Friday, November 23, 2007
Bathroom Monologue: Born Lucky
So you've got these two guys, and they're the luckiest in the world. They've been banned from every casino, not that either of them cares, because by now they're already millionaires. They don't know what causes this luck. Maybe the angel of fortune smiles on them, maybe they live at the end of the probability curve - they don't know and they don't care. And they've never met until one day in the park, when they shake hands and sit down to a casual game of backgammon. They love games, as you would too, if you won that often. To start off the game each rolls a die, with the higher number getting to start. Except they both roll six. And then six again. They tie at five the third time. Then six again. Then three. Then four. Then five. At first they laugh about it, but soon they're angry. How's the other guy doing this? And by the end of the first hour they want to win the opening roll more than they want to play backgammon. By the third hour, I doubt either of them really cares if they get to play backgammon at all. Their wives (far too beautiful for anyone to understand how the lucky bastards snagged them) can't drag them away from the park until 10:00 AM the next morning, and they meet that night to continue their furious streak of ties. And the next night. Then five nights a week. Then weekends, too. And they just can't out-roll the other guy. This gives them all the time in the world to chat. They never leave the backgammon set, so the conversations rarely get interrupted. They talk about everything in their lives until they run out. Then they talk about their families. Then the city. Then soon, the world. When it comes to long conversations about the world, nothing fills nine hours like problems. They discuss every horrible thing they've ever read about. They theorize how everything got that way, and how to fix it. Over the hours together, they show each other how they've been naive and insulated. They're not particularly bright, but they've got more time to talk than bright people. So they wind up with a most elaborate plan for international investment, philanthropy like no other - which will take a lot of money, and even more luck. The plan, and only the plan, gets them to leave the backgammon board. They pack up their things, put on their lucky shoes, and head to Washington, each with a die in his pocket. I'm crossing my fingers for them.