The Lottery Ticket

August 9, 2009

Normally, I’m not one to buy lottery tickets.

For one thing, I’ve written about the subject and know the odds are lousy.

For another thing, I don’t want to get in the habit to the point where if I DON’T buy a ticket I’ll think that the one I didn’t buy would have been THE ONE.

The whole Lottery idea is a pie-in-the-sky thing, yet another means of luring dollars away from those who can least afford it, who buy the tickets in the forlorn hope that they will hit it big and become rich as kings, or at least pay off the credit cards so they can buy more stuff on the credit cards.

I had a relative who worked at a lottery kiosk at a grocery store. She would tell tales about people who would come in and cash their welfare checks, then spend the money on lottery tickets. Sometimes one of them would win a little something. Usually they did not.

Nobody ever won the pot at the end of the rainbow.

But she herself would buy tickets out of her own meager income.

I guess hope springs eternal, even against the odds. Maybe especially against the odds.

On Friday, I bought a lottery ticket.

Times are tough. I had just depleted my checking account filling up my pickup truck. It gets lousy mileage, and has no air-conditioning. My car did have a/c and got pretty good mileage, but I blew the engine. At work, we’ve been taking furlough days, which have cut into my income.

They’re also talking about layoffs.

So, I saw the ad for the Cash 5 game. The prize was up over $300,000.

It’s not like reaching for the crown, the Powerball, with its $160 million-plus jackpot, I reasoned. It’s a modest goal, $300,000. Enough, but not a wretched excess that might lead me to doing goofy things like buying a motor home and a GIANT MOTORIZED WATERCRAFT.

I had a dollar in my pocket. Instead of the usual cup of coffee, I bought a Cash 5 ticket and stuffed it in my shirt pocket with my cell phone.

I got back in the truck and shifted through the gears to overdrive, and settled in for the hour-long drive home.

Two minutes later, my cell buzzed to let me know I had received a message. I reached in and pulled it out.

A piece of paper in my pocket popped out with it, whirled around in the cab playfully for a moment, then out the window it went, to flutter like an albino butterfly amongst the cars and tractor-trailers before disappearing from view.

My $300,000 lottery ticket.

I stared ahead, trying not to wobble all over the road.

I knew two things.

I knew that I would never be able to find the ticket.

I also knew that this was going to drive me crazy.

For the rest of my life, I would suspect, no, I would KNOW BEYOND A DOUBT, that the little square of paper that had blown out of my pocket was THE WINNING TICKET. I knew that, in my dotage, in some dark, dank, charity nursing home somewhere, I would spend my final days staring at the walls, muttering “That was THE ONE, yes, it was, I know it. It had to be….”

The staff would call me Mr. Millionaire or Tycoon Terry or some such, just to get my goat.

I parked the truck at home, trudged in, my mood black.

As I changed clothes, I reached in to pull out the cell and felt a piece of paper.

The Ticket.

The paper that had blown away was the receipt for my gasoline.

I have to confess: I laughed out loud.

A little later, I checked online for the winning number.

Not. Even. Close. Naturally.

But at least I knew.

I threw the ticket in the trash.

Now, what am I going to grumble about at the nursing home?

© 2009 Marsh Creek Media, Gettysburg, Pa.
Burger to Go” is a product of me and my company, Marsh Creek Media and, as such, I am solely responsible for its content.
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One Response to “The Lottery Ticket”

  1. Ann Verner said

    Top 5 things to complain about in nursing homes:
    1. The aides don’t com when you ring them.
    2. The coffee is always cold.
    3. Even if you are compos mentis, you have no autonomy, get no respect, and are addressed as though you were mentally defective.
    4.People misrepresent what you say, and no one believes you because you are old.
    5. The turnove in personnel is so frequent that your attendants do not know about your particular needs, so the same mistakes are made over and over, even if they are dangerous to you.

    I also have 5 ways to get along comfortably in nursing homes.

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