2020 220 Mil

They say it starts with a dream. I disagree. My theory: It starts with a few extra dollars in your pocket and a proclivity to gamble. A theory I’ve proven to be true over and over again.

December 31st of “last year” was no exception. My usual non-alcoholic watering hole – where I frequently purchase lottery tickets – is a local gas station at the intersection of a north-south PA route and main street going through town. “Watering hole”, because it’s a place for bottled iced tea (an obligatory, daily personal refreshment) and gas necessary for automobile re-fuelment. These are my two top reasons to stop in, frequently, and “impulsively” (yeah, we’ll go with that word choice) discharge some hard earned money into the abyss of the monster known as the big green lottery machine. When the number of zeros in the odds of winning equal the numbers in the actual monetary prize … yeah, it’s a chasm of the highest order.

The gap between my wanting to win and forking over the loot is very narrow, however. That’s the tendency to gamble … not the ridiculous dream. More on that in a bit …

There are a number of other places to obtain gas and tea. I like this place. A home away from home … away from home. A second resident cousin once removed, if you will. My car has so much a familial relationship with this building I believe it could find a way there itself. I, as well, have a wonderful connection to the family. They are a tight, well-bonded Indian family who have graciously accepted my silly humor, bad days, and family issues. Sometimes, I see my life as one big colorful geisha fan. Between the folds – in the dark creases between the tints of splendor everyone sees – there are friends, everyday friends, who are simply there. This family is in the one of my folds. Always.

The oldest son wears the brightest colored shirts. For me to go a week without complimenting him would be a strange seven days. Not only are the colors vibrant , but the designs are not your typical, standard conservative, plain …. pick an adjective. Motivated, young, personable, presentable, kind, … again, pick a personality trait among the rainbow of choices and you wouldn’t be too far off in describing him.

His dad is all business, all the time. A over-used cliche (I dislike these), but so appropriate. A more conservative dresser than his oldest son and the matriarch of the business empire stretching across the ocean to India. Always respectful toward his customers, as expected, demonstrated by the “Hello, Mr. Doug” immediately spoken to me .. every… single … time I enter. He could be in the back shouting from the freezers, doing paperwork at a desk in the side room, or wiping off a coffee counter – always acknowledging a customer’s arrival. There is no other establishment in my hometown where this occurs. Yes, there’s the, “May I help you?”, or the, “Is there anything I can do for you?” … kinda not the same, though. In fairness, there is one other place, however, this gas station / iced tea gentleman doesn’t ever use sarcasm, so a different category of customer service.

Iced tea in hand and a few extra dollars, I decided to play, again, yesterday for the drawing tonight – New Year’s Day. Why not, right? No use in making a New Year’s resolution I have absolutely no intention keeping. The small gap in my wallet should match the infinitely smaller space between an urge and an implementation. I carefully place my six one-dollar bills down on the black stained counter in front of me thinking, “If the scratch-off maniacs would simply wait a few seconds and dig into their addictions somewhere else, … like I do” internally chuckling at the irony.

As quickly as the thought ended, the green monster spit out my ridiculous-odds tickets. My friend casually handed me the “proclivity to gamble authorization passes” notated with the numbers $220,000,000 unimpressively emblazoned in small, abbreviated form: Powerball Jkpt. $220 Mil. This is why I don’t believe in the dream theory.

The odds are sooo incredibly bad, THEY don’t even print all the zeros of the jackpot on the ticket. “1 in 292,201,338” are the actual advertised odds (www.cnbc.com google search). Apparently I have only three of the possible combinations @ $2 each. Fair trade, right? My calculator doesn’t have enough zeros on the right side of the decimal to calculate the percent dividing 292 million into 3.

Buying a ticket does not start with a dream. It starts with driving onto the parking lot of a wonderful convenience store, day after day, walking into a welcoming handshake, and plunking down a few well-earned dollars on black-white-and-red little pieces of paper.

I could not do this and save the money. The iced tea and gas would still be available for purchase. My days would fold out into weeks .. into months … into years if I am so lucky and blessed to have that. My fan folds wouldn’t change much. I’m sure my Indian friends would appreciate “Mr. Doug” whether or not I buy lottery tickets.

Eleven p.m. EST, knowing my day, I’ll be sleeping – probably dreaming. The lottery system will be up a running with the Powerball drawing broadcast live on t.v.. My tickets will be in the usual place. If the magic balls fall in my favor, I will not know until the sun rises tomorrow, January 2nd , 2020.

I’m debating a follow-up blog tomorrow. Should I? Shouldn’t I? If I don’t post anything, is there a possibility, in my absence, a jackpot win is assumed? If I post up a completely different subject, am I being coy? What if I say, “I didn’t match a single number.” – would you believe me? (you should, btw…). I’ll leave it at: “Happy New Year” for now and let’s see what the ‘morrow brings. ‘kay?

Until then, “… to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep … what dreams may come…” (Hamlet)

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