Yeah, we did give in to the recent Powerball fever. And yeah, I know that purchasing a ticket only gives one the barest fragment of a better chance at winning than one would have if one hadn’t purchased a ticket but….
For a buck how can you not occasionally give in to fantasy?
Our first lottery fantasy experience was in January of 1994. We were on our way into Pullman for an extremely rare evening out. It may have been to celebrate my finishing all my board exams in preparation for graduation from vet school, but it may have been a totally random “I’ve got to get away from my damn textbooks or I’m going to go berserk!” night out.
Regardless we were getting into the car when we were approached by the dude that owned the land on which our mobile home sat. It was a weird arrangement, we owned the trailer, he owned the land, but it was a MUCH better place to have spent three of my four years in graduate school than living in the bloody awful apartment that we’d lived in my freshman year would have been. MUCH more expensive, but way better for living, studying, and not going to prison for killing the displaced frat boys that lived above us in the apartment complex.
Anyway, landlord (we still refer to him as Farmer McFuck) comes up, tells us that despite the verbal agreement we’d had (yes, we were suckers) when we’d bought the place three years prior, he wasn’t going to let us sell the trailer while it was sitting on his land. We had to move it before we could sell it.
We’d borrowed money from Andrew’s parents to purchase the trailer — a 1975 14′ x 70′ mobile home with a 30 foot chunk cut out of the back wall for a 12′ x 30′ home built addition. There wasn’t _any_ way to move the addition and even if the wheels and axles of the main trailer were still extant the whole thing was 20 years old. Moving the trailer meant not only finding a company to handle the moving, but finding a contractor to patch the hole in the back wall where the addition wouldn’t be anymore to say nothing of finding somewhere to put the damn thing once it was off Farmer McFuck’s land. All of that costing WAY more than we’d be able to sell the rickety, patched up thing for even assuming that we were able to find somewhere to put it.
We were… what’s worse than stunned? Gobsmacked doesn’t do it. Blindsided is close. Devastated? Yeah, devastated is a bit better. We were not only facing my graduation and $47,000 in loans (a pittance now), but we were facing starting our adult lives and careers with another $20K or so owed to Andrew’s folks.
It’s a bad place to be with one person unemployed and the other only earning sandwich shop wages.
Realizing that we’d just been hit with what was close to financial devastation we decided that we’d still go to town for our dinner & movie and we’d figure something out.
On our way to dinner we stopped to purchase a scratch ticket because we figured fuckit, if we were going to go down we might as well do it with style.
Setting a bad precedent, that particular ticket happened to be a $50 winner.
You all know the end of the story. We’re not destitute. We currently own our own home (okay, the bank owns it, but whatever) on our own land, we paid off my student loans and we even (somewhere around 2006) managed to pay off Andrew’s parents.
But that night started our lottery fantasies.
That first night our lottery fantasy was very much along the lines of paying my loans, paying Andrew’s parents, then finding a hit man for Farmer McFuck. I like to think we’ve gotten a little more sophisticated in that we’re now talking about using the entirely theoretical lottery winnings to assure financial security for ourselves and as much of our families as can be managed (although the idea of a hit man still has its charms even though Farmer McFuck has to be long dead of some or another smoking related disease). But doesn’t everybody give in every so often?
Lottery fantasies are pointless, especially if you don’t ever purchase a ticket, and in a lot of ways the lottery fantasies are just like those games that we played as children — a magical, mystical something happens and you can have everything that you’d ever wanted. A big house with an elevator? You got it! The transportation of your choice and only YOU get to decide who gets in it? You got it! The neighborhood bully gets pantsed in a public place and everyone laughs? You got it!!
But imagination is free and it’s at least one indulgence that doesn’t affect your waistline!