Thursday, 15 October 2020

Professional Gamblers: Levels of Hypochondria

If there has ever been an occupation where hypochondria and melancholy reside it's professional gambling. 

Unless you have the constitution of an ox, the thickened skull of Neanderthal man and psychiatrist on speed dial you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

If you are a heavy hitter (big bettor) I'm pretty sure you have woken up in a muck sweat in those eerie hours of the night muttering like you've lost one of your marbles as the depressive darkness infiltrates your mind as you recall the time when a,b or c went desperately wrong. 

It shouldn't be a lifestyle of choice unless you have climbed a mountain or two.

If you look in the bathroom cabinet of any professional gambler you will find a selection of jars, containers, vials and sachets, remedies for bunions to having the shits. 

In the darkness you hear a low buzzing sound coming from the cabinet, neon lights of pinks and purples and a thin trail of smoke with an acrid chemical smell makes you wonder if you have awoken from a futuristic dream. 

In fact, you will find everything and anything except a strawberry scented condom. 

A few winners, the bathroom cabinet is locked up but a run of losers and the doors are off their hinges. 

If things go sadly awry, and the anxiety level reach the point where you see witches and goblins out of the corner of your eye, you take the novel action of mixing a few ''substances'' together to clean out the pipes (so to speak). 

Anyway, I think I've painted a picture of the forlorn gambler who is down on his/her luck and the mattress isn't quite so plump as it was a month or two back.

I remember reading a passage from Dave Nevison's Bloody Good Winner about a professional gambler who used to bet big odds on. 

If anything is going to make you anxious it's betting big odds on, especially on the National Hunt. 

Anyway, this character was known for betting at the end of his rope (in the style of Harry Findlay) the shorter the price the better. If this bloke saw a horse at 1/5f, he'd take 1/6 because he thought it increased his chances of winning. 

The big odds on gambler had a permanent ashen face, bordering on albino. 

He'd placed a bet of £10,000 to win £1,000. 

I mean, you can do a lot with a grand. 

The race had started in earnest... 

Like these new toothpastes, his face, rather than his teeth, turned ten shades whiter. If he'd been standing in front of a white-washed wall he'd have been the invisible man. You would see ragged clothes hanging on a stick-like frame, a betting ticket in the hand and a trail of diarrhea.

The state of anxiety rose with every jump, stumble, yard, even breath of horse, jockey and punter with hopes and ambitions of taking money from the bookies' satchel. 

This gambler couldn't even watch the race. If he didn't like what he was hearing, he'd stick his fingers in his ears and hope beyond hope that when the commentator uttered his next words it was good news. 

When the race was over and it revealed a lovely winner, the blood rushed back to his cheeks and the pins and needles in his fingers and toes subsided enough to walk to the bookie and enjoy the sensation of folding on his palm.

If it was a loser, he literally looked like the grim reaper had entered the room and there wasn't an exit or a bathroom cabinet to find a much-needed fix. 

God help us all.

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