- The 1972 Orange Bowl
Brother Billy was home for the holidays, on leave from the Navy. We had a major disagreement about the relative merits of Nebraska and Alabama, teams that were to face each other in the Orange Bowl for the (then) mythical National Championship. We made a $20 bet, Nebraska for him and Alabama for unohoo, and settled down to watch the game on television.
Disaster. At halftime Alabama was down four touchdowns. Clearly, the rest of this game was going to be uninteresting . . . until brother Billy offered to make it interesting. He proposed another bet, this one on the second half only. We would take the same teams for another $20 and a pizza, with the loser to go get the pizza. I jumped on it. Silly me.
Nebraska won the second half, 10-6, at some point putting the cheerleaders in, so at the end of the game I was down $40 and a pizza, and had to go get the wretched pizza.
- Death Watch
Sometime around 1984 my brother Billy called me in Chicago.
Billy: "I want you to do something for me."
Donnie: "What's that?"
Billy: "Do you you know who Abe Vigoda is?"
Billy: "I want you to call the Chicago newspapers and find out whether he's alive or dead."
Donnie: "What's that about?"
Billy: "I've got a dinner bet with a guy. He says Abe Vigoda is alive and I say he's dead."
Donnie: "Well Billy, you're not far from The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. Why don't you call them?"
Billy: "I already did. They say he's alive."
Incidentally, the Abe Vigoda thing amused my father so much that for the rest of his life (about fifteen years), whenever he saw a mention of Abe Vigoda in the newspapers he would cut out the article and send it to Billy.