“Good Luck tonight!” said the store clerk after I completed my purchase of a few Powerball tickets for that evenings Lottery drawing. As I left the tiny, overcrowded Upper Westside corner store, ticket in hand, I felt confident and hopeful that tonight would in fact be my lucky night! As I started down the block I saw people of varying ages and nationalities going in and out of the various deli’s and corner stores that adorned 96th street on either side. Each person clearly on a mission with one main purpose, a purpose similar to mine, and that was to purchase what would hopefully be the winning ticket into wealth. At that moment, I began to look around and truly notice this addictive ‘ritual’ that I had subconsciously become a part of, and was fully immersed in.
As I continued down the block, I began to laugh to myself, visually scanning the streets, watching everyone fall in line to purchase their Lottery ticket. For the very first time in all of the years that I’ve played the odds, I found the whole concept of the Lottery in general to be extremely absurd, however, not absurd enough to withdraw my participation in it. It was that follow up thought that made me laugh even more. I realized how brainwashed I was to truly believe that I could be the lucky 1 out of 175 million people (According to a USA Today news article). I took pleasure in knowing that this belief was obviously shared by all of those that continued to add another $2 dollars to the growing Jackpot that would eventually hit $564 million. I was becoming more and more intrigued by these thoughts that were flooding into my mind triggered by the ‘ordinary’ act of purchasing a Powerball ticket.
Once I made it home, I safely secured my (potential) $564 million piece of paper and thought about all of the possibilities and opportunities that would open up for me within the next few hours once my winning numbers were picked. First I would pay off all of my student debt, then I would take a percentage to make some investments, make arrangements to travel the world etc., etc. The list continued to grow and grow until before I knew it, it was 11:00pm and the numbers were being drawn.
“And for tonight’s Powerball drawing for a Jackpot of $564 million, the winning numbers are…” As the first ball popped up out of the machine I reached for my ticket, feeling my heart beating at least 3 times faster than it was a minute ago. “11”. 11 was nowhere to be found on my ticket, yet I was hopeful that the next number would appear still granting me a significant amount of fortune. “And the next: 13”. I feverishly scanned my ticket looking for anything that resembled the number that was just announced. Yet another bubble has been busted. This went on and on for the next 4 numbers (25, 39, 54 and finally the Powerball number 19) all of which after multiple checks remained omitted from my ticket. Not one number showed up on my ticket. How could this be? This ticket, once potentially valued at $564 million, was now just a worthless piece of paper in which I quickly crumpled up and threw away with all of my big plans and dreams. Gone. Just like that.
Despite the rollercoaster of emotions that I went through that night, which I still find pretty amusing, I look forward to participating in this week’s drawing, which is currently valued at $88 million dollars. You gotta be in it to win it, like the brainwashing lottery motto says: “Hey, you never know”