I should begin by stating that I have not purchased a lottery ticket in the state of California. I may have purchased one or two back in the earliest days of Colorado's lottery, but that is now decades in the past. I tend to look on this whole lottery experience with a mix of disdain and mistrust. First of all, there's that whole creepy Shirley Jackson thing to get past. Then there's the simple math of of it all. If you buy one ticket for just a dollar, you could win millions.
You could. You could also just toss that dollar out in the street, or give it to a homeless person. There was a weekly ritual at the warehouse where I used to work. Every Friday was Lotto day, and every Friday there was a line of expectant faces at the warehouse office door. And every Monday, those same faces waited for the announcement that never came. They went back to work, if only to generate that extra dollar for the end of the week.
Then there's the story of Donald Peters and his wife, Charlotte. After twenty years of buying a pair of tickets a week, on the first of November, Donald finally picked a winner. Then he dropped dead of a heart attack. The story might have a nastier twist if he had died when he heard the news, but he didn't even know he had the winning numbers when he expired. In all the fuss, Charlotte neglected to check the tickets. When the December drawing came around, it turns out that one of those tickets was worth ten million dollars. This was Donald's final Christmas gift to his wife of fifty-nine years.
This year, I gave my wife a toilet. It's not worth ten million dollars, but at least I didn't have to die for it.