Jay Meehan: Parlay voodoo
September 29, 2015
First of all, admittedly, during this entire process, I did ingest a beverage or two. And, although some of the chemicals involved have been known to produce various levels of overconfidence, for a few days there, I could actually predict sequential events in the future.
So much so that I began wagering on them and when I won, and I always won, I allowed the winnings to ride on my subsequent bet. It became one long "parlay," as it were. And the odds? Well, due to the fact that the wagers were so out of the box and fanciful, the "book" showered me with theretofore-unimaginable enticements.
Much of this, of course, was to keep me in the game, to keep me from cashing-in my winnings, which, with each succeeding speculation and the accompanying domino effect of additional beverage consumption and growth in confidence, were mounting exponentially.
the time I doubled-down that Pope Francis’ visit to the poor of spirit in Congress would cause Speaker John Boehner to resign his post in tears, I also sensed a sobbing on the other end of the line. Somehow, although he had to accept the wager, my bookie knew he was throwing good money after bad.
Where my newfound confidence came from is anybody’s guess. Brain chemistry, to be sure, but the beverages that were imbibed over the timeframe in question aren’t the ones neuroscientists usually associate with what some in the field have come to call "introspective interrogation."
There was this one study from University College of London published by Science magazine back in the day that looked into confidence levels when one arrives at a decision. In searching for the "biological basis of metacognitive ability," they were attempting to isolate that part of the brain responsible for "knowing what you know."
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Take, for example, my decision to let all my winnings "ride" on Royal Dutch Shell picking up their bat and ball and drill-rig and abandoning its plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic.
Again, for no logical reason, I "knew what I knew" and never wavered.
And it wasn’t just that I was "betting with my heart," on another green issue. No, these visions, although becoming somewhat more out-of-focus with each succeeding "round," were based upon neurotransmitter stockpiles that, by this time, must have felt like they were not only being called upon to compute but, also, to perform the backstroke.
The best I can figure is that it’s some sort of feedback loop concerning the design of the neuron community, the energy it rode in on, and the interaction thereof to both make decisions and assess confidence in the finished process. All I know for sure is that it all made perfect sense at the time.
While all this was going down in what could only be termed, both physically and mentally, a rural location, I clearly envisioned the University of Utah "Utes" put up 62-points on what author Dan Jenkins would label "the dog-ass Ducks" of the University of Oregon during a showdown scheduled for the following evening.
Let’s just say the "book" eagerly gobbled up this particular parlay. "The-team-to-be-named-later" in the somewhat recent Pac-10 to Pac-12 conference expansion clobbering perennial champion Oregon on their own turf? What would be next, Donald Trump emerging as a viable candidate in the current Republican Primary race?
Now that’s one, I must admit, I never saw coming! No brain endorphin cocktail containing any combination of serotonin and dopamine could have produced such a preposterous vision, even in one as susceptible to chemical influence as I. Only in an omelet as cheesy as the current crop could such an organism flourish.
Even had I envisioned such an obvious parlay opportunity, I would have considered it an unfair ploy, closer to voodoo than pure chemical improvisation, and somehow a breaking of the time honored code between bettor and bookmaker, whatever that might be.
However, for some strange reason, surely not guilt, I felt compelled to make good on my ill-got-gains and, in as nuanced an environment as possible, see that my winnings found their way back to from whence they came. After careful pondering of the problem at hand, it became evident that a parlay involving my L.A. Dodgers would be the mirror image of a "sure thing."
And so as to not hurt any feelings further, I bet the farm that my Bums would not only win the National League West outright but also overtake the New York Mets for home field advantage in the opening round of the upcoming MLB playoffs. Now, that ought to square the account in short order.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.