Monday, July 03, 2006

The Houdini Complex and Divine Intervention.

It is difficult to convince myself that I am not exceptional. That the rules do not apply to me. Laws of physics, laws of probability, laws of human nature. I have had, and continue to have, this belief that I can extricate myself from any difficulty. To call it confidence is gross understatement. Thus, when I fail -- and at gambling, I inevitably fail -- my entire self-image is compromised as a result. But there is something strangely appealing to me about creating and then wiggling out of adversity. Deep down, it's fun. Bargaining with someone to loan you money so that you can pay your rent. Figuring out how to talk to credit card companies so that they don't release their collections dogs on you.

Coupled with this is the occasional divine intervention. Or at least the perception of one. Right before starting law school, I was gambling -- and losing -- heavily online. I had twisted myself into a position where I wouldn't have any money with which to start school. At this point, a thousand bucks would have been extremely helpful to me, and on a Friday night, after blowing nearly my entire bankroll on internet blackjack, I asked God to help me. Just this once. Let me win a huge bet at the track and get me out of trouble and I'll never gamble again.

He held up His end of the deal. On Saturday I hit a $1,400 Pick Four at Belmont Park racetrack. Problem solved! Time to go to law school and start my new, gambling-free life. Prayer answered. Of course, I didn't keep my end of the bargain. My default on the deal with God on that night didn't stop me from making similar offers subsequently, but with far less lucrative results.

Even God Himself can run out of patience.


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