My name is Norb and I’m a gambler. (Muted response, Hi Norb.) I don’t bet on the ponies or play poker. I don’t play the over/under on sports games but I gamble every day.
When my alarm goes off, and, at seventy, when I swing my legs over the edge of my bed, I gamble on the fact that when I stand up, my legs won’t collapse. I’ve been to the hospital a few times when I “melted” as I call it. I don’t fall, just slowly collapse to the ground because my legs can’t support me.
Once I am up, I shuffle to the kitchen where I make myself a ham, egg, cheese and kimchee breakfast sandwich, and gamble several times. According to Consumer Reports (2015), “More than 10,000 people were hurt using microwaves.” I gamble the egg I use won’t give me salmonella or the ham I use won’t give me food poisoning. I’ve had food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, once in my life, and it wasn’t fun. As I cut my English muffin I am reminded that lacerations caused by kitchen knives affected more than 900,800 people in 2012, according to the www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. I gamble I don’t cut myself.
After I eat my sandwich, risking choking, I then go down my back steps gambling on the chance they aren’t wet or icy causing me to slip, go ass over tea kettle, and face plant on the concrete sidewalk at the bottom. My wife has put non slip strips resembling black sandpaper on the steps to help prevent this.
I then take my biggest gamble of the day. I get into my car, turn on the ignition and ease myself on to the road. According to driverknowledge.com, the average number of car accidents in the U.S. every year is 6 million. I wager that every other driver isn’t DWI or Texting or Chatting on their cell phone, and are paying attention to their driving. When you think about it, half the vehicle-to-vehicle car accidents on the road are caused by the other guy. I may be the best driver in the world but that might not help me if someone is acting unsafe on the roadway.
I also gamble, if it is winter, the road crews have plowed and salted the roadways properly before I drive on them. I have traveled on unplowed roads before and I slid into the ditch.
Other gambles I have taken were asking my wife (Donna) of 50 years to marry me. This was probably the most important chance I have ever taken. I would have been devastated if she would have said no. I tried to “stack the deck” to favor me when I asked. Knowing how much she loved children I asked her to have mine.
Two children later, I also took a chance when I got out of the navy. The movers were supposed to be at my apartment at 8:00 AM and pack us up for the trip back to Western New York. Donna and I got up early that day and made sandwiches, filled bottles for our two daughters and prepared for our road trip to Western New York. We figured it might take the movers 3 hours or less to load up our merger possessions so we could head home. We packed up our Volkswagen Beetle with what we thought we would need for a few days, filled a cooler and waited for the movers to arrive.
They only missed this appointment by 12 hours showing up at 8 PM. By 11 PM we were sitting in our empty apartment and had a decision to make. Should we start an 8 hour long drive, in the middle of the night, in the ice and snow of January, after being up for 18 hours? Our other choice was to stay in a motel overnight and leave for home in the morning when we had some sleep and were fresh.
Donna was as anxious as I was to get home so we gambled on option one. She said she would stay awake and keep me awake during the trip. So I went all in. We loaded the kids and the last of our possessions in our car and I started to drive
The first 25 miles went well, Donna and I chatting about how glad we were to be going home, but as soon as we got outside of Providence, Rhode Island, Donna fell asleep. I gambled again and decided to drive straight through. This almost proved fatal. I tried to deploy a few ways to try and stay awake. I turned the radio real loud and opened my window allowing the freezing air in.
I had fallen asleep a few times during that long trip but I would manage to wake up when my tires would hit the shoulder. The last time I fell asleep however I woke up in the median to snow flying over my car as I was plowing it. I jerked my steering wheel to the right and popped back on the roadway like a Jack-in-the-Box. Thank god no one was hurt.
We all are unaware we are gamblers and unknowingly gamble several times a day.
Follow Norb at whywny.home.blog.
Lead image: By Buffalo cartoonist David Corbett. Corbett has developed a visual outlet for his quick wit and satirical perspective through cartooning. His characters and clever captions remind the reader of incongruity of life situations. Ranging from sweet and silly to snarky, Corbett invites a chuckle or groan as well as befuddlement, challenging the viewer to make a mental leap. A recognized art collector and supporter of regional artists, his cartoons are published in several newspapers, and also wherever there are cocktail napkins.