I rolled into the local BJ’s Wholesale Club the other day to pick up a few items — so few, in fact, that I qualified for the express line. Putting the slowest checkout person at the register of the express line sort of defeats the purpose, but that’s another rant for another day.
The display case behind the express line contains items that can’t be left out for the general public, for varied reasons, with lottery tickets residing among them. And while I was waiting for the so-called express-line checkout sloth to take about a minute-and-a-half to ring up each item for the customers ahead of me, the more I stared at the lottery tickets, the more tempted I became.
I’m not a big gambler at all. I’m not anti-gambling, but my forays into it have been limited to fantasy sports, NCAA pools, Super Bowl box pools and, on very rare occasions, betting on single games (football) and trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. I haven’t bet on a game in three seasons, and I have never gone to Vegas or A.C. on my own — they have been part of events organized by other people, like bachelor parties, or, in the case of one trip to Atlantic City, a diversion for my beach house crew on a rainy day.
I never play any of the lotteries. Here’s the way I look at it: New York State can take those “dollar and a dream” commercials and shove them. The odds are nearly insurmountable, and states would not continue to operate lotteries if they weren’t turning a profit. Hell, New Jersey’s lotteries are still making money, even after paying off both winners and corrupt politicians.
But while standing on line and staring at the different lottery tickets, I kept thinking about the fact that I have been unemployed since October 2008, and my mind started wandering and thinking about the things I could do with the winner’s share.
I did not cave in to the temptation, as common sense took over by the time I finally reached the register. I still feel that lotteries are a no-win situation. Plus, I know myself well: I have a very addictive personality, which is why I’m thrilled that I despise smoking, or I’d be one of those folks who goes through two packs a day, and I probably wouldn’t be here typing this right now. If I got into playing the lottery on a regular basis, assuming I didn’t win something quickly (a pretty valid assumption), I could see myself sinking more and more money into it, thinking that it would give me more chances to win — chasing bad money, as gamblers call it.
Still, it scares me that for the first time, I actually gave serious thought to buying lottery tickets. I really need someone to hire me, and soon. This is getting bad.