Pascal’s Wager states that man is forced to bet his soul on whether he believes there is a God. Pascal also made other wagers.
On Hot Chocolate
When one orders a hot chocolate and is asked, “Do you want marshmallows in that?” one must make a grim and terrible wager. Do I have faith that these are goodly mallows, plump and squishy? They may be mallows of bitter disappointment, small and brittle as birdshot. But is not any mallow better than staring into the abyss of an ungarnished cocoa?
One has, yet again, forgotten one’s wife’s birthday. One is sitting at the dinner table and is asked, “Did you get me a present?” The die must be cast. Does one admit the oversight? Or does one say, “Of course not, honey. I wrote you a song.” True faith is to pick up a guitar, trusting that the lyrics and a knowledge of where to put one’s fingers on the stringy things will come.
Man is forced to bet with his chips. To refrain from betting is not an option, due to one’s mounting debts from that multi-level marketing scam where one sold knives. Red or black. Or double zeroes. Is he who bets on double zeroes a man of exceptional faith or a fool ensnared by the devil? There is only one way to find out.
On Girl Scout Cookies
One stands before the cookie-selling table as one will surely stand before Saint Peter at the pearly gates. The young scout had been distracted, but now she turns back and sees one. She looks into one’s soul. Does one pretend the sixteen boxes of thin mints stuffed into one’s overcoat were already there? Or does one run? Does one have faith that one’s speed and stamina will allow one to outrun a tiny child?
One is approached on the street by a woman and asked, “Are you Blaise Pascal?” One either is or is not, there is no middle ground. Say that one is not Pascal and a chance may be missed to sign an autograph. Say that one is Pascal, and one may be served with a summons. The temptation burns to say, “No, I’m his brother, Ron.” But one is not Ron. One must be true to oneself and stand tall and say, “I am Blaise Pascal.” Alas, summons.
On Rental Cars
Man will be asked whether he would like to refill the tank on his rental car or buy the Upfront Fuel Purchase Option. Refill it oneself. One is going to abandon the car in Mexico anyway.
In the course of a man’s life, he will be cornered by Federales outside of Tijuana. All men face the same unavoidable choice. To surrender quietly or to say, “No, you guys, I’m a Federale too.” Sure, one does not speak Spanish or have a badge. But one must wager with one’s life. The choice is yours.