Wednesday, April 4, 2012
It boggles the mind.
Last week, the Mega Millions lottery had built up to a prize of $640 million, and people were standing in line to buy five, ten or twenty tickets. I ran into a co-worker just ahead of me at a convenience store (I stopped for a six-pack of beer), and she said, "Don't forget your ticket," as she waved a handful of lottery tickets.
"Yeah, quick way to throw away a buck," I said.
Then, I had a thought. Wouldn't it be freakish and wonderful if I bought one ticket in 15 years and won?
Years ago, a girlfriend and I used to buy one New Jersey lottery ticket each every week because she liked watching the drawing on TV with her ticket in her hand, and one night I was amazed to discover that I hit five out of six numbers, Second Prize! Since First Prize amounted to about $10 million, we figured Second Prize had to be at least $50-100 thousand. I didn't get much sleep that night because I was busy spending the money in my dreams.
The next morning, I listened to a cashier with my mouth open as he explained that there must have been a lot of Second Prize winners, because the booty amounted to only $250. Oh well, it would pay for a good night out and an inspection sticker on my car, no new Mercedes this time.
I always figured that gambling was a loser's game; it's designed that way. Otherwise, giant casinos wouldn't be sprouting in deserts. And, the bigger the pot, the longer the line of losers.
My father loved betting money on horses. He always bet within his means, had fun, then walked away, win or lose, spending at most $100. I went to the horse races with him a few times, but I never understood the excitement. It wasn't as if I had my last million dollars riding on a horse. In the homestretch, my father would be yelling like a man possessed to save a $5 bet.
I wanted to say, "Excuse me, Dad, but your horse won't run any faster if you yell at him"
Same as me.