Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lottery dreams in New Orleans

Po-boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Good Living
Land Of A Thousand Dances
I returned from vacation with a deadline looming, no beer in the fridge, the bank’s ATM broken (“sorry for the inconvenience”) and a report that while I was gone my dog had eaten twenty-five pounds of kibble in one sitting. I would have had more money except for the ransom for the alcoholic beverages we had to pay in the airport and on the plane.
We went to America on our holiday, California specifically and amazingly, aside from us all having bad teeth and none of us speaking correct English here, we’re much the same people. And though they don’t say hello on the street to strangers, they’re a lot more polite when you get to know them. They don’t seem to mind paying four seventy-five for a Guinness draft or three seventy-five for a Corona in a bar, but, what the hey, the wine deals more than make up for it. Go figure.
One of the first purchases I made upon returning (after beer, of course) was a Lotto ticket, and a Powerball. Weezel has convinced me that it only takes one ticket to win and I think I procrastinate checking my numbers so that I can make believe that I’m a ga-zillionaire just for a little bit.
I’ve been playing the numbers game for decades. I find it better than insurance. With insurance, you’re betting against yourself and hoping that you’ll lose; with the lottery, at least you’re betting for yourself and hoping that you win. Does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?
Invariably I play the ‘what I’m gonna do with the money’ game while I wait to check the results. The first thing I think of is rewarding my friends and punishing my enemies, that idea always makes me feel good. There was a study done recently indicating that people actually feel good when they do things like that. To me, it doesn’t take a study.
I’ve often toyed with the idea of using my windfall to get all the love that money can buy; but I concluded that, once rich, I’d be electric!! Especially after my bodywork was completed, you know: hair, teeth eyebrows and buns and abs of steel. Nah, I’d probably buy a new bike instead.
Then I think of traveling. You know, the world is full of places that I haven’t seen…and want to. I could have money shipped to different locations around the globe and travel for the rest of my natural life. Hell, I’d be so filthy, stinking rich: I could afford to keep traveling after I bit the big one. Nepal, Venice, Rome (Italy not Georgia), Japan, Nova Scotia, where ever! There he goes!
And speaking of the long walk, the Big Chill, and the buying of the farm: I could afford, while I’m here, to have the best health care in the world almost into immortality! Think about it! Diet, exercise (read personal trainer here) and meditation on the infinite donut that we call our inner and outer universe. I could afford the best dentist. I’d be pretty and witty and bright. One thing that I do know; I’d never work another day in my life!
Or would I? I could take part of my dough and really trick out some business that I could sink my teeth into, like a bakery, a book store, a swanky bistro, a theater, my own museum or even a monthly literary publication! I could produce films, beauty pageants or music talent. I could fire Donald! I could have my own hotel/motel/bed and breakfast chain. A drive-in theater. Or not.
I could use my money to do good in the world, sobering thought that. Think of all the underprivileged, disenfranchised, down trodden and disadvantaged peoples, families and cultures that could use my resources for schools, hospitals or roads. It brings a tear to my eye to think that even in this great country of ours children go to bed hungry while we send eighty-seven billion dollars to help rebuild a country that we were instrumental in destroying, but that’s another story.
I think maybe that I could head up a gigantic law firm, prosecute bad guys, track down deadbeats, deal out justice. Suppose some guy has been mistreating his family, his wife and kids, late on child support? Supposing I just send somebody out to just kick his ass and some sense into his head? Suppose I take somebody that abuses animals, stages dogfights, cockfights, buggy driving? Suppose I send them over to Palestine and the only job that they can get is to be an ambulance driver? Hmmm?
Then again, I could just retire; buy some small South American country and set myself up as King, Emperor, and Protector. I could abolish despair, injustice and neglect. It’s not rocket surgery, you know. Lift them up by their bootstraps, train them all to be hairdressers or phone sanitizers. Maybe receptionists or dental hygienists. The possibilities are endless.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about and in thinking about it, it’s worth doing my next column about (and just in time too). Are you sure that you are qualified to vote in the presidential election? Think about it. You’re either too young, too old or too dumb to be taking part in the making of a decision that’s going to affect my life for the next four years. I’m going to talk in length about it next month, just under the wire before election. Even though only about half of the adults that are qualified to vote do, I don’t want some uninformed, ABB or ‘with us or for terrorism’ schmuck taking me where no man has gone before. We’re in bad enough shape as it is.
That is unless I win the lottery before then. Have I told you my theory of rewarding my friends and punishing my enemies? Want to be my friend?

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