Sometimes by losing you get a lot accomplished

in Contributors/Lee Scott/Voices by


Last week I found myself crawling around in the engine room of a power boat that my spouse was renovating. It was my own fault, you see, I had lost a bet. Truthfully, I had lost two bets.

Normally, I am not a gambling person; unless I am sure I am right. But my spouse challenged me with something that I was positive I had the correct answer. Before I knew it, I was shaking hands on a $100 bet.

Afterward, we had to prove to one another who had the correct answer. Then to my dismay, I realized I was wrong.

“Uh oh! $100.”

Two days later, I foolishly agreed on another bet. After all, I wanted to win my $100 back and I was sure of the answer on the debated question. You guessed it, I was wrong and down $200.

Now you must understand that we do not actually use cash in our betting. What is the purpose, we are married?

But there is a value to the money that the losing party owes, and it is normally in the potential cost of some project that the other person desires. We have negotiated the value of jobs like moving furniture in my office – which was paid off with some his betting debts.

Let’s be clear here. The credits and debits do not come into play with household chores. As it happens, I am the “helper” on many of the home projects, but on the projects, which are his alone, or mine alone, then debts must be satisfied.

That is why I found myself in the engine room. He needed me, or at least some other smaller person, to crawl around in there instead of him, and he did not want to pay the going rate.

Fortunately, for me, this was not the normal kind of job. He really needed me.

He did not have to hire a sub-contractor, and besides, he knows that we communicate very well on these kinds of projects. That drove my “hourly” rate to $150, which he agreed upon.

Then it took longer than he had anticipated. By the time I crawled up out of the boat basement and into the main cabin, I was a mess. There were dirt smudges all over my old khakis, plus my old sweatshirt was torn. But I came up with a smile on my face.

“What are you so happy about?” he asked.

“You owe me!” I said gleefully. “I gave you $300 worth of work and paid down my $200 bet. Now it’s payback time and I have a few personal chores in mind.”

That is when he turned to me and smiled, “Oh yeah, want to bet?”

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career. A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Scott now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She lives on St. Helena Island and enjoys boating, traveling and reading.