Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winning Words

In my Monday rerun, I mentioned playing Lotto, which I do.

But I don’t stop there.

I’m a gamer by nature, and I love investing a dollar or two into the possibility of getting more than a few in return.

Back in New York, when I worked at the burgers-in-a-basket joint, I started playing “the number.” By which I mean that, every day, I’d invest a dollar (50 cents straight/50 cents box) in the New York Lottery’s Daily Number drawing. My number was 142 (and no, I don’t remember why I chose that particular string).

If my number came in straight (i.e., in order), I’d get $250 for the 50-cent straight bet and another $40 for the box. If it came in out of order (e.g., 241), I’d just get the $40. I cashed in more than a few times, and I may well have remained ahead, if not even. Regardless, I kept playing. You see, that’s the thing about playing the number in a burger joint in Manhattan. Your co-workers play them, too. Not only that; they know your number. So, if it comes in and you didn’t play, well – you’ll never hear the end of it.

One day, I was feeling particularly light-hearted, so in addition to my 142, I decided to bet a dollar straight on a second number. I looked at the dollar in my hand, and read off the first three digits of its serial number: 160.

It came in.

$500 for me.

(Not bad, considering my rent was about $150 at the time.)

A few years later, when I had moved from waitressing to the Ford Foundation (a transfer only gamblers get to make), I was sharing my winning tales with a fellow secretary. She decided that the next time our bosses traveled together, we should play their flight numbers and ETAs and so forth (i.e., whatever 3-digit numbers showed up on their travel documents).

Sure enough, our bosses planned a trip within the month, and when another member of the support staff decided to join our investment in the lottery, the three of us pooled our resources ($4 each) and bet two dollars straight on six different numbers.

And guess what? One of them came in.

$1,000, split three ways.

Not only that, but because the gals I worked with decided I’d brought all the luck to the endeavor, they took me out to lunch.


These days, I really enjoy Crossword scratchers. What can I say – it’s the perfect marriage of my gaming ways and my love of words.

I’ve been playing them for several years now, and back in 2007, I was quite lucky just before my 50th birthday. I scratched off enough words to cash in my ticket for $1,000.

Not bad.

Because of my affection for words, though, I can be teased at times. Once, I got a Crossword scratcher that included the words “jackpot,” “fortune,” and “lucky.” Can you blame me for assuming this was the $20,000 winner?

It wasn’t. I don’t even think it was any kind of winner. But I loved the thrill of the scratch.

That’s the other appeal of the Crossword scratchers. They take time. The sense of hope can be prolonged for a bit.

So the other night, as I scratched my latest lottery purchase, I was again filled with that sense that this could be it. The ticket to a small fortune…

When the process was complete, I ‘d not become rich, but I also was not disappointed. I’d scratched off two words, which is the equivalent of breaking even.

Fine. I’ll pay it forward.

But then, I noticed the two words I had scratched:



Easy year.

I’ll take it.

In my opinion, an easy year would be worth all the Lotto jackpots combined.

For lest we forget, stress is also a verb.


Martha Gates-Mawson said...

Put me down for one of those easy years, as well! Now that we have a bank account over here, I will start playing Euro Millions. But I've never been as lucky and Mom and you!

Jules said...

Oh but wouldn't it be nice to become rich overnight, while you were sleeping?! :) I play as well but you seem to have more luck than me. Send some mojo to weekly lotto ticket will ya? :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

BECKY said...

Ah yes...Easy Year! Hey, I think I need to visit you sometime...maybe I could catch some of your winning ways! :)

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

That's good clean fun. Never heard of a crossword game...hmmm.

Donna B said...

I used to play those too when we lived in CA...when we go visit in CA, we play the Lotto and I get some scratcher...Certainly have not been as lucky as you however! Congratulations and continued good luck.

Linda Medrano said...

I have yet to even win $2.00 on the California lotto. Bummer! But good for you! Wow!

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, I had an email saying:
"We have some news about the ticket that you bought for the Wednesday 09 March draw. Please click," in my inbox this morning. I did dare to hope it might be a big number but £10.00 is better than a kick in the teeth eh? :-)

Kristy said...

That's great you got some fun money out of it!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

My dad played 3-0-1 in the daily lotto back in 1972. He won and used the money to buy an engagement ring for my mom. He says that was his sign, but I think he'd have found the money somehow even without the lottery.

Cheryl said...

Used to play scratch crosswords all the time. Stopped years ago. Never did the daily numbers.

I prefer to play the poker machines in a casino. And my favorite of all, watching the ponies run at a class track. Sometimes I don't even bet. I just love being there and watching those beauties run.

Lazarus said...

Katie, great're pretty lucky with the gambling, nice!

cj Schlottman said...

Katie, I love this post! I never even think about playing the lottery, but I'm always excited when someone wins big. I have been very lucky with real estate all of my life, so I guess I think I used up all my luck on that. After your post, maybe I'll reconsider!


Jayne Martin said...

I usually play the Fantasy. A couple of years ago I won $425. Such a nice little gift from the Universe. I only play when I can afford to lose, so I haven't done so lately, but maybe next time I'll try one of your Scratchers.