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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Last Mistake

The plan was not working.

When I finally realized that, I was two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars in debt to my friendly neighborhood bookie. I mean, all the resolve, determination, research and hard work I put into trying to pick winners was not working. (Yes, I did say hard work.) [sigh] At least I realized it.

The "plan" was to supplement my income with my sports gambling winnings. And the reason I needed to supplement my income was that I was missing a lot of days at work. Unpaid days to the tune of about two-hundred fifty bucks a day. I thought if I could make that up by winning the money betting on sports everything would be hunky-dory and I wouldn't have to worry about missing days. To say I underestimated the difficulty of my task would be a huge understatement. Custer had better odds. The last two or three years at the jail were pure torture there though. I was beyond "burnt-out" stage and well into zombie-walking-dead stage. (Which incidentally is much better than the suffering-savior-dying-on-the-cross stage.) The gambling offered excitement in contrast to my boring, soul-crushing work days and a potential way out faster than time allowed me. Or at least a semi-way out. Anyway, as I was saying... What was I saying? Oh yeah, the plan. The plan was not working.

When a plan is not working, most people think you just come up with a new one. Well, that's true to an extent. But if you're not wiser-for-the-wear from the last one, your "new" plan ain't gonna be much better than the one you're ditching. Plans are tricky things I guess. Sometimes I think it's best not to make any, but then I get to thinking, well, they're something to do, something to follow. And if you go at them the right way, I suspect they can be quite fun. They're no fun to do alone though. I found that out the hard way. If you find yourself making plans with only yourself, well, you better take a good look around and see who your real friends and family are. Don't make any plans that don't at least try to include them. Chances are it'll be a good plan if you do. It may not work exactly how you figure, but at least your conscience will be clean.

So it was time for a new plan. Yes, and come the first of the new year, I was going to begin it. I'd help McMullen escape jail in the spring. What better time to escape jail than in the spring time? With all the flowers bloomin' and baseball season just starting up?! (That was something I was going to miss, baseball season in the states. But hell, I could still following the games on the internet and cable. Well, maybe not cable, as I'm sure some foreign countries don't carry the MLB package.) In the meantime, preparation for my "time abroad" would begin immediately when the clock struck twelve on January one. And the first order of business would be to begin paying off all my debts. Check that. The first order of business would be to stop creating them. And the number one way I created debt was to try and predict what twenty-two large men would do with an oblong, semi-round ball about the size of a good loaf of bread as they ran around crashing into each other while trying to move it across an arbitrary boundary line that lie at either end of a hundred yard-long by fifty yard-wide grass field.

Okay, truth is, I didn't actually quit my sport's gambling habit on New Year's Day. (Hey, there were bowl games on!) It was actually the last day before the Chinese new year that I made my last mistake on, and it was the first day the new year (Chinese) that I'd be free forever of worrying about the outcome of events I had absolutely no control over. The Chinese New Year is great for all you resolution makers out there that fail right after the regular new year starts. You get a second chance a few weeks later to try your resolution again. It's like a do-over. It's been some number of years now that I've even had a tiny urge to do something that stupid again with my money, and looking back on it all now, seems almost like a dream. A bad one at that for sure, but just a dream nonetheless. Harmless now, though at the time, seemingly so devastating. It's almost like it never happened though. Almost. Two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money though. At least where I came from it was. 'course now it doesn't seem like nearly as much, with the book and movie deal and all... Yeah, life is strange, that's for sure.