Thursday, February 08, 2007

I didn't give a shit about the Superbowl last weekend. Football's fun, but I'm not much of a fan. Maybe it's because LA doesn't have a team, but I grew up in New York and, well, don't the Giants play in Jersey?

Actually, this all probably due to the fact that my dad never really watched football either. Winter weekends in my family didn't revolve around the NFL. Nearly every weekend revolved around the OTB.

My ol' man went to the Off-Track Betting parlor whenever he could. Then he'd come home and give us a play-by-play of his handicapping heroics or heartaches. Instead of agonizing over an interception and if that damn coach had pulled his QB in the second half, Dad would subject us to tirades about a blown daily double and if that damn jockey hadn't pushed the horse in the backstretch...

I always thought handicapping was just his hobby. Until, while finally clearing out some of my clutter that I inherited from my late father, I found that the papers filling his file cabinet weren't important business documents, but stacks of spreadsheets and speed statistics from Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack. An entire drawer was filled with envelopes of betting slips, and when I emptied those, I found enough loose ones for a taxidermist to stuff Seattle Slew.

It seems a little crazy, perhaps a bit OCD -- did football fanatics keep this much paperwork on Peyton Manning? Then I remember my dad saying that the IRS would nail him whenever he hit a big payday. So he needed to have proof that he was investing money into his gambling as well as collecting.

And as if to emphasize that point, I also found my father's old tax returns -- in addition to his salary as a construction consultant, he listed the supplemental income he earned at the OTB. Jeez, who knew playing the ponies was so lucrative?

So regarding the Superbowl, I stand by my apathy toward the -- who won? The Colts? Are they still in Baltimore? I got a better question: Are the Thoroughbreds running in Hollywood Park or Santa Anita this week?


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