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-The Five Spot

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scratching Off Luck

So last week dude from the mail room crew hunted me down to ask if he could borrow 20 bucks. Um. Okay. I work two jobs, had it spare, and we are cool like that. I mean I understand what it’s like on that Monday through Thursday before payday Friday. Sometimes you’re calling out because you don’t have the gas or bus money to get to work. Or you are sitting hoping someone’s ordering lunch for the office so you can sneak a sandwich. Plus my mail room friend has 5 kids, 3 baby’s mommas, 1 ailing mother, a conviction, and is a black man in America. Working a legit job. Struggling to do right. So me going to the ATM wasn’t a grave sacrifice…

But the whole exchange of my money got me to thinking about my buddy’s finances. His tendency to play the numbers and hang with his man (a professional gambler) in Atlantic City on the weekends. I mean every time we get paid he’s on his way to get his money orders…and to play the numbers. The week I couldn’t fall asleep before 1am, he took it as a sign for him to play the number 1. He swore that he’d give me half of whatever he got. Well what is halvsies of nothing? Exactly.

But I have empathy towards this dude because I-myself-personally had a love for scratch-offs, back, back, back in the day when I was young. Whaaaaaaaaaat! A chance to win a thousand or even thousands of dollars and at most all I was paying was 2 measly bucks! I gotta tell you, there were scratch-offs in my car, on the floor of my room heck even in my cat’s pile of toys. Those of course were the losing tickets, the winning ones (the YOU’VE WON a dollar) were used to purchase more tickets. Can we say vicious cycle? And on one of the brokest days of my life…I hit it BIG! It was all about Ulysses S. Grant, what? 50 bucks! But that only happened like one time out of hundreds. Let’s think about the numbers. 2 dollars a day, 4 weeks, 12 months in a year!

Dizzzzzzzaum! It nearly cost me $500!

And no one is thinking about the folks who have been playing numbers since prohibition. Using birthdates, the number they dreamt about back in ’75 or the number of blue cars they saw that day. I mean it is only a few bucks a day, but spanned out over a lifetime….

Well it just got me to wondering who is really winning off this lottery and general gambling thing. I mean it’s not like I’m seeing Bill Gates picking numbers. I ain’t seeing scratch-offs as any of Oprah’s favorite things. Of course I don’t know what the uber rich do, but it would be ludicrous if they played right?

But isn’t it more ludicrous that the folks funding these mega million jackpots are the hopeful poor? That commercials like
THIS-that I can’t get that beat out of my head-are made to target the hard working, but can’t quite make ends meet. Folks, who let’s be honest, are typically on the browner side of the spectrum.

It just saddens me that folks like my friend spend money hoping that Luck will be a loose and giving whore. Ha! Well I think folks would be better burying their lotto dollars in their yards, because truth is that Luck, more often than not is going to be a lady. An elusive, prudish. stingy ole lady, who ain’t giving it up any time soon!

See You in Seven


MJR-BANX said...

Amaretto…are you a closet scrap-off addict? I never understood the draw but Jimmy Jam was sneaking a couple in for a hot minute. Casinos I understand…you pay for the rush when you loose your money on the table. I guess you could say scratch-offs are like doing crack and casinos are like snorting coke at a party. I am so wrong for that analogy…LOL…but the rich gamble too!

The difference I think (I am not rich so I can’t speak for them) is that we let the idea of winning overwhelm us to the point where it starts to hurt us financially. I would like to think that the wealthy became wealthy by keeping it real not putting all the eggs in one basket of ideals.

P.S. No breakfast this morning…although tis’ morning meeting was a little intimate because the small conference room was all that was available…lol.

The Breaking Point said...

Good points here. I think this goes to the mentality of people who play the lottery and other games of that sort: short-term gratification is better than planning long term.

Rum Punch said...

This made me think of 2 things: my love for playing Keno at the side hustle...it got to the point when I knew when certain numbers were coming back around. And my hairdresser in the A who would leave you under the dryer extra long so she could run cross the street to play her numbers. And then she would complain bout how Tracey, her "number runner" was a tricky b***h cause Tracey knew what numbers my hairdresser usually played and those numbers seemed to hit when she didn't play. I'd be like is this Harlem 1942? Ok, West Indian Archie on some tell me that number hit...

FunkyBlackChick said...

My grandmother used to be addicted to playing the lottery! She would send me in the store for her when I was a kid and the man at the cashier would look out the window and wave at her. I remember one time she did win about $30k, but that was AFTER years & years of throwing money away.