I was standing on line this morning on my way to work waiting to buy a lottery ticket. Actually, several lottery tickets. When the jackpot gets insanely high, it’s hard for even the mathematically savvy to avoid the temptation of buying a few tickets.
There was a woman at the counter, and from the look of her, you could tell she was no fair weather friend to the lottery. On the contrary, she appeared to have had a long love affair with playing the numbers. As I patiently waited my turn, glancing at my watch, she played the Pick 3, the Pick 4, the Cash 5 and the Mega Millions. She was playing numbers boxed and squared and speaking to the man behind the counter in a lottery-dialect which the rest of us could not begin to comprehend. I glanced at the sheaf of papers in her hand and began to worry that she might be standing at the counter for another hour.
I distracted myself from the potential of my being late to work for the first time in…well..ever, by looking at her attire. She had on a purple, black, white and pink blouse which looked like something Peter Max had vomited after too many boxes of Good n Plenties. Her pants were a shiny black and the wrong size for one of her sizeable legs, let alone both of them. Her shoes were equally garish. Her hair, in curlers, was covered by a scarf which looked to have been purchased several decades ago with Green Stamps.
As she left the store, my heart just sunk. I knew that despite my pending investment of five bucks, my long shot odds had just gotten astronomically worse. In the ridiculously highly unlikely odds that this convenience store would be selling the winning ticket to tonight’s Mega Millions, the chance it would be one of my tickets just got much worse. The perfect candidate for winning had just waddled past me.
I could visualize her standing there with her idiotic grin, her Peg Bundy wardrobe and family of deliriously happy hill-folk, holding a check with more zeros than she had teeth.
I thought of how the makers of hideous clothing would see a sudden jump in profits. How her sons and daughters would soon be festooned with more gold chains than Mr. T when he was winning big at “Pretty Pretty Princess”. The gold on their necks nearly blinding oncoming traffic as they drove past us in the Mercedes SUV’s which they had spared no expense having converted into bling-tastic monster trucks.
She’ll move out of that trailer and buy a place with some land. Her new home will be recognizable by the multitude of fountains, bird baths, those cork-screw pine bushes, and of course the aforementioned monster truck-converted SUV’s. Architecturally, the house will be a mess of styles, with Corinthian columns, turrets, bow windows and a wing which bears some odd resemblance to a Miami Vice drug king-pin’s penthouse lair.
Despite the massive amount of money she’ll win, the house will eventually be shuttered and abandoned when the unthinkably massive amount of money disappears, and our winner spends the last of her years unsuccessfully trying to sue the lottery for ruining her life. She will have failed miserably at being rich. Having as much money as the filthy rich and elite, she will have learned the hard way that it’s impossible to buy the taste, security and grace with which the truly wealthy stroll the earth.
As these thoughts bounced around in my massive bald head, I stepped to the counter and bought my tickets anyway. I drove to work without wasting a moment thinking about the changes my life would see if I somehow won. My neck is safe from the weight of multiple gold chains, and the beach realtors will not see me unless I’m renting a place for a week in the summer. On the bright side, I won’t have to worry about changing tax brackets or time zones. I was quite pleased to note that I wouldn’t be late for work.