They say money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. That may be true. But poor doesn’t buy shit.
Thus, every week, I play the lottery.
Yes, I know the odds of winning are equivalent to being struck by lightning…twice…on my birthday…while in bed with Natalie Portman, but as they say in the advertisements, “Hey, you never know.” (Granted, we can be pretty certain the above scenario would never happen. As if I’d get struck by lightning twice on my birthday. Right? That’s the crazy part. Not the Natalie Portman part. That’s going to happen. Shut up.)
Let’s discuss the lottery though for a second. It’s one dollar to play. One dollar! What’s one dollar? One dollar could win me $114 million and require no more effort than simply asking for a ticket. One dollar could either be lost in the washer or completely change my life. One dollar could be wasted by giving it to a homeless guy or be invested wisely in a lottery ticket. One dollar!
This was my mindset as I approached the subway stand on Friday night after work. The thought process began much earlier though while I was on the subway itself. Here’s a glimpse inside my mind, the first of many I hope to give in the weeks ahead:
…what would happen if we took all the squirrels in Manhattan and replaced them with monkeys. Would people be upset? No. People love monkeys. Think about how fun that would be. Walking down the street. Oh, hello friendly monkey. A banana? Yes, I do have one. Wait, do the monkeys talk? That’s illogical. But so is replacing the squirrels with monkeys. First off, who would collect all of them? And where would they go? Jersey? Wait. What day is today? Friday. Fuck, I didn’t buy a ticket.
Okay. Two possible spots to buy one. Outside the Eighty-Sixth Street subway. But is that where THEY would want someone to win? No. No, too many rich people stop there. They don’t want some hedge fund manager winning. Maybe the spot closer to First Avenue. That shitty one with the weird German porn section. But do they want some pervert winning? Hmm. Wait, this is stupid. It’s supposed to be random right? Monkeys would be random. But consider the poo flinging.
And it went on and on like that for awhile until I emerged from the subway and the lottery stand reminded me I still hadn’t bought a ticket. Considering that I would have had to traverse outside of my normal ‘walking home route’ in order to stop at the other bodega with the German porn section, I resolved to just buy the ticket there and take my chances. I say ‘take my chances’ because, as was shown in the glimpse inside my mind, I am of the set that believe the lottery is rigged.
I believe that ‘they’ (the lottery powers that be) control who wins and how large each purse gets. It simply CANNOT be a random drawing that somehow always awards the money to some ancient guy who will enjoy it for the last four years of his life or some Bible thumping Southern weirdo. Some say that those people always win because they’re the ones who play the most, but I think that lottery officials closely monitor the lottery vendors (and their in-store video surveillance) and specifically choose who wins each time.
So, when I buy a ticket, I make sure to wait until someone who looks the part of a lottery winner buys a ticket and then I immediately do a ‘Quick Pick’ right afterwards. I’m hoping the rapid transfer will confuse ‘them’ and award me the money instead by mistake.
As I approached the lottery stand, the guy there already knew me and had seen me do this a few times. So as I appeared he said, “Hey my friend. You buying another ticket tonight? Tonight is the night!” (Trying to coax me into buying one before the time was right. What am I? A rookie?) I pointed to my earphones and gestured that I couldn’t hear him. He said it louder but by that point I was looking at the cover of the NY Post.
It didn’t take long for a good candidate to appear. A walking corpse with large reading glasses and a big enough gap in his front tooth to securely place his cigarette. I could already see the headline, ‘100 Grand-Pa’.
Not if I can help it old man.
I waited patiently until he got his wallet out and paid for his tickets and I swooped in, almost knocking him over in the process. I opted for only five that night (as that’s all the money I had on me) and folded the tickets the same way I always do and placed them in my wallet, ignoring the stares of others who judge those who buy lottery tickets.
And as I walked off into the dreary night, I was quite confident this would be the one. This would be the time. I practiced what I’d say to the local news. I (briefly) considered giving some money to charity. I thought about what friends would be most deserving of any help, and which ones I’d flaunt the money in front of. I thought about the monkeys some more. And then…at long last…the lottery drawing and I…
…didn’t get one number right.
Don’t you think I would’ve picked another topic to blog about if I did?
Fucking lottery. I bet that old guy won.