Today I put a monkey on a donkey

When I meet people out and about and they ask me what I do, I dread telling them, especially when I am in the company of my esteemed friends who all have very exciting and/or worthwhile jobs. Amongst them are a meeja/television person, a writer, a clever dick science PHD, someone who works in psychiatric hospitals and someone in a snazzy events management company. The minute that I mention I work for a laboratory, everyone always says the same thing; “oh, animal testing is it?” I’m not sure it was funny the first time, but I smile on. Now I realise that I’m not helping my reputation when I tell people we had a dead cat arrive in the post or I blog about stacking animals on top of one another, but between you and I, I quite like shocking people. I work in the office of a veterinary laboratory, so we do regularly get misdirected samples in the post. But I can assure you,  we have never had a whole monkey in the post and I certainly haven’t been trying to make them ride donkeys. Anyway I digress, I wanted to tell you a little story about my day. I was actually referring to a bit of dodgy rhyming slang, which incidentally I can’t even begin to understand. Why do we call £500 a monkey? I’m sure you all know the answer and about 0.45 seconds on google could probably tell me, but I’m not that interested!

A workmate of mine had today off work to go to the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and spurred on by this, I had a little flutter on the geegees. I’m not a big gambler; I bet in the National every year, but apart from that I don’t tend to bother. However, I spent the week keeping an eye on the tips of a serial gambler and time after time, he picked winners. So, drawn to the illicit light like a mutant lemming moth, I decided to put some bets on. I was initially reluctant because after a massive stroke of luck last year, I wasn’t sure I could beat it.

If we roll back to April 2009, Shelley and I spent a day poring over the Grand National form in Horse and Hound and we eventually convinced the family to put some bets on. The conditions were that you were to place two Each Way bets; one had to be an outsider and one could be a favourite. Certain family members were a little more conservative than others! I think that Gareth’s outsider was at 25-1. I would love to say that I knew a great deal about the horses and had a strong knowledge of the form, but in truth, Horse and Hound told me that Mon Mome had won the Welsh National and was nifty at getting out of trouble. I put £5 each way on him and the same on Comply or Die. Comply or Die spent the entire race in the top 10 and as a rank outsider of 100-1, Mon Mome wasn’t mentioned at all. So imagine my absolute shock and surprise when Mon Mome shoots to the front and pushes Comply or Die into 2nd place by 12 lengths. I was absolutely dumbfounded and even after collecting my £670 winnings, I couldn’t even begin to understand how I could have won such an astronomical figure for no good reason.

So now you can see why I wasn’t sure I wanted to gamble again; nothing could beat luck like that! But today I wanted to put a quick bet on the geegees. After a tonne of work and impending job interviews, I hadn’t even had time to see who was running and when I forgot my wallet, I didn’t have time to wait for Honest Andy’s tips. So I had a quick look in the paper and chose a few horses to back in various races. When I did eventually see Andy’s tips, I was gutted that none of the horses I’d chosen were on his list. In a moment of panic, I popped a couple of his picks on. I saw Mon Mome was in the Gold Cup, this time at 50-1 and couldn’t resist backing my lucky talisman once more. Quite bizarrely, the horses I selected came in at 2nd and 3rd and those I backed on the tips of others bought me nothing. Despite throwing money away on useless bets, thanks to Mon Mome, I have come out of it with a profit; not a huge profit, but enough to buy my nice friends a drink on Sunday night.

I haven’t come away from the day under any kind of pretence that I understand racing or gambling, just grateful that Lady Luck was smiling down on me again today. So many things in life seem to be down to chance. Being in the right place at the right time  and I tend to let my life run along in this manner. I think that everything happens for a reason we have to go with the flow; there will be times when life chucks us a raw deal and there is very little that we can do to try to change it, we must just weather the storm in the best humour possible. Equally much, when we get a big stroke of luck, one must remember that it is indeed a stroke of luck and not necessarily an amazing super power that you have suddenly developed. I have always believed that I have this view on life because I’m a little lazy and it stops me from beating myself up over life changing decisions, but I’m beginning to think it’s quite a wise and sage way of looking at life.

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