A longtime friend of The Barnstormer also happens to be a heavy gambler. Whether the Giants cover the spread, his niece’s peewee team can come back in the third period, down 4-1, or his taxi can get him across town in under 15 minutes, he’s almost certainly got money on it. He has agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to occasionally document his exploits for us. Find him on Twitter @thelousygambler, but it’s probably not a good idea to take his advice.
THE ELASTIC FACTS read like this: I’m better than this. And: I’m due.
I’m a great believer in energies and their consequences. I haven’t deserved to win lately. My heart has been errant. My concentration spotty. I’ve been like a sack of jelly atop one barstool or another, listless and full of imprecise desires — want, want, want — but without the purity of vision to make any of those desires come to fruition. Are you following me? My cheeks are mapped with constellations of burst capillaries. They’re like tiny roadmaps back to each empty glass. My eyes are lakes of red. My skin is grey and rough. My will is scattershot. This season isn’t helping. What is it about this time of year? If it weren’t for all the extra occasions to tip a glass, it’d be unbearable.
What I need is a vigorous display of real living. To run up the mountain. To demolish a house. To cut down a tree. Take a dip in a cold lake. To embrace a warm woman. Something to cleanse, to get the blood pumping, to engorge and revitalize certain forgotten precincts of my circulatory track.
I have friends who’ve devoted their lives to the arcane pursuit of statistical analysis. I get the value, I suppose. Their work helps determine patterns of vaccination, or where to place cell phone towers, or where and when a new road is required to relieve gridlock.
But in matters less precise, more related to will and what I’ll call soul — such as sport, such as wagering on sport — I’ve always thought it came down to something quite unquantifiable, something you might label heart, I suppose. And it goes like this: it breaks your way or it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t for long enough, it’s bound to go your way again, sooner or later.
Well, it’s later for me. Decidedly so. I’ve been in the midst of a losing streak dating back to the decline of my sexual virility. A string of strange luck that would make Leopold Bloom blush. So, if ever a sad, lousy bastard was what you might call due, it’s this sad, lousy bastard.
Which is all to say that, despite my recent track record, I’ll stick with my gut, thanks.
THE CONCRETE FACTS, recorded on paper and a matter now of indisputable historical truth, are these: I took Washington over Cleveland. But who didn’t? Small payout there. I had Denver over Baltimore and Houston over Indy. All good on that front. I thought New Orleans was far more demoralized than they apparently were. That was a big goose egg. And the New York Football Giants disappointed me greatly. I didn’t think the Falcons had that in them. Then, Mr. Brady and his Patriots: that was a close one, and it caused me a great deal of excitement and, in the end, anguish.
But oh, Mr. Sanchez, that was a painful display. The New York Jets are the longest running sitcom in TV history. I had a side wager going with JP from the pub that Tebow would be struck down by God in the third quarter.
Rex Ryan and I may have been the last folks in the world to believe in Mark Sanchez, but four interceptions? You showed me nothing to justify my taking you by a touchdown over the Titans. Your disregard for my financial and emotional well-being is frankly unsettling. Consider me, from here on out, an enemy, Mark.
So, another bad week. That’s a fact, cold and stark. But I lick my wounds, crawl back into my hole, regroup. I’ll be back. I’m due.