Snail racing

Yesterday I was editing a section of the book that makes a wee reference to the time I won 50 pounds on a snail race. I have also won money betting on dogs, horses, mice and siblings. I suffered most injuries from betting on siblings and mice. The snail won me the most cash.

For an unlikely half year, I went to parties at the Australian Embassy in Dublin and soon became a regular at the Foster’s-sponsored beer table, along with a crew of British and Indian diplomats. One month, to celebrate the Melbourne Cup, the Australians set up a two-by-two table in the middle of the room and carefully deposited a clutch of snails with numbered shells on eight cardboard racing lanes.

Snails, it soon turned out, are not especially keen on racing. Even those that seemed inclined took their sweet time about it. Several snails disappeared entirely while attention was at the bar. Much Foster’s had been consumed by the time Number 3 returned from a table leg and slimed over the finish line, winning me the grand prize of 50 pounds—and glory that far outweighed six months of free beer.

Here is a picture I just drew of the snail on the back of today’s To Do list. This picture has already exceeded all expectations of usefulness in that not only does it colourfully illustrate a somewhat lacklustre story, but it postponed my doing anything on the To Do list for some minutes and has now actually bled through to the other side, entirely blotting out everything I felt duty-bound to do today. Score. Number 3 wins every time.

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