The Gambler (During the Great Depression, there was a man who walked into a bar one day…)

The Gambler (During the Great Depression, there was a man who walked into a bar one day…)

One of my favorite humorous stories with multiple morals to be interpreted, as the best stories always are! Make the best of what you’ve got. Turn weaknesses into strengths and advantages. Master presentation and social situations. All are not as they seem. Be curious, don’t be certain of others. Question your level of certainty, as the penalty for error may be beyond what you can afford. Having poor pissing accuracy really isn’t a problem.


The Gambler

During the Great Depression, there was a man who walked into a bar one day. He went up to the bartender and said, “Bartender, I’d like to buy the house a round of drinks.”

The bartender said, “That’s fine, but we’re in the middle of the Depression, so I’ll need to see some money first.”

The guy pulled out a huge wad of bills and set them on the bar. The bartender can’t believe what he’s seeing. “Where did you get all that money?” asked the bartender.
“I’m a professional gambler,” replied the man.
The bartender said, “There’s no such thing! I mean, your odds are fifty-fifty at best, right?”
“Well, I only bet on sure things,” said the guy.
“Like what?” asked the bartender.
“Well, for example, I’ll bet you fifty dollars that I can bite my right eye,” he said.
The bartender thought about it. “Okay,” he said.
So, the guy pulled out his false right eye and bit it. “Aw, you screwed me,” said the bartender, and paid the guy his $50.
“I’ll give you another chance. I’ll bet you another fifty dollars that I can bite my left eye,” said the stranger.
The bartender thought again and said, “Well, I know you’re not blind, I mean, I watched you walk in here. I’ll take that bet.” So, the guy pulled out his false teeth and bit his left eye.
“Aw, you screwed me again!” protested the bartender.
“That’s how I win so much money, bartender. I’ll just take a bottle of your best scotch in lieu of the fifty dollars,” said the man.
With that, the guy went to the back room and spent the better part of the night playing cards with some of the locals. After many hours of drinking and card playing, he stumbled up to the bar. Drunk as a skunk, he said, “Bartender, I’ll give you one last chance. I’ll bet you five hundred dollars that I can stand on this bar on one foot and piss into that whiskey bottle on that shelf behind you without spilling a drop.”
The bartender once again pondered the bet. The guy couldn’t even stand up straight on two feet, much less one. “Okay, you’re on,” he said.
The guy climbed up on the bar, stood on one leg, and began pissing all over the place. He hit the bar, the bartender, himself, but not a drop made it into the whiskey bottle.
The bartender was ecstatic. Laughing, the bartender said, “Hey pal, you owe me five hundred dollars!”
The guy climbed down off the bar and said, “That’s okay. I just bet each of the guys in the card room a thousand bucks each that I could piss all over you and the bar and still make you laugh!”
At the Swing of Midnight

At the Swing of Midnight

I really love this poem, for lack of a more elegant opener. It’s similar to What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction, except it wasn’t written by teenagers and it has a touch more grace. It doesn’t apply to only women either, though I’m happy to dedicate this post for our beloved females. I know enough people who walk around oblivious to the light they emanate wherever they go. Beautiful minds and beautiful hearts with their thoughts elsewhere, devoid of ego or self-awareness of how amazing they are (in this case, it does not take one to know one).

My ask: send this to someone to which you feel it applies. 


At the Swing of Midnight

At the swing of midnight, on the day you were born,

Three lightning bolts came together.

The first, sinuous and long, said, “I shall make her graceful.”

The second, jagged and strong, said, “I shall give her a mind

That cuts into darkness like diamond.”

The third, bright as a sun, said, “I shall give her radiance

That warms and brightens all those around her.”

 

 

As the three lightning bolts descended on the newborn,

Lightning-fast,

A fourth came along, so spectral and pale as to go unseen,

And whispered: “I shall make her forget.”

 

 

And so she walked the earth, oblivious to her gifts,

Save when staring into a newborn’s endless eyes

Or hearing a strain of music so pregnant with yearning

As to have the weight of truth,

Or when a dusty pilgrim would arrive from far away

And cry, “Ave!,” with wild eyes that could see

The goddess for the human that she was.

 

 

— Ali Binazir 10/2012

The Story of the Taoist Farmer (How to Develop a Resilience Mindset)

The Story of the Taoist Farmer (How to Develop a Resilience Mindset)

We’ve all dealt with setbacks – perceived setbacks rather I should say. And if I’m being honest, setbacks honestly suck every time, frankly.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick

But, similar to the power and benefits of mindfulness meditation, the key is to bounce back as quickly as possible. Shorten the time gap between negative event, emotional response, and return to equilibrium of general positivity. How does one reliably accomplish this? No idea, but I think doing what it takes to build, foster, and maintain a resilience mindset helps.

As is with (and hence my love for) comedy, stories pierce through our psyche in a way that factual dribble drabble or self-help generic white noise can’t. So with that logic, I’d like to present to you another favorite short story.

The Story of the Taoist Farmer

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.

You can look at the farmer’s life over the course of time, and see with 20/20 hindsight vision what was initially thought to be tragic ultimately was not. Do you ever give yourself the same advantage? Have you ever looked back on negative events and reframed them in a positive, “because of X-negative event, Y-great things manifested in my life,” light? That’s level 1 that most people can do. As Steve Jobs said, you can always connect the dots looking back.

Level 2 is taking things in stride, with the resilience mindset, minimizing your emotional downtime. I’ve found it most helpful to maintain the farmer’s open curiosity, questioning how things will unfold in the future. Since we never have the privilege (would it be?) of knowing happens in our future, merely speculating with a positive outlook helps tremendously.

  • Lost your job? Wonder if this will open up new doors for you that ultimately put you on a career path more closely aligned with your interests.
  • Injured? Wonder if your extra time not exercising will lead you to better leveraging your mind, possibly finding your next passion.
  • Wasted your time reading this blog post? Wonder if my apologies will suffice.

Level 3 is refusing to conform to everyone else’s opinion and maintaining your independence of thought. This will help with investing and finances as well.

“Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful” – Warren Buffet

‘The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.” – Colin Wright

There are no isolated incidents, so deeply question how any event will affect other aspects of your life now or in the future. Seeing things in full connection to everything else is your right brain’s highest calling.