(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.
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.
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:
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.