Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'll bet you ...

I bet you can remember a time that you and a few other people got into a violent argument about something that could be resolved in a minute by checking a reference book. Somehow if you're unable to look a fact up, people can argue about what it MUST be for hours. Now these days, when the Internet is a wireless connection away, many of these arguments CAN be stopped with a quick call to the web. But many years ago I found another way to stop these pointless arguments, and I actually used my idea a few times.

Suppose some people in our group are arguing about who hit the most career home runs, Mays or Mantle. The Mantle proponent is arguing, loud and long, that Mantle HAD to hit more home runs because he was a switch hitter. I'm sure Mays is the one, so I say to the Mantle guy, “I'll bet you $25 that Mays hit more homers. We can look it up when we get home.”
Now that stops the argument because real money's involved, and we all know, really, how to find the answer to settle the bet. So we all stop reasoning in a vacuum.

Just recently I realized that my discovery of this tactic wasn't nearly as original as I'd thought. One of the pleasures of growing older is that some childhood memories come back in greater strength, and now I can remember my eleven year old friend Marty saying earnestly, in many arguments of this sort, “I'll bet you ANY 'MOUNT O' MONEY that I'm right!”

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