Thursday, January 15, 2009

PLAYING THE LOTTERY

As I was driving my Jeep today through the freezing below normal cold temperatures of a Connecticut winter, I passed a bill board that sat along I-91 that read "Powerball Jackpot 165 Million Dollars".

165 million dollars. How I would love to win that I thought to myself.

I knew the first step in winning a lottery game would be actually going into a store and buying a lottery ticket.

YOU CAN'T WIN IF YOU DON'T PLAY

I remember at a time in my life when I needed extra cash and I started working part time in a small convenient store near my house. One of the first things you learn about small store customers is their love and need for a gamble.

Not a gamble as in buying a dairy products with no expiration date on it or a mystery favored slushie. I'm talking about a good old fashion shot at the riches. A toss of the coin, or in this case a dollar, on a bet that might bring them up to the status quo of Donald Trump. I'm talking lottery here.

The once poor, now I'm filthy rich ticket to the good life.

BIG MONEY, BIG MONEY

There was so much to choose from. There is your daily 3 numbered games, your 4 numbered, your 5 numbered and the holy grail of all games, your 6 digit Powerball Game which was a sure way to catapult you to a status only know by the Hiltons, the Gates and the Clampets.

Some could hardly contain themselves as they fantasized about the luxuries of winning. The quitting of the job, the mansion, the fact of knowing so many of your friends envied you.

Some say that money can't buy you happiness but it sure could buy you one hell of a nice car.

Now along with these "pick a number and hope it comes up" lottery games there were also the instant scratch off and win an instant prize games.

There were dozens of different instant games that ranges from 1 dollar to 30 dollars a ticket.

These games were total instant satisfaction. You could win a prize ranging from a free ticket all the up to hundreds of thousands of dollars right on the spot. No need to wait for a drawing on TV. Just a swipe of a coin or your finger nail across the thin coating that hide the life changing results was all it took.

The tickets all had catchy little names such as Moola Money, From Trash To Cash, Trailer Park Place and The Bitch Is Rich.

This was the game of choice for the majority of the daily gambling crowd in the little convenient store.
This crowd was made up mostly of nice little old ladies with a dark side that consisted of a gambling habit they kept well hidden from their spouse.
There were also out of work slackers that knew in their hearts that there was no need to find a job because the lottery had all the answers to life.

Now I'm not saying that was the only type that bought the tickets but trust me, it was a large part of them and they happily handed over their cash knowing it was a sound investment in their future.

As we know, the odds of winning a mere free ticket in this instant scratch lottery are a lot better than winning the grand prize. And the odds of winning nothing at all were even greater. But this was their fix as crack is to a junkie. These odds wouldn't begin to even slightly discourage our hopped up, adrenaline pumping future money moguls.

Some used an excuse to go to the store just to take a chance on playing. Some came in for cigarettes some for a pack of gum and some for a gallon of milk.

After purchasing their tickets they would be off in a corner or sitting in their car in the parking lot frantically scratching away. Silver shavings from the prize area's thin cover that hide their prize were flying everywhere.

Some scratched slowly, savoring the anticipation of winning the big one. Others couldn't hold back and rushed through it, holding their breath. Some scratched with a coin, some with their car keys.

I could see the pale blank look on the faces of some of these people as they walked back up to the counter to buy another ticket. After all, the one they just scratched off didn't win so the next one MUST be the winner.

This pattern would go on until the person realizes that they didn't have enough money left to buy the gallon of milk they came into the store to buy in the first place.

They now would have to settle on the 1/2 gallon.

No wait, I could use that milk money to buy one more ticket. The next one has to be the winner than I could buy a whole cow.

In the end they would leave the store hoping that water with cherrios goes well together.

With this past experience behind me I purchased my lottery ticket, got in to my old Jeep, knowing that in a couple of days I'll be trading it in for a Ferrari.
I drove one last time to my little house which I figured I'd give to some out of luck person as I moved into my stately mansion in Palm Beach.
I got out of my Jeep and made my way up the walkway, snubbing the neighbors who I would surely leave behind in my unspoken poorer past and day dreamed about how exactly I would quit my job after my lucky 6 digits came up.

But for now, I'm just grateful I had enough money and resistance to buy a gallon of milk.

1 comment:

SavyArt said...

When I play, I play lotto - and only 1$. for one dollar, I get to dream. I also do NOT play for the big jackpots. 1) I do NOT want to see every idiot I ever met (relatives included) crawling out to try and sue me, and 2) a little win would make all the difference I would ever need. Just a single million win would do it, even after taxes and stuff.