Paying the “idiot tax” my grandfather called it.
He never missed buying his weekly tickets. Barely a small win to show for it.
I often wondered how much money he spent over the years and whether it was worth it to him, or what else he could have bought or done with the
I think for him it wasn’t about winning or losing. It was the ritual of it.
A reason in his senior years to catch the bus twice a week and go out and socialize.
Even if buying a $2 ticket was his only excuse.
I cannot in any way claim to be like him. I only venture to win when the prize is high, and the odds are low. So in a way I suppose , every so often I
do pay an idiot tax.
It’s raining today. The first chill in the air of fall. A few colored leaves are already on the ground and I’m distraught over that. Autumn seems
to transition even quicker than summer and I despise the long cold winters here. Falling leaves are just the first signs of a season I wish I could
I’m walking, despite the rain. A new normal for me. Walking just for the sake of it with no real destination. If my brain is going to bombard me
with various random thoughts it can do so just as easily with my feet moving.
The wind is picking up, and I’m seriously questioning my decision to go out today. A small whirlwind of leaves and garbage blows around my feet.
I’m sidestepping to avoid puddles now forming on the sidewalk. I totally picked the wrong shoes for today.
Something feels funny under my left shoe....My first thought was.....
But no. It’s gum. A huge ball of disgusting pink and now stuck to the bottom of my shoe grossness... but with a tag attached. Nope. Not a tag. A
Another loser tossing his rubbish to the curb.
I try peeling it all off in one go.
Gum, stuck solid in the tread of the shoes I’m increasingly thinking of never wearing again.
I’m no litterbug, so I stuff the ticket in my pocket till I come to the next garbage can.
Raining harder now.
I jog the rest of the way back to my front step and in the door.
Shaking like a dog and peeling off the wet jacket and gum shoes, I’m just glad to be warm and dry.
Hot tea is in order right now.
An empty cup on the coffee table, rain pouring outside, and I’m nodding off on the sofa...
I jolt awake remembering the sticky ticket in my jacket pocket.
It’s soggy and dirty, but still legible. The ink hadn’t faded in the least. I walked over to the garbage can and tossed it in. It landed face up.
Only then did I notice the numbers and register the significance.
Number 17, my birthday. Number 32, my age. Number 46, my house number. Then I noticed the numbers in the middle...19, 24. My phone number.
I dropped it back in the trash.
Walked back to the sofa and sat down.
This isn’t real...This isn’t real....
Anybody can pick numbers and it doesn’t mean anything.
I ran back to the garbage can and checked the date on the ticket.
The draw was last night!
Obviously it wasn’t a winner, so someone threw it away. Again, I tossed it back in the bin.
Back to the sofa.
“But OMG the numbers!?”
“I have to check.”
It seemed to take forever to find and load right website and get the page of winning numbers to load.
My heart started beating fast and I caught myself holding my breath.
There they were. The winning numbers.
17, 19,24, 32, 46
“This can’t be. How can this be? A WINNING TICKET WITH ALL THE NUMBERS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO ME? What in the universe is going on?? What do I even
do? I didn’t buy this ticket. I found it. Someone must be looking for it, aren’t they?”
My mind is racing a hundred miles a minute. I’m contemplating the issues of claiming a ticket I didn’t buy whilst simultaneously spending the
money in my thoughts.
OK, just breathe.
Checks back of ticket. No signature. Awesome.
Quickly, I find a pen and sign it. One base covered.
I check the time. 2pm.
Double awesome. Still time to make it to the lottery office.
Look outside. Still raining and windy.
Oh well. Last time I might walk anywhere after today!
On goes the jacket. On goes the soon to be replaced sticky gum shoes. Out the door in a hurry and scurry.
Five or six steps down the sidewalk and I’m practically skipping. Three blocks and I’m at the lottery office. A huge unwavering grin on my
I reach into my pocket for the ticket.
I retrace every step. Three blocks back to the house. Stopping to pick up every random bit and piece of paper on the ground that even remotely
resembled a ticket.
Nothing. Not a trace.
I’m soaking wet, extremely frustrated and cursing the universe for handing me fortune and taking it away.
Back in the house...off with the jacket....off with the shoes...
I throw myself back on the sofa.
“Life is so unfair to me”, I whimper.
I open my eyes and realize it’s dark outside.
I must have nodded off again.
Starving, I open the fridge and realize in all the craziness, I forgot to pick up any groceries.
** Double sigh
Check the time. 8pm.
Corner store still open.
Back on the jacket. Back on the gum shoes.
At least it’s not raining anymore. But the wind is chilly.
I put my hands in my pockets, and I feel something balled up and wet.
But it’s soaking wet.
When I try to open it up, it breaks apart. The ink is faded to almost oblivion and I cannot make out any of the numbers. Only the place where the gum
stuck it to my shoe is intact.
I won the lottery.
In my dream...I know I won the lottery.
Off to the corner store...to buy groceries, and pay my idiot tax.
edit on 10-9-2019 by AccessDenied because: (no reason given)