Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Reruns: Winning Words

(original post-date: March 9, 2011)

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.

Nice.

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

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.

6 comments:

Kristy @PampersandPinot said...

You've inspired me to want to play the lotto here and there. You never know!!

BECKY said...

Hi Katie! Just stopping by to say hello!

deborahjbarker said...

I think I might take the Easy Year too Katie. Dave and I once worked out what we'd do with the 18 million pounds the Lotto Rollover was worth that week. By the time we had allocated the money to all those we would like to help, guess what? We had run out of money. It all gave me such a headache I vowed that I didn't ever want to win millions but the odd thousand would be nice :-)

deborahjbarker said...

I think I might take the Easy Year too Katie. Dave and I once worked out what we'd do with the 18 million pounds the Lotto Rollover was worth that week. By the time we had allocated the money to all those we would like to help, guess what? We had run out of money. It all gave me such a headache I vowed that I didn't ever want to win millions but the odd thousand would be nice :-)

Claire Hennessy said...

Oh what a fantastic post! Love it. An easy year, how wonderful. Hope my tagging you will not stress you out!

Jayne Martin said...

Some people laugh at me for playing the Lotto, but I said it's one more chance to win than if I didn't play. A couple years back I won $400 in the Fantasy Five at a time when I really needed it. Maybe I'll give one of your scratchers a try.