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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
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The End of the World Is an Underdog

Comment

I have friends, and some of them are behind in the matter of rent or truck payments, who gamble on sporting events, or cards, or on the results of insignificant local elections.

None of them, as far as I know, had any money on the recent possible end of the world.

There was a preacher predicting the end of the world not too many days ago, but I didn't hear of bookies offering any kind of proposition bets concerning the number of the saved or the fates of the damned.

This is a damned shame, since I might have put $50 on the favorite, that being the proposition that the world would continue on past the expiration date arrived at by the preacher. I don't think I could have gotten very good odds on the world's continuation, but it would have been very nearly a sure thing.

The favorite is always the smart way to bet. The underdog may win from time to time, but not dependably.

This is particularly true when handicapping the end of the world. Preachers, both the conventionally educated and the recently inspired, have been preaching the end of the world for centuries, but so far not one of them has made a killing by betting the underdog.

But odds are funny things, understood only by statistics professors and guys nicknamed "Beansy" who make their living setting the odds on the Tigers game.

Still, from what I know about odds making, the line on the end of the world is getting better for the guy who likes to bet the underdog.

The preachers can't be wrong forever, and even if the Holy Bible isn't the handicapper's guide to the universe, sooner or later, somebody may predict the end of the world correctly, even if it's just luck, in which case the guy with money on the world ending that day is going to make a very big score.

Of course, if the world never ends, the house will keep talking every penny of the doomsday money. Forever.

Forever, however, is a very long time, as preachers often note, most generally in sermons about lakes of fire, sermons disliked by gamblers, who prefer to dream about the lakes of champagne that might result from a winning bet on a Kentucky Derby underdog.

I would never say that preachers who predict the end of the world are just looking for a little action. That is to blaspheme, and anyway, wouldn't the end of the world mean an end to preaching? I find it hard to suspect the honesty of anyone who spends hours searching the Bible for the date when he will become insignificant.

Still, the preachers I've heard predict the end of the world seem always to believe they will be among the saved, and if you know that, perhaps the end of the world doesn't seem so scary.

I didn't believe that last end-of-the-world prediction. I haven't believed any end-of-the-world prediction I've ever heard.

This does not make me smart. It just means that if I don't trust in the everlasting nature of the world, then I at least believe that I'd better lay out a clean shirt before I go to bed, just in case the world doesn't end and I still have to go to work. I was educated by nuns who would not have accepted the approach of the final day as an excuse for slovenliness.

I still haven't heard of a bookie willing to take action on the Apocalypse, but I'm thinking maybe I should look around.

Like I said, someday one of the preachers is going to be right, and I'd like to have a little money on the sweet side of that bet.

Trouble is, if I win, how am I going to get paid?

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com

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