Struck by Lightning

Linda Burton posting from Phoenix, Arizona – Lottery fever claimed the city of Phoenix today. In fact, it claimed the attention of nearly everyone in the USA. The eight states that were NOT selling tickets were Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Nevada? Go figure.

The stories were thick and heavy on the news. Sad tales of winners of the past, lives ruined by too much money come too fast; the weeping multi-millionaire who gave his young granddaughter two thousand dollars a week to show his love, then lost her to drugs and drink and a fatal auto crash. His wife left him too; there is no one he can trust, for who’s your friend when you hold the gold? “I’ve lost everything that was important to me,” he cried.

They show the greedy woman who won a million bucks, still buys tickets; now there’s a quarrel. She accidentally gave a ticket to a man who begged for help; he won a quarter million; now she wants the ticket back. “Don’t you have enough?” they asked.

The Lottery Commissions show how ticket sales benefit the states: in Arizona in 2011 alone over $80 million for education, $52 million for Health and Public Welfare, $10 million for the environment, $3 million for economic development. That’s a good thing, right?

We’re warned we have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than pulling off a win. But still the fancied dreams are everywhere, “I’d buy a yacht,” “I’d buy a mansion,” “I’d buy a baseball team,” “I’d never go to work again!”

But is that what we’d do? Become Beverly Hillbillies and move to Holly-wood in Clampett style? I bought six tickets, thought out my plan if I should win. After the Trust Fund, set aside and managed carefully for my family, I’d blow enough to eat at Mrs White’s Golden Rule Café at least once a week.

It’s $13.95, no matter what you get; fried chicken, pork chops, catfish. Order vegetables and they bring you everything – pinto beans and black-eyed peas, collards and cooked cabbage, rice and mac and cheese, sweet potatoes and new potatoes with green beans. The cornbread has melted butter puddled over it, the sweet-tea glass must hold a quart. A wall-plaque proclaims: Mrs White’s, Voted Best Place To Eat If You’re Starting a Diet Tomorrow. See, money can buy happiness!

The good thing is, I don’t have to think about getting struck by lightning, or winning the lottery, to have that in my life. And I didn’t win, only got one number right.

 But I can go to Mrs White’s tomorrow, anyway.