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The next person who tells me he's depressed, I'll say, try spending two weeks in hospital with gallons of nauseating crap pouring through your arms, and then go outside on a sunny day. It's great just to sit on a bench.
It's absolutely amazing just to be here, instead of feeling like shit warmed up. I believed him. His sincerity made me feel banal and ungrateful. He was, for the moment, galvanised, plugged into a higher current of life, like someone on LSD, or someone in free-fall. He'd left someone like me, who'd just done the shopping and had to be at work in an hour, way behind, on another, duller planet.
I knew he was, because I was sitting next to him, and I was getting wet. We were in range of the sprinkler, and every few seconds it feathered us pleasantly with a fine spray. This magazine's getting fucked, though. This was true. The magazine in his hands was slowly turning soggy. I wasn't really reading it anyway. Reactionary rag. Are you sure it's okay?
They just want you lying quietly in bed, not causing any trouble. So I asked Doctor Roberta, and she said yes, so I was out here like a flash. Well, not exactly a flash. More like twenty minutes, the way I move along these days. That's the pretty one, I presume.
On first name terms now, are we? And how often does she come around and examine you, then? And they don't really do much of that sort of examining, anyway. It's all just one bloody long blood sample and counting the corpuscles, with me. We were both smiling. It seemed normal, to be joking about women. Doctor Roberta, however, had been the one I'd instigated to talk to John about his chances of remaining fertile.
One of the other doctors, a man, had said something about this in passing, in fractured English, and John hadn't understood it. I'd therefore taken it upon myself to follow Doctor Roberta out into the corridor the next time she'd passed through John's room, to ask her what the score was. She'd promptly marched back to the foot of John's bed and told him, with me translating, that he mustn't attempt to make a baby while he was undergoing therapy, but that there was a high probability that his fertility would return to normal within a couple of years.
She took off her mask while she told him this, possibly so that he could appreciate her reassuring smile. But John had seemed bemused, even irritated. He didn't have any plans to have children, as far as I knew, but I'd thought that it might be one of those virility things, and that it might be nice for him to be told not to worry about it.
But perhaps I 'd been guilty of thinking in terms of an inappropriate time scale. Perhaps John wanted to kick the problem inside him first, before thinking about the next generation. Or perhaps I, and Doctor Roberta, had offended against some private placatory rites by being over-optimistic. It was tempting fate, perhaps, to pretend that John was going through something that would return him to normality pretty soon, as if the long-term risks were similar to, say, having an appendix removed.
Whatever he'd thought, he'd never raised the subject again, and nor had I. The bar was about two hundred yards away, down the central viale of the hospital. I would've been quite happy to fetch ice-creams for both of us, but John wanted to come with me. We sauntered along slowly. Some of the people in the bar stared at him. And they think they're going to catch it from breathing the same air as me. I said nothing. I suspected that John might have broken a hospital rule by walking into the hospital bar in his full sick man's kit of pyjamas, mask and bald head, but I wasn't about to say so.
I remembered that after my first visit to John in hospital I'd gone straight home, stripped off my clothes, thrown them into the washing-machine, and then taken a shower. I knew perfectly well that there was nothing infectious about the illnesses on John's ward, and that the masks were to protect the patients from the visitors and not vice-versa, but I was surprised at the strength of my instinctive need to clean myself.
I protected myself from embarrassment by generalising. Here in the West we think we're rational and resistant to superstition and unexplained taboos, most of us, but this is perhaps only because we live rational, predictable, trouble-free lives, most of the time. We don't actually know how we'd react to the unknown, or disaster, or terror, or violence. Or how we'll react to illness and death, our own or other people's, until they happen.
We sat down on a different bench and ate our ice-creams. We talked about John's work on the laptop. He was using it to make a statistical analysis of all British horse-races over the previous few years in an attempt to find a set of common factors which would enable him to make a profit out of betting. This project was kept secret from everyone except his closest friends, partly because he didn't want other people stealing the idea, and partly because the concept tended to evoke scepticism.
In fact I was very sceptical myself, and I'd thought of a new objection. They have to let people win, sometimes, but they don't care whether it's the same person winning because of a system, or different people winning out of sheer random luck. The secret is simply to win more often than you lose. And you need to have enough money to invest in the project to be able to ride out a losing period, knowing that you'll win in the long term.
Which is where the computer comes in, because you could never work out the permutations just with paper and pencil. I have to check all possible sets of all possible variables, including stuff like weight and age of the jockey, weather conditions, track record of the horse, size of the crowd, absolutely everything I can get my hands on, and the computer has to crunch the numbers until it shows me that a certain set of variables tends to throw up a winner with something slightly more than random probability.
And then you start investing your money. There'd be no point in doing it unless the profit you make at the end of the day is worth all the work you put into it. That's several thousand races. You have to think in those terms, because the pattern probably wouldn't show over just a few hundred. It's a big project. And I might set up a group of investors. Depending on the sport, the favorite will lay either odds or points.
For example, in a football game, if a team is a 2. Fixed : A participant in a particular game who alters the result of that game or match to a completely or partially predetermined result. The participant did not play honestly or fairly because of an undue outside influence.
Futures bet : A long-term wager that typically relates to a team's season-long success. Common futures bets include betting a team to win a championship at the outset of a season, or betting whether the team will win or lose more games than a set line at the start of the season. Halftime bet : A bet made after the first half ended and before the second half begins football and basketball primarily.
Handle : The amount of money taken by a book on an event or the total amount of money wagered. Hedging : Betting the opposing side of your original bet, to either ensure some profit or minimize potential loss.
This is typically done with futures bets, but can also be done on individual games with halftime bets or in-game wagering. Hook : A half-point. In-game wagering : A service offered by books in which bettors can place multiple bets in real time, as the game is occurring. Juice : The commission the bookie or bookmaker takes. Standard is 10 percent.
Layoff: Money bet by a sportsbook with another sportsbook or bookmaker to reduce that book's liability. Limit : The maximum bet taken by a book. Middle : When a line moves, a bettor can try to "middle" a wager and win both sides with minimal risk. Suppose a bettor bets one team as a 2. She can then bet the opposite team at 3. She would then win both sides of the bet. Money line noun , money-line modifier : A bet in which your team only needs to win.
The point spread is replaced by odds. Oddsmaker also linemaker : The person who sets the odds. Some people use it synonymous with "bookmaker" and often the same person will perform the role at a given book, but it can be separate if the oddsmaker is just setting the lines for the people who will eventually book the bets.
Off the board : When a book or bookie has taken a bet down and is no longer accepting action or wagers on the game. This can happen if there is a late injury or some uncertainty regarding who will be participating. Also used in prop bets. Parlay : A wager in which multiple teams are bet, either against the spread or on the money line.
The more teams you bet, the greater the odds. Pick 'em : A game with no favorite or underdog. The point spread is zero, and the winner of the game is also the spread winner. Point spread or just "spread" : The number of points by which the supposed better team is favored over the underdog. Proposition or prop bet : A special or exotic wager that's not normally on the betting board, such as which team will score first or how many yards a player will gain. Sometimes called a "game within a game.
Push : When a result lands on the betting number and all wagers are refunded. For example, a 3-point favorite wins by exactly three points. Square : A casual gambler. Someone who typically isn't using sophisticated reasoning to make a wager. Steam : When a line is moving unusually fast. It can be a result of a group or syndicate of bettors all getting their bets in at the same time.
It can also occur when a respected handicapper gives a bet his followers all jump on, or based on people reacting to news such as an injury or weather conditions. Straight up : The expected outright winner of the money line in an event or game, not contingent on the point spread.
Teaser : Betting multiple teams and adjusting the point spread in all the games in the bettor's favor. All games have to be picked correctly to win the wager. Total : The perceived expected point, run or goal total in a game. For example, in a football game, if the total is 41 points, bettors can bet "over" or "under" on that perceived total. Tout service : a person or group of people who either sells or gives away picks on games or events.
Underdog : The team that is expected to lose straight up. You can either bet that the team will lose by less than the predicted amount ATS , or get better than even-money odds that it will win the game outright. Skip to navigation.
Betting: Glossary of common terms. Bucs equal bucks as U.