11 October 2012

Advice for Neuroscience 2012

I am not able to attend this year’s Neuroscience meeting, because I have a mess of travel coming up in the next few months, not least of which is my long awaited #Scifund expedition!

I have been to New Orleans a few times at previous Neuroscience meetings, though. In fact, the first Neuroscience meeting I attended was in New Orleans. So trust me when I say this.

Never bet a shoeshine in New Orleans.

Here is what happens.

You will be approached by someone who will offer a friendly wager.

“I’ll bet I can tell you where you got those shoes.”

You agree to purchase a shoeshine if he can tell you where you got your shoes. Most people, being from out of town and tourists, think this is a safe bet, and that this person could not possibly guess where you bought your shoes. Neuroscience attendees are even worse, because they think they are so smart.

The punchline comes in a few different forms.

One is, “You got one one your right foot and one on your left foot. I said I’d tell you where you got ‘em, not where you bought ‘em.”

Another version is, “You got ‘em in bourbon Street in New Orleans.”

And you will be paying for a shoeshine. And it won’t be a cheap shoeshine, either.

When Neuroscience rolls into New Orleans, you have a lot of highly educated people people walking around the French quarter who more or less have the word “SUCKER” tattooed on their forehead. Don’t make it easy to be tagged as a sucker: take your conference badge off when leaving the conference center.

And the moral of the story is: No matter how smart you think you are, you’re not that smart.

Additional, 12 October 2012: Proof that I am not making this up.

Additional, 18 October 2012: Totally not making this up. Also, Joel Adamson has advice on another wager you should not make in New Orleans.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

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