I must confess that I'm really no better. By that I don't mean there is no improvement in my self-development, but that I wager infrequently. I've thrown a few quid at the odd football match or title fight, but by and large I prefer a gambol to a gamble. Show me a field and a dog with a rubber sausage in its gob and I'm smiling. Regular visitors to my modest nook in this newspaper will also be aware that my buddy Ken is quite the opposite, he being skilled in the ways of punting, both in Aberdeen's bookies and on the world wide web. But more on betting later.
Anyway, talking of webs, last week's ITR made mention of my uneasy relationship with spiders and the fact that someone had left a box of bananas in our communal hallway. I made some jokes about this box possibly containing something South American and multi limbed, but the reality of the situation proved worse than my silly suppositions.
The very day my column hit the streets, we were again sitting on the couch watching a movie (sensing a pattern here?), when across the floor strode a spider that was not only bigger than the usual domestic arachnid, but only just smaller than a trouser press. It ran towards us (making an audible clip-copping sound on our hardwood floor) and we drew our knees up until they joined our eyebrows, which were fast approaching the ceiling. In fact, were I not as solidly masculine as I am, I probably would have ended up with my fingernails digging into the ceiling, like Tom the cartoon cat after someone bit his tail.
Thankfully, the spider then ran under the couch, making it tip up alarmingly at one end. My fiancée and I looked at each other and decided it was time for bed. Once I had climbed under my Thundercats duvet, I grabbed my laptop and Googled a description of our unwelcome house guest to ascertain its species.
Before long I was trawling YouTube, aghast at videos of enormo-spiders; my eyes like dinner plates and my heart racing like chattering joke teeth. One video saw US troops betting on the outcome of a battle between something known as a camel spider (which looks like a Rastafarian Cornish pasty) and a giant scorpion, pictured.
I can't imagine betting on a fight to the death between grotesque invertebrates, but as I said earlier, I know a chap who would be only too happy to do so. With my stable of combatants growing by the day, if any of you can come up with a worthy challenger, we could make a fortune!