Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your Best Bet

(This post is an excerpt from Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Whenever I lack inspiration, I turn to one of the masters.)

If you ask my next-door neighbor what he does for a living, he will tell you that he is a professional gambler involved in organized crime. In truth, he is an insurance agent. He has a healthy disrespect for his business, and extends that skeptical mode into his philosophy of life. "We're all gamblers," says he, "everyone of us. And life is a continual crapshoot and poker game and horse race." Then he adds, "And I love the game!"

He's a great believer in hedging his bets, however, protecting himself by betting both ways when the odds are close. Philosophically this gets best expressed in these sayings mounted on his office wall:
  • Always trust your fellow man. And always cut the cards.
  • Always trust God. And always build your house on high ground.
  • Always love thy neighbor. And always pick a good neighborhood to live in.
  • The race is not always to the swift, not the battle to the strong, but you better bet that way.
  • Place your bet somewhere between turning-the-other-cheek and enough-is-enough-already.
  • Place your bet somewhere between haste-makes-waste and he-who-hesitates-is-lost.
  • About winning: It isn't important. What really counts is how you play the game.
  • About losing: It isn't important. What really counts is how you play the game.
  • About playing the game: Play to win!
Does he really believe that? Does he live by it? I don't know. But I play poker with him. And I bought my insurance from him. I like his kind of odds.

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