Dr Pangloss Has Whiskers And Swishes His Tail

Correctly selecting the Melbourne Cup winner, before the race is run, is a tricky prospect indeed. It isn’t easy to get right. So many of the horses in the field have not been tried over the distance, so it is not possible to know for sure if they can cope with a race over a longer distance than they have ever run. The horses in the race who have decent form over this distance (ie those that have run over it more than once, and run well) are usually from Europe or Asia, and that form counts for little when you factor in the consideration that Australian racing is different from anything these ‘foreign’ horses have experienced, with big fields (many competitors) and the style of racing is different too: we tend to economise on effort for a big burst at the end, whereas in other countries they tend to grind and grind, at one pace.

So there are more variables than usual applying to this race. A large, fruity, dollop of luck is required to get it right, from the punter’s angle – as it is also required from the trainer’s, jockey’s, owner’s, strapper’s, and veterinarian’s angles to get this just so – but it is possible with a concerted effort, built from experience, to maximise one’s chances of success. It’s all about homework. Why didn’t they tell us about this sort of homework when we were at school. I think I would have done it more cheerfully, if told it would yield success on the punt in the years to come. Maths would have seemed much less of a chore too.

And last year I won. Quite a lot, actually – not enough, if there were some Great Reckoner In The Sky, calculating profits and losses for fun, for all of us down here, to make up for all of my many losses on this horse race, but then that isn’t the point. The point is … I don’t know what the point is. It’s to have fun, I suppose. We’ll leave this penetrating question to one side, for fear that there may not be an actual answer that goes beyond the true statement that this is a risk and humans get a thrill (however small) from risky behaviour: for fear also that insight gained from pondering this question may lead one to conclude that the whole enterprise, for the average gambler, is just a waste of money. We won’t go there, for now. To return to my point, I won, hundreds, from memory, a lot more than I put on, and I decided that I should spend my winnings on somebody special: me.

There were a number of book things I wanted and I began investigating prices and methods of purchase and other associated details. I found something I had wanted for a long time, and decided to go for it. Secretly, the dark deal I made with myself was to get it at any price (OK, not any – within a tolerance of a couple of hundred dollars, maybe). I found the best price from a reputable seller, and I think it was more than all the money I had collected (and that was not all profit, to start with) but only a bit more, and so I ordered it. A few days passed and I got an email from the vendor to the effect that to send this collection of handsomely bound, second-hand volumes in good condition would require more postage than had been listed on the website, presumably the base rate for a single novel, and that more expenses would be incurred if I wished to go ahead, as the collection would need to be posted overseas and extra attention applied to packing and so on, and it would be heavy and heavy means more money, for freight and so on, but also because heavy is a really plausible reason to charge you some more, and so what did I think, go ahead with extra costs, or cancel? Wasn’t sure, as a first response. Seemed quite a lot of additional money. Then, the gambler’s insane mind taking over, it seemed like the thing to do: I’d committed to quite a big investment anyway, and it was and is an investment which should have risen in price since then, and having committed to a large sum this extra would only make the sum larger, but somehow that was OK as it was still one large sum. Guessing that doesn’t actually make sense, but it did, kinda, to me about this time last year. Yes, I replied. Go ahead, my good man. Proceed.

I don’t have the heart, or should that be the balls, to find what the price for this collection is now. So I don’t know how it’s going as an investment. I did want it, for years, and I have it now, and it made me immensely happy to think gambling winnings secured it (even though they didn’t really, not completely anyway). But I have it and it sits in the bedroom on our mantelpiece and it looks jolly good and seems to have found a home. Part of the furniture, if you will – although it’s a collection of books sitting on furniture, and not really furniture at all, but there you go.

This afternoon I heard the cat exploring and doing cat things, as I was taking an unconscionable time to get my arse into gear and go outside for Man Time. I wasn’t sure where he was. I looked. He was sitting on our collection of books, looking imperiously about himself, as though a live ornament purchased purely for the effect on the décor of the room. I advised Laetitia that she should join me in the room and she did, and we took pictures of him, varying in crappiness on my fairly unsophisticated camera, and he moved at the last moment to ruin most of them, but one or two are quite good and may turn out alright.

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://turdenmeier.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/dr-pangloss-has-whiskers-and-swishes-his-tail/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: