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Gamblers Unanimous
written by Jonathan A. Baker

Imagine that you had to pick out a pair of shoes and buy them, and that they were going to be the last pair of shoes that you would ever wear. That these shoes were going to last you for the rest of your life. No matter where you were going to go, no matter the conditions or the weather, or even the occasion, these shoes were it. All occasion, all terrain, all conditions, and, it would be expected of you to always wear those shoes and that it would be expected of you to keep them cared for and repaired.

I can hear you saying that no such pair of shoes exists, but just for the sake of thought, just say that a pair of shoes like this did exist, and to make it easier, let's also say that you could change the color or do things with these shoes that would make them presentable for almost any fashion concern. What would you look for then? You would of course, make sure they fit and were comfortable. You would want them to be able to last, so you would want to know what they are made of and where they came from . You would inspect the workmanship and check all of the details. You would even want to know how the material that the shoes were made from was made, wouldn't you?

Well, we all have an idea about shoes. We all understand what shoes are for and what we want out of a pair of shoes. So, if we are all so practical about shoes, about something that we know we will not have forever, why are we so impractical and confused about our relationships? With something that may last for the rest of our lives? Certainly some relationships can have an effect on us for the rest of our lives whether the person stays in our life or not.

Why do we ignore the odds and the tip sheets, and just blithely place our bets on people that we know so little about? We may never spend a dime in a casino, but we all love to bet on love. We always love to hear about a longshot that came in for someone, the movies and romance novels are full of that stuff. We even bet for, or against, our own friends. The comments range from, "They'll never make it", to "They're such a cute couple", and everything in between. How many times has it happened that a relationship didn't work out and there is someone there to say, "Well I knew it wasn't going to work out"? Yet, that very same person never said a word to their friend.

It is because when it comes to love, we are bettin' fools. People meet over the internet, or over the phone, without even seeing each other, and form a bond. They can feel an attraction for someone that they see periodically in the grocery, or maybe in the same office building, and although they aren't actually involved at all, they start having the old "What If" thing going on. All it takes is an opportunity. The cursory dance around certain safe subjects of conversation, with the important information looked for, the look for a wedding ring, the signs of children present in their life, etc. If we find the proper series of green lights, ...Ladies and Gentlemen, They're OFF!

Suddenly the home where you were comfortable just the night before becomes cluttered or shabby. You suddenly realize that you could really use some new clothes. The carefully planned program to pay off your credit cards is conveniently tossed aside so you can afford to see this new person. All of it, is one big bet that maybe, just maybe, this time you will find "The One". It is like the inscription on the stone is paraphrased on our hearts; "Whomsoever shall pulleth my head from my ass, shall be rightful ruler of my heart". HELLO! We seek someone to love, to cherish, someone that we can "throw-in" with and face all of the trials and tribulations of life. Someone to hang all of our hopes and dreams on, someone to answer our greatest expectations of all that we seek. We look for someone to be so many things to us; friend, companion, lover, partner, advisor, confidant, and yet, we are still willing to jump off of the cliff in Lemming-like fashion for a beguiling smile or a well formed torso.

There should be some mystery. That ever occurring exploration and discovery can keep a relationship alive and exciting, but we do not shop wisely as a group. I am sure that we can all get lucky some times. I am sure that there were Mail Order Brides that actually found happiness. I am sure that there were some arranged marriages that were wonderful. The fact remains that most of us just go hunting and hoping and trusting in luck for our heart to find it's companion. I have said this before, and I will say it a lot more times, life is like a great big carry-in dinner, and we are all our own covered dish. What are you bringing? There are many possibilities for each of us out there, but before we can ever expect to receive the things we want, we first have to have something to offer. We have to possess some idea of self, who, and what, we are. Only after that can we really afford to make any bets, because in the gamble of love, there has to be a payoff for both parties.

The gamble itself is exciting. New romance always smacks of the possibilities and drives our imagination, but there has to be a very real goal that has been set based on good information and intent, because there will always be a very real reckoning in affairs of the heart. It may be the end of a relationship and more hurt, or just the end of a phase of a relationship that goes on and on. We all need to shop wisely, and to do that, we need to know ourselves and what we are looking for, and, we need to be smart enough to be able to tell when we have found it. It may not look the way we had pictured it in our minds, and it may be right under our noses for a very long time before we realize it. It may even be gone by the time we see what we had. If we shop smart, know what we are looking for, and act honorably, we can hedge our bets and hit the real jackpot.

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