Jack Franzen, one of the traders on the Merrill Lynch trading floor, was taking bets. He was certain he could eat one of each from the contents of the vending machine on their floor, excluding the chewing gum. Mints? Did he have to do the Certs? Yes. He had trading hours in which to consume it all. He was not permitted any private bathroom time.
"We need to sweeten the deal," his colleague convinced, "so you have to eat everything in order from top left to bottom right to make the bets more interesting."
For days before the vendor bender, employees hovered near the machine pondering where he was going to lose it. "Dude, I’m telling you. Those Snicker bars are no joke. Especially after riding the pretzels."
"Nah, I hear he’s bringing in a blender. I think he’s going down at E6. Though I might broaden my bet and just take the whole E row."
"He’s lucky we’ve got two types of Combos. Think he’ll put the peanut M&Ms in the blender?"
"Peanuts are like little pellets of grease in the stomach. No way he’ll last past those suckers."
Even when I’m right, I rarely find myself saying, "how much you wanna bet?!" I think men like to bet more than women do. I tend to play the betting card when I’m around a gambler. A man I once dated was out with me one night, signing along to The Band’s The Weight.
"Um, it’s take a load off Fanny, not Annie," I told him.
"Um, no it’s NOT!"
"Um, yeah, it is."
"No, you’re wrong. Who walks around with the name Fanny? Please."
"How much you wanna bet?" I went there with him. I did it because he was that type, the type of guy who’d bet a girl. But men don’t bet women money, because if they took it, they’d still feel like a loser. Most men, when betting a woman, will bring "blowjob" to the plate. Sexual favors are always asked for over a lasagna. Okay, the MID took the bet, but what did I want if I won? House chores? Please. Who cares. I wanted humiliation.
So we bet, and the loser had to sing The Weight, with the correct lyrics, on a street corner with an empty bowl until s/he earned ten dollars. And they weren’t allowed to say it was a bet. And although I won the bet, he never followed through. I should have broken up with him then.
Vendor machine Jack vomited in the trash pail beneath his desk, fifteen minutes to the close of the market. "What did he say pushed him over the edge," I asked my friend Jennifer who was working on the floor. I never got an answer.
The suitor recently told me I should never ask a question I don’t already know the answer to. "But why?" I asked, breaking his rule. Though I did presume he meant when trying to make some point with someone, which he seems to do a lot with me. I usually only ask questions when I don’t know the answer. I don’t do it to get the person with whom I’m speaking to move down a chain of thought, to string them along to see things my way. I ask because I need reassurance or I need an answer. Simple as that. I don’t need to bet on it. Whereas, I think men sometimes bet to prove something, to push things further. Maybe they feel more alive when they risk. Even if it involves vomiting under your desk.