It’s been a couple weeks since American’s last bout of lottery mania. Strangely enough, the big $590 million winner has not yet come forward. I think he is busy planning the day when he turns in his winning ticket, does his obligatory interview and then quickly jets off to his new private island in the Caribbean.
We do hope that the winner is a kind, decent, soul who deserves the money and not that obnoxious jerk Brad La Duca from your graduating class. We also hope that the winner is not an 89-year old geezer who would spend the money on new teeth, brand-name pudding and extra-absorbent Depends.
My feelings on the lottery have evolved over the years. I do agree with whoever said “the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math”. For some it is a tax on the stupid, which is still better than a “stupid tax” of which we have too many. If you are counting on winning the lottery as your retirement plan or if you are unemployed and this is your job hunting strategy, you are indeed stupid and should not be playing the lottery.
But I think most people play the lottery because they are buying hope, they are buying fantasy. For a dollar they can get a cheap thrill of escapism. People buy lottery tickets for the same reason guys buy Playboy, it gives you the fantasy of having something you are never going to get.
Opponents of the game claim that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery, but this analogy is stupid. You are comparing the chance of something very bad, with the chance of something very good. Given the choice between getting struck by lightning and winning the lotto, I’ll choose the lottery. So I better buy a ticket, because of course I do not want to get struck by lightning!
I have to be one of the few people who have won more money from the lottery than I have spent. This is because I bought one ticket when I turned 18, because I was now “lottery legal”. Unbelievably, I lost. This really fizzed me off and I never bought another ticket. However I have won small amounts on lottery tickets that people gave me as “gifts”. But lottery tickets have to be the lamest gift ever (sorry Aunt Sally). “Hey, I just spent two whole dollars that give you the opportunity to collect mega-millions of dollars. Oh you didn’t win; well that’s your problem.” And when a person does win big with a gift ticket, of course you have to give Aunt Sally a generous cut.
Although the odds of winning the Power Ball drawing are astronomical, there is one circumstance where you should always buy a ticket. If your coworkers are collecting money for the “office pool”, you should always participate. This is not because you actually want to win, it is insurance just in case the knuckleheads you work with hit it big. If you decline to contribute, you could be sitting on your couch eating macaroni and cheese watching that moron Gail from Accounting telling the world how she plans to spend her millions. You do not want to be that guy! Two dollars is a small price to pay to eliminate the chance of that ever happening.
And this stigma would be long lasting. You would always be known at work as that cheap sonavabitch who didn’t join the mega-million dollar winning lotto pool. “The fool wouldn’t spend just two dollars, what an idiot.” You would have to train all your new coworkers and when you retired the company president would remark, “This is a special day because we haven’t had anyone retire in years. Of course that it because all the people Bill’s age left the company after hitting the Powerball years ago. Bill was always such a cheap sonavabitch.” In your eulogy they will say that Bill almost won $10 million in the lottery one time, but he didn’t play, because he was such a cheap
|The only thing missing from this photo is you!|
And your coworkers will quit their jobs after they win. Everyone says they won’t quit their jobs if and when they win, but they are liars. Even bigger liars than our government! Even if they try to continue working, it only lasts until their butthead boss says or does something moronic that upsets them (otherwise known as Tuesday). Then they realize they could be home, lying on the couch, watching Judge Judy and eating snacks. And not cheap snacks either. We are talking vegetable chips with organic guacamole.