what point does the lottery jackpot begin to interest you?
it from the very beginning and smallest amounts? Are you picking
up a ticket for each and every drawing, twice a week, regardless
of the prize value? Are you one of those people that purchase
extended play tickets good for several drawings?
about when it clears $100 million? Do you sort of pay attention
to the numbers, but only buy a ticket when the jackpot clears
the trigger for you is $150 million?
figure there are basically three types of lottery players when
it comes to games like Powerball and Mega Millions.
you have the devotees… playing virtually every drawing. It’s a
part of their week to walk into a store once or twice to play.
They might even buy a ticket that plays for multiple drawings.
And, there are even workplace pools that take collections every
week for every drawing.
yes, third… are the people that play only when the rush is on,
everyone is talking about it, when the game hits roughly $200
million or more.
second, in the middle but offered up last, are the people like
me that sort of pay attention and jump before the rush.
also found that the media tends to heat up around the $200 million
mark. It’s not an exact science, but that does seem to be when
you start seeing the articles all over the place. News stations
are broadcasting reports live from a corner convenience store
on the last minute rush for tickets… newspapers are discussing
how the taxes created by a big winner will help the state… online
sources are interviewing people that tell you the top ten things
to do with your winnings (or the top ten mistakes to avoid)… and
everyone is attempting to find special angles for the stories
of joys and horrors, while continuously asking what members of
the audience might do if one of them won.
I’m not an every-drawing player. I’m right there in the middle.
It’s not my routine to stop in each week and pick up a ticket.
I don’t use one purchase to play the same ticket for multiple
drawings. Once things cross about $100 million though, I’m paying
attention, and likely buying a ticket. That also means once the
media machine begins winding up, it’s usually a week or two after
I’ve noticed, and I start rolling my eyes and wondering what suddenly
got them interested. (Because… you know… it’s my $200 million
jackpot, so I’d appreciate a little quiet so all these other people
don’t find out and buy their tickets before I can win it.)
thing is… whether a regular player or chasing the stars for only
the highest values player or something else entirely… I do have
a specific set of numbers I like to pick. I do have superstitions.
And that is at the heart of this particular essay.
may have heard that Powerball will be drawn this weekend for a
jackpot that is around $270 million right now. About a week ago
I bought a ticket. Or, should I say, my first ticket on this particular
do have my quirks as well. My general practice when I play is
actually to pick up two tickets. One of those will be my collection
of personal numbers. The second will be a quick pick. And if I
make a mistake filling out the card, I ALWAYS buy that
mistake in addition to my normal purchase. (I mean really… can
you possibly imagine regularly picking 1 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 7 and 9
as the Powerball, then one day you fill out a card and darken
in 1 – and (oh crap) 2 – and then how you would react when the
drawing comes out 1 – 2 – 4 – 6 – 7 and 9? Of course you can.
You have that same fear. You buy that ticket too. Anyway…)
was at a store, picked up my Powerball numbers and an additional
quick pick ticket, and went shopping for a few groceries. I got
outside and pushed the cart to the car, placed the bags in the
passenger side, and returned the cart to that corral thing.
I got home, I brought in the bags, started to unload them, and
remembered the Powerball tickets. I couldn’t find them. Suddenly
I could vividly picture them in my mind… sitting in that little
raised area kiddie seat section of the cart! I had left them behind.
into the car… ice cream left on the counter… off to the store.
case you care it was two pints of Ben & Jerry’s, and Terry
put them in the freezer. I’m happy to report that no harm came
to the Coffee Heath Bar Crunch or Chubby Hubby during the production
of this story.)
of searching. No finding.
here’s where things get nutty.
course I went out later and bought new tickets. But in the back
of my head, I was worried that someone else had taken the tickets
(not found… taken), my personal numbers would win, and
then I would have to share the jackpot with someone that won half
of it off of my stupidity.
a way I was actually relieved when there wasn’t a winner
for that drawing. Reset everything… buy new tickets… and go again
without having to worry about someone else cashing in on my winners.
Sounds good to me… and I slept better that night because of it.
a side note… Mega Millions didn’t have a winner yesterday, so
I’ll be buying those tickets again in the next few days too. (By
the way, that jackpot is nearing $170 million… which means it’s
nearing that media-frenzy tipping point as well. Which will only
be enhanced by “for those of you that didn’t win, Mega Millions
is at” stories that kick off if someone doesn’t win Mega Millions
before someone connects on Powerball. Anyway… you heard it here
next drawing is tonight. In addition to our own tickets, Terry
and I have chipped in money with some friends at work. And Terry
keeps asking me if the drawing has been held yet.
general, I will almost forget about the drawing and never watch
it on television. Instead… well… Molly will come to the rescue.
do remember that the drawing is taking place on a given night.
Molly almost always likes to get up at least once and go outside
for a few minutes. So somewhere around 2am, I’m likely to hear
some panting from the end of the bed. Molly knows how to sneak
around the little blockades we have in place, and if I don’t get
up within three or four minutes she decides enough is enough and
moves from the foot of the bed into position to dive on top of
me. (She has even worked out exactly how to pounce perfectly on
top of my side of the bed without waking Terry. Gus isn’t quite
as stealth-like in his approach. To avoid the pounce, I regularly
respond after two minutes of panting.)
outside, while admiring the sky, it will occur to me that the
numbers have been drawn. And I’ll never get back to sleep without
suppose I’ll wish you the best, but let’s face facts… it wouldn’t
be genuine. Instead I’ll just promise that if I win, I’ll back
off and stay out of your way the next time. How’s that?)