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Hedging Our Bets

Bon Joli

We go to great lengths to ensure that our plans will progress smoothly and then come to fruition.  In fact, some of the things that we do to make certain that we get our way are down right silly.  For instance, recently a Major League Baseball player decided to start using performance enhancing drugs.  To make certain that he would get away with his plans:

He created a fake website…

That sold a pretend product…

That he claimed he took.

Then he claimed that the fake supplement tainted his test results.

Not only did he get caught taking the drugs, he got caught creating the website.  It was a humiliation on top of an embarrassment.

This type of deception isn’t limited to athletes, in a bizarre story that broke last week, book authors have been creating fake login names at online retailers for the the purpose of posting “glowing” reviews of their own books. One legitimately reviewed author in particular couldn’t leave well enough alone:

He created multiple fake ID’s…

Posted high reviews for his own works…

While tearing apart his rivals.

 

This kind of scheming and conniving is nothing new.  Even a cursory review of the Old Testament reveals that the earliest people spent a great deal of time setting up hedges against even their best bets.

Nobody was better at this than Abraham’s grandson Jacob.

Jacob was the younger brother who wanted the family inheritance. After going out of his way to receive it in a trade from his older brother he still decided to dress up as his brother so that he could decieve his blind father when the time came for the inheritance to be given.

Then he split town.

While on the run from his family he took a job working as a shepherd for his in-laws.  Desiring to increase his own personal wealth, he brokered a payment plan that would give him every spotted or streaked baby animal born to the herd he tended.  Genetically speaking, spotted and streaked animals are more common that those of a solid color, especially when they begin breeding with the solid color animals.

Jacob got rich quick.

What’s funny though is that the Bible records an absolutely ridiculous element to this story.  In efforts to produce more spotted animals, Jacob would make the animals look at spotted and striped tree branches while they mated.

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People We Love To Hate

There are people that we love to hate.  Sometimes we dislike those people so much that we also enjoy seeing them fail.  Beyond this, it makes us angry when they succeed.

Consider the case of LeBron James, who America reviled for not winning a championship, and then despised for leaving his team for a championship, and then finally rooted against as he won a championship.

You non-sports types remember how we loved Jessica Simpson, rooted for her to get married, then found guilty pleasure in her divorce, and took secret delight in her obesity.

I don’t need to bring up Tom Cruise or John Mayer do I?

Most of us believe that we don’t judge people.  I like to think that I’m especially open-minded; but the truth about all of us is revealed when we watch the news though, isn’t it?

How we respond, internally or externally, to the news of other people’s profit or misfortune reveals whether or not we really believe in, or want the best for, other people.

But what about those situations where we are actually setting people up for failure?

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Bed of Fear

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When I was 7 years old I heard an intruder in my house.

My parents had put me to bed and I had fallen asleep with ease, but for some reason I woke up at 11:40 pm.

I know this because my AM/FM Casio clock radio, with digital readout and snooze alarm feature, was the only light immediately visible in the room.

Within a few moments I realized why I had woken up. I had heard the door from the garage to the house open and close… And now I could hear footsteps in the hall.

As the footsteps approached the back of the house, I realized that the intruder was probably a burglar (I had just watched an episode of CHIPs) and having been in the garage he had most likely availed himself of one of my fathers axes.

As the axe murderer made his way towards my room I frightfully realized that my bedroom door was open… and that there was no way to get out of bed, close the door, and get into the closet before he passed by the opening.

I pulled the covers completely over my head.

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