Why Did I Exclude Ice Cream From the Story?

The other day I was telling a story, one of my favourite stories. The time people thought I was gambling on the Pope.

It's April 2005, Pope John Paul II has died.

I'm living in St. Andrew's College at the University of Manitoba. It is the seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. I'm the student union representative for the College's student association. De facto, I represent the students of the College to other student bodies on campus.

I'm also a reader at St. John's College, the Anglican college on campus. I'm Protestant, identifying as Baptist.

These roles make me a leader in these faith communities.

A few days after Pope John Paul II's death, a group of us undergraduates are discussing the future of the Roman Catholic Church. Among those in the discussion is the editor of the Catholic college, St. Paul's College, student newspaper.

I'm asked what qualities I think the Catholic Church should seek in its new leader. I stated my preference, but then noted that Vegas had him as a long shot with 30-to-1 odds.

My friend, the student newspaper editor, the good Catholic boy that he is, was shocked to learn they were gambling on the Pope in Vegas.

He wrote a front-page story in the paper about gambling on the Pope, noting that he learned of this from a conversation with me. The way it was written, it was interpreted that I was gambling on who the next Pope would be.

Needless to say, the head of St. Andrew's College was - to put it mildly - unimpressed.

The embarrassment was sorted out, and all of us involved laugh about it today.

In my shortened recounting of the story, I forgot a key detail.

One of the main reasons I'd become friends with the editor was that St. Paul's College student lounge was the location of the closest ice cream vending machines to my residence.