Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bad Day at the Virtual Track

Today was the worst day I’ve had at the online track in a while. Nine races, $119.00 bet, no winners. I came close a lot of times; I kept picking the runner-up when I was betting on the nose or the 2nd and 3rd horses in the exacta. But, “close,” as they say, “only counts in horseshoes,” not horse-racing.

The question I have is how bad I should feel about this. After all, if the money was going to just disappear like that, wouldn’t it have been much better to have donated to Indonesian earthquake relief? (And now that it IS gone, I’m certainly much less likely to dig into my pocket to help out others on the other side of the world.)

But is spending a hundred and twenty bucks for nothing but the excitement of almost winning any worse than spending that money on, say, a sweater? Suppose I had spent it on a sweater that I hardly ever wore? What if I had spent it on a concert or a dinner out. And suppose the concert was boring or the food was lousy?

Once again, I’m disappointed that I’m not as good a person as I could be; does that mean I’m not as good a person as I should be?

I was a skinflint in handing out money to my daughter to spend at the costume shop. What if instead of capping her allotment at $4.00, I had given her most of what I lost at the track today? No doubt she’d have a swell Halloween costume, but would she have learned the lesson of thrift I obviously failed to learn?

Part of what kept driving me to one more bet was the hope that I’d win in the next race. In common parlance, this is what is known as “throwing good money after bad.” But if I shouldn’t have been doing it at all, wasn’t I just throwing bad money after bad?”


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