When I get ticked-off at life, I play the lottery.
When I’m frustrated by my earnings, by my job, by my writing, by my health, the lottery distracts me. The lottery gives me hope. I drop a buck. Always on the quick-pick. I have no premonitions. I’d be embarrassed to presume a hunch. I’m vaguely embarrassed to be playing at all. It’s a dollar I could spend on anything else. Once the ticket is bought, I start spending the money in my head. I spend it on my family and on the community. I buy my kids gifts that make them feel special. I buy the non-profits the things they really need.
I feel the disappointment deep in my stomach when I don’t win.
Last Friday, I bought a lottery ticket. I did this while running an errand for work. 7-11 is next door to the bank, and what better time to feel fed up with my life than when I’m depositing gobs of money for somebody else.
On Saturday morning, after the number drawing, I couldn’t find my ticket. I looked on every flat surface in my house. And when I finished doing that, I did it again, and again. I searched the kitchen garbage, twice—taking the trash out piece by piece, unraveling the crumpled grocery store receipts. Everything damp and gross because, well, it’s garbage.
On Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep. Positive that I won, but then I lost my ticket. I lost my millions. I lost my chance to change my life. Irresponsibly, I didn’t take care of my part of the deal.
While packing my lunch on Monday morning, I found it. The ticket was in the frayed, ratty cooler I sling over my shoulder as I ride my bike to work. It’s my lunch box; my gym bag; my brief case. And I was right, I was a winner! I won a buck.