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High-stakes gambling

Taking hundreds off my great nephew — yeah, that’s how I roll

Published: Saturday, June 2, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT

We made our way over to Indiana over Memorial Day weekend to spend some time with my wife’s relatives who we don’t see very often. Since our kids are grown, it’s easy to forget how much fun little kids can be.

I took my lounge chair that I got for Christmas. I love this chair. It’s called a “zero-gravity” chair because you can recline as much or as little as you want as the chair pivots underneath.

Roger, my 9-year-old great-nephew seemed intrigued. “You got that for Christmas?” he asked.

“Yep,” I said. “It’s the only thing I asked for.”

I could tell by the look on his face that a lounge chair seemed like an odd request to him. I’m sure toys of all types would have seemed more appropriate.

“What if you get too big for it?” he asked.

“I don’t think I’m going to get any bigger,” I said. “You get to be my age, you’re as big as you’re going to get.”

“How old are you?” he asked.

“Forty-seven.”

“Well, when you get to be 48, you might be bigger.”

Indeed. I guess I could get bigger, but not in ways that I want to. If I gain enough weight to outgrow my chair, though, I’ll have bigger problems to worry about than the chair.

Roger was needing someone to play ball with, so I went over and pitched to him. I remember when I was young, I loved it when the grown-ups would come over to the ball diamond during family reunions and play ball with us. It was funny to watch old people trying to reclaim their youths. Now, I was the old person.

Roger wanted to wager. “If I hit the ball past you,” he said, “you owe me $2.”

“OK,” I said, “but if I strike you out, you owe me $5.” He agreed. He could have gotten me down to $2, but he has the negotiation skills of a 9-year-old.

Now that there was money on the pitch, I whizzed a fastball past him. Yeah, that’s how I roll. “You can’t do that!” he yelled.

“Sure I can. Watch again.” Zing. Three pitches and three swings and misses. “You owe me $5,” I said.

He upped the ante and we went another round. Soon, it was my turn to bat, and the wagering kept increasing. Now, if I hit the ball past him, I was owed $20, then $50 then $75.

He pitched a wild ball that went behind me. “You owe me $10,” he said. I guess if I can pitch fastballs to him, getting the ball over the plate to me was immaterial. Never mind that we hadn’t set a price on wild pitches, but he was desperate to reduce his losses.

When we were done, Roger owed me $200.

“I’m not paying you jack,” he said.

“Hey, you made the bet.”

He noted that he didn’t have the money but he’d ask his dad for it. His dad told him he’d have to mow a lot of lawns.

As we were leaving, I reminded Roger of his debt and told him I wouldn’t forget it. I’m sure he’s thinking of ways to get even with me. Maybe we’ll go double-or-nothing next time.

I know I’ll never see my winnings, but he’ll remember his uncle and, hopefully, he’ll be looking forward to our next encounter. I know I am.

———

©Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at david@ramblinman.us. If I owe you money, talk to Roger; you can draw it off my account.

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