Reuters has a fun little subscription called "Oddly Enough." They send me a daily email so I can stay up on the weird stuff. This week, though, I saw an alarming story.
Turns out, kindergartners who are inattentive, distracted and hyperactive turn to gambling in greater numbers than their peers. The study controlled for parents' income, education, and family composition. These fidgeting pre-schoolers are likely to start gambling when they reach the age of eleven or so, claims the study.
And why should we care about prepubescent betting? Because, according to this broad, in-depth look at 163 children subjectively evaluated by their kindergarten teachers, these rambunctious young gamblers are statistically prone to serious problems down the road: mental illness, failure to complete high school, problems with addiction.
This tragic prognosis got my attention. Mr. M was definitely a squirmer in kindergarten, and I'll be damned if he didn't start gambling at the tender age of seven. He wants to bet on everything. "Bet you a quarter I'll beat you at Sorry," he often challenges me. "Bet I can run up and down the stairs in 4 seconds." "Wanna' bet I can't spell telephone?" "Betcha' I can burp." Betting seems to pervade his every thought.
The fundamentals of betting, however, are lost on him. Mr. M doesn't understand that if he gambles a quarter, he better damn well have a quarter in his pocket so he can pay if he loses. In fact, he is certain he'll win every bet, so being a responsible counterparty is irrelevant. Besides, he tells himself, mom will lend him some money if he loses a bet and is forced to pony up.
Shit. He's starting to sound like Lehman, Bear, even AIG. My kid is an investment banker and he's only seven.