Saturday, January 31, 2009

Handicapping the Big Writing Duel

Why would we even do a handicapping report on a contest in which we've already stated that actual cash betting is neither encouraged nor allowed? Well it certainly isn't because Bill is deep in debt to a lone shark named Broken Nose Rocco Malone, who plies his trade out of a well-known downtown Las Vegas casino renowned for being the world headquarters of poker, and that Rocco's leg-breaker will come by and ply his trade if Bill doesn't deliver the inside poop on this greatest of all writing contests in the history of civilization. No, that can't be the reason. That's just crazy talk.
     So then, let's just assume we're doing this for fun and proceed to the facts, conditions, situations, mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as we can discern them:

First of all, as has already been noted below, Matt has a family at home that needs a minimum of care and attention, while Bill does not, therefore all of the smart money (that no one's betting) should go on Bill.

Then again Matt has a family at home, whereas Bill does not, so Matt is always more immediately and emotionally aware of the dire consequences of what might happen if he doesn't get his work done and keep the checks rolling in. Bill, lazy fellow that he is, has never been able to suss out that connection between not getting his work done and the money train drying up. So clearly the smart money should go on Matt.

However, since Bill does live alone he doesn't even need to shower or dress before getting to work every morning, where Matt, needing to adhere to the most basic of all social contracts where more than one person is sharing a domicile, had better shower and dress every day or there will be problems. That's an extra twenty minutes of work time each day that Bill (who's done some of his best work while not wearing pants) has that Matt doesn't, which adds up over the space of an entire month. So we'd better put the smart dough-ray-me back on Bill.

But not so fast. The first day of this silly duel starts on a Sunday, which happens to be Super Bowl Sunday at that. Matt, scholarly fellow that he is, has never been a football fan and has no strong incentive to watch the game, whereas Bill is. If Bill does take the time out on the very first day of the contest to watch the Super Bowl (and all of the hours of televised hoopla leading up to it) Matt could potentially jump ahead to a full-day's head start -- the metaphorical equivalent of stealing a march on him. So let's go with Mighty Matt!

Wait just a cotton-picking minute! Let's not jump the gun here. Bill isn't actually so much a football fan, in the broader sense, as he is a Seahawks fan (as a punishment for many past sins no doubt), and hasn't been too happy with the Super Bowl since his noble and righteous Hawks were screwed out of their Super Bowl win a couple of years ago by some of the worst, most blatantly biased refereeing in professional sports history. He boycotted the Super Bowl last year for just that reason. Will he skip it again this year too? Better go with Bill after all.

Then again, Matt is still new enough to the comics industry to still have that, "I better keep all my promises and meet all of my deadlines," work ethic in place, where Bill has been kicked out of comics for not getting his work done twice. In this light, Matt seems the safer bet, right?

However, Bill has just hired in a film crew today to make a montage video -- you know, just like how Rocky does at least one big montage in every movie (always set to inspirational music) to show how he's working out and preparing for the big fight? Rocky always wins because he always does the montage while his opponents never do. In his montage Bill can be seen practicing his quick typing, lifting weights (which are stacks of very heavy volumes of his Oxford English Dictionary set), drinking raw eggs, running to the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and all of the things one has to do in a good montage. Bill is obviously training hard for this duel, while Matt... no montage, no training. Nothing, nix, nada. Best put your coinage down on Bill.

Then again, Bill drinks... a lot. He even invested heavily in his own wine bar just to have a place they couldn't easily toss him out of when he really ties one on.

However, Matt has this tendency to, "Go out for a pack of cigarettes," and then disappear for days on end, never to provide an explanation for his absences when he finally returns. Mommy tells the kids that, "Daddy's a secret agent for the government and has to go on daring missions from time to time," but that hardly seems likely.

Then again, it's been rumored that Bill doesn't actually do his own writing, that he is in fact incapable of stringing two coherent words together, and has fashioned his career on a shaky nest of lies and scams. Rumor has it that Bill buys all of his scripts on the black market, only to pass them off as his own work. If this is true, and with the sorry plunge our economy has taken, will the prices of black market writing spiral up so high that Bill couldn't possibly afford to purchase an entire month's worth of it, just to win this ridiculous duel?

However, it's been recently demonstrated (see the acclaimed peer-reviewed paper in last month's issue of Scientific American) that Matt doesn't actually exist, but is an imaginary construct of one Mrs. Adeline Merrybelle Stevens, of Rochester, New York, who's been in a coma for thirty seven years, following a terrible traffic accident on the expressway. The greedy Stevens grandchildren have just won court permission to withdraw all life-support from their rich coma granny and plan to pull the plug on Wednesday next, which means Matt's likely to wink out of his pseudo existence along with her.

Then again...


  1. But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of Bill and Matt: is Bill the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's?

    --Daryl "Never bet against a Sicilian when death is on the line" Gregory

  2. Exactly the tone I was trying for in this note, Daryl, and the very scene I was stealing from -- if not in the precise wording and particulars, in the basic essence. Well done.

  3. The burning question I have is, "But why are you a *Seahawks* fan, Bill!?"

  4. Someone had to be, and I had many debts to pay to society, so...