We didn’t win the lotto tonight. My wife bought three tickets and used various personal algorithms to pick the numbers. Though I don’t know why she just picked three. Three? “One for each of them,” she said referring to the children. “And one for us.” she added with a flip of her hair.

I don’t play. Never did. I always gambled with my life, instead. Not that I’m against the idea of the lottery. Sure, it’s got its bad qualities – like the pervasiveness of false hope – but it’s not like it’s drinking and driving. For 90% of the people who play this mega lottery (I just made that stat up by the way), it’s just fun. A time to dream. To dream big. To pick the things you’d do if money were suddenly not an issue in your life. A summer house here. A winter house there. Ivy League for the kids. A year off to travel across Africa. Maybe catch that Kony. I’d love to say these are my dreams, but they’re not. I’ve never dreamed that way with the lottery. Tried, just can’t. I’m pretty sure I’m never supposed to have that much money so I don’t even think about it. Don’t even try.

But others, wow. Some get frenzied. And of course everyone in America is talking about it because you know, what if? You gotta be in it to win it. All that. I do marvel at how masses of people think and gravitate toward ideas. Especially ideas that rise and fall away so rapidly – like the lottery. I can’t believe that anyone actually ‘thinks’ they’re going to win, though. I mean, most people realize the odds, right? Then again, you could probably make a dime betting people $10,000 each that they won’t win. No, the lottery isn’t about winning. It’s about dreaming of spending so much money, that you can’t spend it all.

My lovely wife is no different. Once the lottery was over (she looked it up online, as we were watching a movie) she remarked, “I was so close. I picked 1 and it was 2. I picked 3 and it was 4.” A statement that baffled me a little, since I’d think of close as getting 4 out of 6 correctly. Then she added with a sigh and a smile, “But it was fun to dream.”

I reckon so.


Jim Mitchem

Once Upon a Time, Sports Was Free
Ubuntu: Lessons From Childhood

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.