(Sunday Paper Year IV, Issue 1)
I make a lot of jokes about gambling.
And I talk a lot about my various pools and how much I enjoy having more than just a passing rooting interest in certain games or certain sports.
March Madness, say, or college football bowl season.
But what I do is never very intense - it’s nothing compared to what other people gamble on sports.
(And I can’t afford for it to be more than that, so don’t worry - this is not a cry for help or anything.)
I definitely do not have a gambling problem.
I have what might be described as a gambling situation.
This is fresh on my mind right now because this is a pretty great time of year for my pools. I’ve mentioned it before, I’m sure:
The Bowl Pool gets me through college bowl season around the holidays - after I’ve fallen out of my weekly NFL picks pool.
Then the month of January is dominated by the NFL playoffs and a variety of pools - a favorite is one where I essentially pick a fantasy team of players (one from each postseason team for the entire postseason) as well as the results of each game to accumulate the most points by the end of the Super Bowl.
I won that one a few years ago and I set that money aside and the playoff pools this year are the last pools that money is paying for - I got good mileage out of those winnings. So maybe it’s time to win it again.
(False confidence is a hallmark of my pool involvement - I like to talk a good game about NFL spreads and who will win what game but I always finish .500 or worse.)
But when it comes to big bets, sometimes I strike gold. Or at least come close.
Back in 2011 I placed a bet on the Milwaukee Brewers to win the World Series when not many people saw them coming. They lost in the NLCS in six games. Though I came away with nothing I like to think that’s a smart bet on my part.
And another case in point is this year’s Super Bowl. Last year, shortly after the NFL season ended, Kathy went to Las Vegas. I always ask her to swing through the sports book for me to see if there’s a gimme bet in there that we can take advantage of. Sometimes she actually does it.
And last year, shortly after the Vikings eliminated a talented Saints team in the playoffs, I saw that the Saints were 18-1 to win this year’s Super Bowl. I asked Kathy to put $20 on the game. She did.
So now, if the Saints, who finished with the best regular-season record in the NFL this year, win the Super Bowl, I get my money back for the season plus more, which is the way I like my sports betting to go.
It’s a bit of a dry season between the Super Bowl and March Madness, and then the season-long baseball pool and fantasy baseball that I enjoy.
So a big Super Bowl win - the most rooting interest I’ve had in the Super Bowl in years - would be a nice way to get through the long winter months.
I’m bragging about this now, before the Saints play their first playoff game, while the possibility of a win is still out there.
Because I am well aware of how these things go. Nobody cares about that Brewers pick because it wasn’t a winning pick. And, no matter how much I talked about the fact that I was going to win this year’s Bowl Pool….I didn’t.
I never do.
It would be nice to get another win in the books.
(PSA: If you or a loved one does have trouble with gambling please seek help. It can be a slippery slope.)
*December is bonkers. There is so much happening that is not work-related that takes me away from work that it’s nice I have the flexibility in my schedule to take care of those things….but holy moly do I not get anything work-related done. It was embarrassing how few hours I worked in the jobs I need to structure myself. But it’s been busy since Wednesday…so busy, in fact, I barely had time to get my pool payments and picks in.
*And comedy has just been gangbusters so far in 2019. I mean, it’s been only a few days, but they’ve been great. I guess I need to start with New Year’s Eve - that show at Amazing Things Arts Center was a lot of fun - there was a great crowd and I felt good about my performance. Then I told my first joke of 2019 at Improv Boston Tuesday night, went over to The Comedy Studio for its Tuesday night open mic and worked on a little more material, and then had a scheduled performance at The Comedy Studio on Wednesday. As you probably know most of my material is about being a dad…but it’s not all I talk about. But it usually is part of every set. On Wednesday I did 5 minutes without mentioning parenting at all. Just because I wasn’t sure I’d ever done that.
This week I’ll be at Blue in Portland, Maine on Monday night, back at The Comedy Studio’s mic on Tuesday, and then Saturday night, believe it or not, is the debut of Comedy Night at Exhibit ‘A’. You can buy tickets here if you haven’t already.
What I’ve Been Enjoying
*Here’s an awesome thing: I’m not sure how many of you know who Gary Gulman is. (I’ve long understood that just because somebody is ‘comedy famous’ doesn’t at all mean they are famous to a wider audience.) But he’s one of the best comics working right now, and probably the sharpest. On January 1st he started tweeting out one joke writing tip a day. And it’s fantastic. You can click here to check him out on Twitter. It’s probably my favorite thing of 2019.
*I’m so excited for the show at Exhibit ‘A’ on Saturday and I hope it sells out. Seriously, get your tickets now.
*One time I performed at the old Comedy Studio and Gary Gulman was there and after the show he clapped my shoulder and said, “Good set.” And maybe he says that to everyone but I like to think he’s too seasoned to just throw that at everyone and give everyone false hope so…..it was one of the nicer things to happen to me in comedy, that’s all.
*Also, when I was pretty early in he dropped in at an open mic I was at and it was amazing watching him just practice his words.
*OK. I’m done gushing.
*My twitter will be nowhere near as good as his this year, but you should still follow me. Also, I am keeping to my promise so far of posting more day-to-day on the Facebook page. Give that a like if you haven’t already.
*Here’s some bad comedy news, which it took me a minute to realize was comedy news: You’ve probably heard by now that Durgin Park, open since the 1800s, is closing. it’s a Faneuil Hall restaurant. Anyway, I had heard that and moved on with my day…and within the next couple of days got an e-mail canceling a couple of my comedy dates at The Hideout because the venue was closing. Which was a real bummer because that’s a fun room. Then after thinking about it I realized that The Hideout is in the basement of Durgin Park…so obviously it’s closing. They’d built up a cool comedy space down there…and I’m sure the guys who run that show will do something else great soon. But for now it stinks.
*I have some good ideas for the upcoming weeks in the Sunday Paper that I’m excited to write about. Sometimes I worry I’m going to run out of topics to write about (*ahem*, hello, guest posts!), but I think I’m set through at least February now with ideas, so that’s a good feeling.
*Got rid of the Christmas tree on Friday, which is by far my least favorite activity of the year. (Because it means most of Friday night and Saturday morning I was sweeping and vacuuming up pine needles.) But I thought of a little gag and posted a video on the Facebook page about disposing of the tree….hope you saw it…and hope you thought it was funny.
*Lots of people I know posted about books they read in 2018. I started keeping track of books I was reading a few years ago because I was having trouble remembering if I had read something or not. But I had no idea so many people kept track of books they read. I’m reminded of this because I went to the library this week and am about to embark on Book Number One for 2019. (Which, incidentally, is a book I’m 50/50 on whether or not I’ve read before. I need to look that up.) For those of you scoring at home, 19 books read last year. And it’s not like I’m reading super-long biographies or novels - some of those were super-short kid/young adult books. In other words, I need to be reading more. Just like going to a comedy show or watching comedy helps make me better, reading makes me a better writer.
*Hope you’re enjoying this very distinctive-to-me weekend, and, well, I hope I’ll see you next Saturday night at Exhibit ‘A’!