08:53:22 pm on
Wednesday 18 Sep 2019

Big Super Bowl Heist
David Simmonds

You know that certain people inhabit a different world when you read stories like the one recently reported by the Globe and Mail. According to the article, the $500,000 pot from a $5,000-per-entry Super Bowl pool organized by Bay Street trading types has gone missing. An entry to the game is hotly sought after, a sign that you are running with the wolves.

► Substantial prizes offered.

There are four prizes. First, there’s $50,000 for having the winning score at the end of the first or third quarters. Second, there’s $100,000 for holding the winning position at the end of the first half. Finally, there’s $300,000 for the end of the game winner.

Players need not bring any skill to the game. Each player receives a score in advance. There is a one-in-twenty five or four per cent chance you will win at least ten times your investment, making the odds better than making money in the stock market.

Someone went from brokerage to brokerage collecting contributions to the pool; stacks of fifty hundred-dollar bills, storing the loot in a knapsack until the big event. Rumour has it that when stolen, the funds were in safekeeping, in a house in Mississauga, Ontario, and, for good measure, the thieves trashed the house.

Did the organizer go to the police? Well, not exactly. As a police spokesperson put it, “I think we would remember that call” if the police had been notified of the theft of such a large sum.

Why did they not call the police? Partly embarrassment; partly wanting to keep the lid on in case the pool was illegal; partly indifference, after all, the pot was only half a million. Each participant was out only five thousand bucks. None had lost anything because they had their chance at the big prizes and simply didn’t win. Moreover, many participants had resold portions of their stakes down to the tenth of a stake or $500, which is mere chump change. Even the $300,000 grand prizewinner is “never angry over what played out.”

The looted contest has now attracted publicity, of the wrong kind. Who would clamour for an invitation to join in the prestigious and exclusive bettor club if they knew there was a possibility their stake would vanish? Who would place money for investment with someone that allowed it to happen? Isn’t the aggregate stolen pot of $500,000 large enough by any reasonable measure to warrant a police investigation?

► Partial compensation for unlucky winners.

The organizer of the event has stepped up and offered to compensate the unlucky winners that weren’t paid. He proposed to pay them a quarter of their winnings each year for the next four years, at the same time reducing the grand prize by $100,000 each to make up the difference and thereby making everyone whole in the end, leaving no-one with frustrated expectations. True to Bay Street form, making good on the promise is being creatively financed using money belonging to other people.

Who made off with the money? Who tipped them off that it was available? You can insert your own joke here regarding Bay Street being a den of thieves and everybody therefore being a suspect; no participants came from cloistered Ursuline sisters or orders of Buddhist monks.

One must almost hope that the thief evades capture and turns out to have been some latter day Robin Hood that steals from the rich and gives to the poor and homeless. Who knows, perhaps they could sell the movie rights in the escapade to Arnold Schwarzenegger and recover enough to compensate everybody; perhaps even turn a profit. I’m sure, it being Bay Street, that if there is a way to do so, it will be found.

It’s quite a contrast to the gaming life in Wellington County. Here, high stakes amount to putting five bucks into the 50-50 draw and winning back $85, which custom directs you to donate back immediately to the charity holding the draw. No one would think of stealing the pot; if someone did, someone else would turn him or her in straight away.

The only property crime reported by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) for the County, in 2019, is a theft under $5,000 at the Picton LCBO. Police arrested an 18-year- old Picton man. I doubt the same person pulled off the Super Bowl heist: the Super Bowl thief would not have chosen a bottle of liquor in Prince Edward County for his dry run.

► Better ry a casino.

If you want serious big bucks betting and can’t garner an invitation to the Bay Street Super Bowl event, consider yourself fortunate. Your best bet is to head to the casinos at Belleville or Gananoque. The house most always wins, but at least the house has cash- in-hand for those rare occasions when it doesn’t.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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