(a true story,
more or less)
A primary tenet of the
Scientific Method is that nothing can be proven:
It is possible only to disprove hypotheses. As
far as I know, however, every apple since the
Garden of Eden has fallen to the ground when
dropped, and this is powerful evidence for the
Universal Law of Gravity.
Such observations endorse
other Universal Laws. The Law that I never win in
any form of gambling, being one. I have
occasionally wagered on horses, dogs and football
matches using my account with the online betting
company, Betfair™. I
have lost every time. I have never even won a
On Saturday 21st
May 2005, I placed five pounds on Manchester
United to defeat Arsenal in the English FA Cup
Final. United dominated the game. Even Arsene
Wenger, the Arsenal manager, had to admit that
United was by far the better team on the day.
Following my bet, United lost 54 after a
I began to invest in the
Stock Market in April 2006. In May, what the
financial press euphemistically described as a
market readjustment occurred. I
instantly became two hundred pounds poorer than
had I placed my investment in a biscuit tin under
my bed. The evidence that I could never win in
any form of gambling had become as empirically
tested as the Law of Gravity.
I gave gambling no further
thought until 1st July 2006 when I was
watching England play Portugal in the quarter
finals of the World Cup. English fans are only
too painfully aware of the Universal Law of
English Football. This states that unless the
year begins with 19 and ends with
66, England cannot reach the World
It was in the 62nd
minute as Wayne Rooney was sent off, that the
Universal Law of English Football and the
Universal Law of Swan Morrison Losing All Bets
both came together in my mind. What would happen
if I backed Portugal to win? Could my Law propel
England to the semi finals?
Betfair™ allows bets to be placed on football
matches until the first goal of the game is
scored. The score remained 00 as I logged-on
and wagered five pounds on Portugal. I became
nervous. Suppose Portugal won and I had thus
undermined a fundamental Universal Law? Would I
be responsible for some breakdown in the very
fabric of the Universe? I anxiously glanced from
my window. Those uninterested in Football were
going normally about their business. Reality
appeared, thus far, unchanged.
I became preoccupied by
such anxieties as the game progressed. Suddenly,
I became aware that Portugal had defeated England
31 in a penalty shoot-out.
I had won a bet!??
Dazed, I logged-on to
to confirm my win.
There was none. I re-read the Betfair™ rules. The bet
had been based on the score at the end of normal
time, which had been a draw.
I had lost. Both England
and I had lost.
Though sad to have not won
twenty-five pounds, I was also relieved,
comforted and reassured. The forces behind the
Universe were too subtle to be outsmarted by the
likes of me. No fundamental Universal Laws had
been breached. God was in his Heaven, and all was
right with the World.