I met Sam Christophersen at the beginning of my last year of high school. He was an Australian import and his dad worked for Cadbury. He was smart as far as kids go, and he was a talented trumpet player. We became friends quickly, mostly through our mutual love of major spectator sports...even though he'd invariably greet me as "fatboy". We were an eclectic group, our little geek-sports clique. Sam the Australian, me the American, not too mention an Egyptian, an Englishman (who hung out with Sam way too much), and so forth at this high school in affluent Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Sam said that I was the only one who could pull off a decent Aussie accent ("Everyone else's turns into a British accent"), but he rebuked me for my pronounciation of "Canberra" ("It's CAN-berra, not can-BER-ra, you American twit") and "Aussie" (evidently the Aussies pronounce that double-s as a "z").

Anyway, the day came around to pick topics for our grade 13 physics presentation. The teacher listed about twenty-five different topics on the overhead, and if more than one person wanted to present on a topic, a coin flip would decide.

Sam muttered, "Oh great, I've never won a coin toss in my life." "Shut up, Sam, surely you've won one before...", I said dismissively. "No. I never have. Not once in my life." And he sounded soberly serious. Still, we all thought he was consciously exaggerating a little.

How blind we were.

Soon a topic comes along that Sam fancies, along with someone else, of course. The teacher flips for it. Sam lost. And soon another one came along. The flip...Sam loses. After a couple more times of this, a few chuckles emerge. Sam nods knowingly after every toss. Soon, during each toss, the class would wax silent and wait for the verdict. After each of Sam's losses, the laughing reaction would grow louder. The teacher kept flipping, Sam kept losing (not reacting surprised in any way), and we kept laughing. Sam lost fifteen consecutive coin tosses. I got out my calculator and did some figuring: the odds losing a coin toss fifteen consecutive times is 1/32768 (!). A girl does the same, but instead of keeping it to herself, she announces this figure. The class is in hysterics, Sam just nods and faintly grins. He eventually got a topic no one else wanted.

I didn't believe Sam when he told us he'd never won a coin toss in his life.

I was wrong.

Sometime later, Sam, myself, and a Pakistani friend of ours (who also bore witness to the Bad-Luck-In-Action spectacle) need to share a three-person back seat. Being "fatboy" that I am, I got a window seat. They flipped to see who'd sit in the middle. Sam lost, and when we other two started laughing, Sam just nodded and cast a casual and an almost wistful expression.

It's odd how Fate so cruelly manipulates Sam's life. I wonder why he is the marked one. The poor guy will always be the one who ends up paying, the one who won't get to watch the TV show he wants to see, the one who'll sit in the more uncomfortable seat, the one who was, is, and forever shall be incovenienced to some discernable degree throughout his entire life.

Maybe he should buy a two-headed coin.

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