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On Gambling and Snowflakes

There is something intoxicating about gambling. It might be the thrill of opening your cards every game, anticipating a good hand, and going through the same expectations all over again in the next game. Or it could be about the money. There is something liberating about laying your own money on the line as if it did not matter. You quickly forget the value of money when you play. Although it is totally out of context, Virgil says that "Fortune favors the brave." And the same goes for high-stakes gambling. Nothing could be sweeter than raking in a big payoff. And even if I eventually lost (after a whole day of playing and drinking), I didn't mind paying up in the end.

And I was not surprised. I always lose when I gamble, and I usually lose big. Most of the times I am careless, if not stupid as I challenge fate with reckless abandon. I figure, there is no other way to play. I'm the typical "All in" guy or someone who rolls his bet if he wins. Everything is meant to be given away the moment you decide to play.

Funny how this already sounds like a description of how I live my life and love. Life's just a game people play. "You live your life the way you should play cards, and you play cards the way you should live your life."

Now I know why there are those addicted to gambling. This is why I stay away from the tables as much as I can. I just do my gambling with life.

***

There was a man named Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley (1865-1931). His claim to fame was discovering that no two snowflakes are alike in design. The more than six million molecules in a snowflake all arrange themselves differently as they fall from the sky, with the air and pressure changing their structure.

For most of his life, Bentley would stay out in the blistering snow while others took refuge in their warm homes. He did this to collect as many snowflakes as he can so that he could take photographs of them in his microscope with a bellows camera. Over the course of his life, he had taken photographs of 5,381 snow crystals, a number which may never again be reached by any single man. He did this because he was searching for the perfect snowflake.

Legend has it that as he would collect samples of snowflakes as they would fall from the sky, he would hurriedly as if madly place the flakes on dishes and run to his makeshift laboratory in his sled. This he did because he was afraid that the snowflake will melt. And most did melt. People said that Bentley would weep if he did not get a photograph of a snowflake in time.

He said:
Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.


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