The Odds Game
Often on the road, to maintain a shred of sanity, we engage in humorous routines. One of these is called “The Odds Game.” We did not invent this game. Many younger people know it from their childhood. I was first exposed to it while I worked as a musician on cruise ships with Isaac and Josh.
The game goes like this. One person asks another, for example, “What are the odds that you will climb to the top of that streetlight pole?” The other person might say, “One out of one hundred.” Then, on the count of three, both participants say a number between one and one hundred. If they both pick the same number, then the person who made the odds must perform the task, in this case, climbing to the top of the streetlight pole.
Somewhere in Nevada, Josh and Tim were reminiscing about the native Boston accent and speech patterns, with which they became familiar during their time as students at the Berkeley Conservatory. Tim challenged Josh to The Odds Game: “What are the odds that you speak to our next table server, in a Boston accent, beginning every sentence with ‘frickin’ and ending every sentence with ‘y’know’?” Josh gave Time twenty-five to one odds. On the count of three, they both said, “Seventeen.”
At a rustic diner outside of some small town in Nevada, a tough-looking older waitress took our order. In his thickest Masshole accent, Josh ordered: “I’ll have the frickin vegetable omelette, with frickin hash browns, y’know?”
She glared at him. “Frickin hash browns.”
“Yeah,” he deadpanned. “Frickin hash browns, y’know? Frikin, can I get an English muffin, frickin grilled, y’know?”
By this time, Isaac, Tim and I could not contain our laughter.
Still in character, Josh requested a “frickin warmup on my frickin coffee, y’know?”
The waitress looked at us curiously.
Tim explained, “We play this game. It’s like he lost a bet.”
She nodded in understanding and departed. We complimented Josh on his acting ability and his commitment.
A few minutes later, the waitress returned with our food. Now caught up in our game, she served Josh, “Here’s your frickin hash browns.”
A few days later, at an In-n-Out Burger outside of Folsom, California, Tim explained how this burger chain maintains a custom of code words for special orders that are not described on the menu. For example, if you ask for a burger “animal style,” you will receive it with pickles and grilled onions. Fresh off his triumphant diner performance, Josh challenged me: “What are the odds that you invent a burger style, and order it?”
“You mean like, ‘I’ll have a burger, Donner Style’?” I asked, referencing the tragic frontier cannibal incident that occurred just up the slope from our location.
“Perfect,” he laughed.
“One in ten.”
Sadly, our numbers did not match.