21: People who hang out at the OTB

November 20, 2009

God, I fucking hate people who hang out at the OTB.

Hey, guys – notice who’s not there?

WINNERS. RICH PEOPLE. PEOPLE WHO ARE SMILING AND LAUGHING AND HAPPY.

Oh.

AND WOMEN.

Holy Secretariat’s nutsack, people. Look at yourselves. Your faces look like weathered baseball mitts and Jack O’Lanterns in late November. The average age inside any OTB is somewhere between 59 and deathbed. When I walk by the OTB in my neighborhood, to do something productive like drop a Netflix in the mailbox or buy some scotch, I have to wade through a sea of depleted humanity that’s like swimming against a tidal wave. Why are there so many of you? How do you organize? Do you really think that trifecta at Pimlico is going to come through? When did you go from looking at the actual numbers to just picking horses by name? 1989? 1990? You are failing. It’s not working. It’s fun when you have money to waste on a horse because the name reminds you of your ex-wife, and you have plenty of scratch to blow. But when it’s your unemployment check? You should save the money you’re going to burn and walk down the street a few steps. Buy a sandwich and some coffee, and maybe a paper. Look at the job listings. Good fucking lord.

There was a 30 for 30 documentary on ESPN recently about Jimmy the Greek. Aside from his football prognostications, he was quite the pony player. But at some point, he basically says that anybody who thinks they have a system to win at the track is lying, because it’s too unpredictable.

Does that make any sense? Does that hit home? A guy named JIMMY THE FUCKING GREEK, who was so good at predicting the outcome of future endeavors that CBS hired him and PUT HIM ON TV EVERY GODDAMN SUNDAY TO TALK ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S MOST POPULAR SPORT WITH A FORMER MISS AMERICA, BASED MOSTLY ON THE FACT THAT HE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO GET AWAY WITH A NAME LIKE ‘JIMMY THE GREEK,’ said flat-out that playing the ponies is a pointless pursuit.

But it’s addicting. Sure, I get that. I imbibe in many addictive activities. But let’s look at your company: see any members of the opposite sex around? When was the last time a woman with an address and a checking account wandered into the OTB? I’m going to say … never.

I know you don’t have many options. Some sort of big payday seems enticing. Fine. But you’re not playing the odds – the odds are playing you.

Wait, I take that back – the odds are fucking you in the ass.

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