculous.”
Rudy: “My wife will absolutely let me do this, because I will ensure before we get married she knows that this is a prerequisite for us being married in the first place, and if she refuses then I won’t marry her.”
Cliff: “I don’t believe you have the stones to ever refuse to marry someone because of a middle name.”
Rudy: “Then you don’t truly know me.”
Cliff: “Fine, let’s bet on it.”
And thus the name bet was born, and Mark is now forced into either losing this bet to me, or being alone for the rest of his life.
“The Mets Bet” – (Complete)
I’d give more details on this if Rudy was on Gchat right now, but he signed off so he could “Do work” or something stupid like that and can’t help me remember all the facts. He would remember all the details because that’s what he does with the Mets; remembers all the details of all of their horrible, disappointing, and embarrassing losses. All I remember when I think about this is the sweet taste of victory and the sight of Rudy”s ongoing misery.
The Story: Rudy loves the Mets. It’s basically his thing. He lived in New Jersey as a kid, he loves sports, the Mets won the World Series the year he was born, yada yada yada. He is insufferable when they are doing well, and if it’s a weekend and we’re out drinking the game will be on at the bar, or he will be checking updates on his phone. After they inevitably disappoint, his night will be ruined. A couple years ago, again I don’t remember specifics because my memory is clouded by the joy of victory, the Mets were having a great season. It was “their year to win” and all that jazz. Halfway through the season they were killing it, and Rudy and I made a bet. 3:1 odds that the Mets would win the World Series in the next three years, $50 bet. I won’t bore you with the details of the Mets losing that season. It was some sort of pitching, injury, motivation, or being chokeartists problem. Possibly a combination of each. The next two seasons weren’t even close, and I took my first victory with a grin.
“The Life Bet”
I’m a pretty strong believer in making light of awkward, difficult, and sad situations. During trying times I find some sense of humor is my best mechanism for dealing with things. So much so that I’ve often been called coldhearted, I often have to physically restrain myself from cracking a joke or making light because I understand socially it would be unacceptable. There is no better example of this than the Life Bet.
This bet literally defines our friendship. We love to compete so much, that we have a bet that pays out when one of us dies. When I tell most people about this bet they generally laugh in a “oh you guys are so silly” type manner. They don’t know that we both actually have each other written into our wills. Throughout this post I think I’ve highlighted pretty firmly how much more important the victory is over the actual monetary gain, but this bet in particular the money aspect is pretty interesting. When the bet began we were in college, so to up our standard $50 bet to $500 seemed outrageous. We had no money to speak of so $500 was an astronomical amount of money. The first time I deployed to Afghanistan I put into my SGLI (Soldiermembers Group Life Insurance) that Rudy would get $5,000 if I were to be killed in action. Of course, I also had some other money portioned out pretty poorly so I can’t speak for my state of mind when I filled that out, but nonetheless, I still put him down. Upon my return to the States Rudy commented, “Well, now that you’re back my odds of winning this thing have gone down drastically.” I love my friends. As an addendum to this story, and something Rudy doesn’t quite know yet, is on this deployment I unilaterally upped the ante to $25,000. I left specific instructions on how I want it spent though, so he doesn’t get it all personally. (Hint It involves a massive party and tons of free alcohol) Don’t worry Rudy, I don’t expect you to actually have to spend this because odds are this is how we’ll end up.
* I actually think I read somewhere that life bets are illegal. Has anyone heard of this?