So I figured for Saturday night I would peel myself away from watching HPItv in my garage and travel to one of my local harness tracks to do what? Watch HPItv via simulcast! I know, I know, not much of a social life, but what the hell. Needless to say, I missed the live racing portion for the night, so I wandered up to the betting area to look at who was racing, where at, and to also do a bit of people watching. To my surprise (or not to my surprise) there were a few scattered patrons sitting at the tables, programs in front of them, with pens either behind their ear, in their mouth, or tapping on the table to a beat that would make Neil Peart jealous. Most of the time, the beat of the pen would become louder and faster when the horses were about to cross the wire. Amusing. I found that in order to focus on one particular race, one would need a Whisper 2000, since all the volumes were at a level that kept making me lean forward with my head cocked sideways in order to hear the call. After about 4 races, and without a doubt, a future trip to the chiropractor, I realized that there were tiny TVs you could go sit at and watch a particular track, and yes, I cranked the volume on them, which got me a couple of sideways glances. Oh well. So I bet on one race, yes one, considering I wasn't really in the mood, but the 8 horse, Melvyn, in the 13th at the Meadowlands, really caught my eye. So my pick wins, does it in a best lifetime start, and my enormous $2 dollar win ticket paid $8. Big Whoop. My Ceasar cost me $7. (On a side note, they do make a great Ceasar, they drag it through the garden, topping it with olives, cucumbers, some unidentified green leaves, and a lime - God knows I needed a drink by this point). So another race starts at a different track, and about half way through it, an old guy, about three TVs down from me, starts getting louder and louder. He's all by himself, and he's completely out of his chair, hitting the side of the TV with his program like it's a whip. I quickly scanned the walls looking for a defibrillator, cause this guy is no doubt going to have a heart attack. I actually stopped watching my race just so I could watch the excitement 10 feet away. Now at this point he's yelling at the horse, yes yelling, like the damn horse and driver can actually hear him, and they're going to thank him personally when they cross the wire for all his guidance....hello! So the horse finishes the race, albeit 8th, and the next thing I know, the guy spews out a string of swear words the would make a truck driver blush! I honestly had to pick my jaw up off the floor because I never really seen someone act so abrasive when watching a race. And not only did he see me watching him, he actually nodded at me when all was said and done...so I tipped my Ceasar at him and said, "Maybe next time". Another sideway glance came my way, only this one had daggers. Thought it might be a good time to stroll over to the casino. So I enter the casino only to find the harmonious, and yet completely irritating noise of all the slot machines beginning to make my ears bleed, so I quickly sit at a Lucky 7. Bull crap. Nothing was lucky about that machine. As it swallowed up my money, I swear I could hear an evil laugh when it continuously rolled nothing but garbage. Enough of that sh#t, I went to the bar. Of course the TVs were humming away behind the bar, and of course, you couldn't hear them. So wouldn't you know it, with all my luck, they had a soccer game on! Yes, a SOCCER GAME, at a harness track! There were a few barflys that seemed to be remotely interested in it, so I waited for about an hour before I politely asked the bartender if they could switch ONE of the THREE TVs to a horse race. You would think that I asked them to cut off their freakin' arm and serve it to me on a platter! The look I got was pure HORROR! How dare I ask for them to change it to a program that had horses on it! Yet all the damn walls of this particular casino have harness racing murals, featuring really bad paintings of harness drivers that looked as if they were all wearing extremely dreadful toupees, with faces appearing to have a bad case of the albinos! Needless to say, they proceeded to tell me that they don't get HPItv in the casino. Seriously? You have a thousand TVs, not more than 100 feet away in the betting area, all happily displaying horse racing, and YOU don't have HPItv in the casino bar? I quickly asked them if they could just switch it to channel 477....and wouldn't you know it... low and behold....voila....HORSE RACING! Now I don't think I was being unruly because I wanted them to flip the tele on to a horse race...do you? Chapter two. The next bit of crap that came out of the bartender's mouth really made me laugh, (and trust me, I knew full well that from this point on they were going to be spitting in my drinks). So the one girl flys over from across the bar area as if she were demonically possessed, and belches out, and I quote, "The OLGC doesn't want us to put horse racing on the TV because the casino patrons are here for the slots, and other sports, not the horses!" Now listen, after I cleaned the pea soup off me, I SWEAR that I choked on my beer because some came out of my nose when she said that. That had to be THE dumbest comment to ever get uttered out of a harness track's casino employee! Ok, I get that if there's a high profile game on, like game 7 of the Stanley Cup, or the Daytona 500, or the World Series, sure, you wanna share it with the patrons, but when a town with a population of 20 is playing soccer against another town with a population of 20, can you not manage to squeeze the one smaller TV to horse racing? (Well, maybe the soccer game held a bit more weight than that, but...) Anyways, she made damn sure that when I went to the lady's room she switched my little horse racing program over to a movie. Yep, now she had it on The Green Mile...Yayyyyyy!!!! So let me get this straight: The patrons are NOT here to watch horse racing, and apparently they're no longer here to watch ANY sport, but are here to watch a 1999 film featuring Tom Hanks? Are you effing kidding me? Oh, and she conveniently said that she thought I had left for the night and that's why she changed it. Yes, cause I always pay for a full beer and then leave immediately! Duh! THEN she asks me to fill out a comment card. So I did. Thankfully you don't have to put your name on it, and if I were a betting lady, odds are she looked at it, then threw it directly in the garbage! I think I'll wait a while to go to that casino again...if I'm allowed... they may have my picture on the wall with a red line through it!
Stay safe, keep your hooves on the ground, and keep reaching for the wire!