Friday, April 27, 2012

The Lottery: Just For Morons

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Luck, be a lady tonight! It's time to run the numbers!

It occurred to me, earlier today, that I can continue to post about my husband's book on the same post I wrote about it earlier in the week. The Internet is a marvel. The best part about this is, we can all move along to what "The Gods Are Bored" does best: laughing at stupid stuff.

Do you play the lottery? Hand tip here: The lottery is stupid stuff. If you disagree, you may want to shuffle off to the convenience store before the 7:00 drawing.

I guess it was about two weeks ago, I went to the neighborhood quick-stop to get a bottle of tonic water. Don't know about you, but I'm devoted to tonic water. Nectar of the bored gods, and all that.

Anyway, my neighborhood 7-11 is never very busy, but on this particular night, there was no parking in the lot, car horns were beeping like crazy, and a line of people snaked out the door and onto the sidewalk of Snobville's eastern edge.

Everyone was buying a Powerball ticket. Or 200 of them. You see, the jackpot had skyrocketed. I forget how much it was. I don't keep track of such things. Apparently, a lot of people do.

While everyone else stood in line to snatch Powerball tix, I got my tonic water and a nice Tastykake to boot. (The chiefest joy of living in the Philly area is unlimited access to fresh Tastykakes.)

It was quite diverting to watch the queue (great word) of wanna be gazillionaires forking over hard-earned ducats for little pieces of nondescript paper. I mean, come on, dudes! At least the scratch-off kind are pretty to look at! People were buying, and buying, and buying, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

Earlier in the day, I had heard a radio news report. I may be wrong on this number, but I'm pretty sure I heard the announcer say that your chances of winning the lottery are 171 million to one.

Note I say "your." I don't play the freakin' lottery! You know what's 171 million to one? A Great White Shark leaping up and eating me, fresh off the Atlantic City Expressway, 20 miles east of the coastline! A meteor the size of my parrot, Decibel, missing me by two inches as I watch a Vo Tech junior varsity baseball game in the rain! A call from my mother-in-law, totally devoid of drama! I mean, come on, friends. Some things just. don't. happen.

If I did play the lottery, and I won, I would be afraid to step outside. The next FedEx truck I saw would flatten me like a pancake. One of those deer ticks would sneak up my leg and give me Lyme Disease. I'd blow a tire on the Jersey Turnpike at high rush hour. The odds are vastly in favor of these outcomes.

Bottom line of this sermon: If you're an unbridled optimist (or a moron), you play the Powerball at 171 million-to-one odds. If you're a diehard pessimist, you buy tonic water and a Tastykake.

And, boy, does that Tastykake taste good going down ... especially after a long, hard day.

I think this little column falls under the category of free advice. Remember that, in this economy, everyone must make sacrifices. So I'm paying you to take my free advice. Email me.



I think I have a better chance of not gaining weight from eating tastykakes then winning the lottery.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

"The Lottery: a tax on bad mathematicians."

I think our odds here are something more like 13 million to one, but it's still far more likely that I will get struck by lightning. Twice.

Terri in Joburg

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, Tastycakes.

As for the lottery, well, the sense of desperation it brings out in the hopeful makes me uncomfortable. And those who win the big bucks often find it causes more problems then solves them.

Vest said...

Oh dear , I am such a d/h for falling for lotto's demonic tricks.
However, a few infrequent small wins from cash I invested - formerly given to dodgy charities; did pay off in a moderately substantial way about four years back - but its deminishing returns from reinvestment are looking mighty slim.

Anne Johnson said...

Vest, so long as you're playing with their money, play on!

Anonymous said...

I occasionally buy a ticket when I feel it's a dollar's worth of fun to just fantasize about winning. I don't expect to win. And I never do -- not even a dollar back.

Maebius said...

I'm, a seltzer and Tonic water junkie too! :)

As for the lotto, those are interesting odds, but I know a lot of people play it regularly... dare I say religiously... every week. :)

We all have our vices, though I suppose a ducat a week is better for one's health than a double-shot latte (and cheaper!) if it makes you smile? c'est la vie.

Maebius said...

oh, and I am insanely curious now, and should have asked you when we met up for lunch recently:

Has anyone actually bought your advice? I should purchase some this weekend! ^_^