Winning Lottery Ticket

Every week several of my co-workers would go and get lottery tickets. Since our state didn’t carry any lottery they would pool their money together and someone would go on the weekend and buy tickets for everyone.  I don’t care much for the lottery and only on occasion have bought a few lottery tickets, especially when the lottery in one of the adjoining states would get high into the millions of dollars and everybody was casting in their ballot for a chance to be the “Big Winner”. 

I wouldn’t always mock my co-workers about spending their hard earned money on lottery tickets, but every once in a while I just couldn’t help myself.  And of course they would pick on me sometime too, teasing me about not buying any lottery tickets.  I would make light of the situation and tell them, “I would buy a lottery ticket, but it would be my luck I would hit that thing.” Then I would go on jokingly saying, “Because I don’t have any good luck.” Of course they would remind me that I could just give that ‘unlucky’ ticket to them.

One day my manager decided to buy a bunch of the little scratch-off tickets for all the employees.  For no apparent reason he would just go out and get a bunch of tickets and pass them out to everyone, it was just a nice gesture of good faith for being good employees and working hard.  It didn’t cost anyone anything except our manager and he enjoyed seeing some of his employees hit a little scratch-off for a few dollars or a free ticket.  There was even a time or two when one of the employees hit a scratch-off for a few hundred dollars.

The boss would always say, “If any of you hit it over a thousand dollars, now I want you to split it with me. Okay?”  Of course everyone would say okay but no one has been that fortunate.  I have always wondered if anybody did hit it big on a scratch-off ticket would they really be willing to share it with him, since he was the one that originally bought the tickets to start with. 

I saw the boss coming around to each one’s cubicle fanning the tickets out like a deck of cards and telling them to pick one.  The boss then stepped to my cubicle “Pick one Tad! Since you don’t play the lottery anyway, you’ll probably be the one hitting the big one.”

“Yea, right. I don’t think I would be that lucky.” I laughed at him while drawing a ticket from his hand.

“You are going to share it with me if you do hit it aren’t you?” He reminded me getting ready to go to the next cubicle.

“I sure will chief.” I took my ticket and laid it on my desk. I notice one or two of my co-workers looking over their cubicle talking and laughing asking each other what did they get on their ticket. Apparently no one hit anything. Usually you would hear a whooping or hollering from someone who may have won something.

It’s like going fishing and someone catching the ‘Big One’.  They’re the ones who make the most noise so anyone else fishing wouldn’t even get a bite. 

Several of my co-workers asked me what did I get on my lottery ticket.  I told them I hadn’t scratched it off yet but I will. Finally after several people asked me I finally reached over and grabbed the little scratch off, read the instructions: get three prize amounts of the same value and win that prize.  So I took a quarter out of my desk drawer and slowly and gently scratched the gray metallic covering over the prize amount revealing it’s true value.

I looked up over my cubicle at everyone else to make sure no one was staring over my shoulder as I scratched my ticket. ‘Wow! There’s a one hundred thousand dollar prize.’ I scratched the next one. “Ah, man. Five dollars.” I whispered to myself.  I scratched the next one ‘Wow, another one hundred thousand dollar one. All I need is one more hundred thousand dollars and I’ll be the big winner.’  I took a deep breath thought within myself what are the probabilities of little ole’ me hitting the big scratch-off?

Another one scratched, ‘A free ticket.’ I gently blew the metallic shreds from the scratch off in my garbage can, took another deep breath and slowly scratched the next spot on my scratch off. As it slowly began to come in view I knew if I was going to win anything it was going to be a free ticket.

I had a fifty/fifty chance. My ticket had already revealed two, one hundred thousand dollar numbers and two, free tickets and a five dollar number.  I blew the dust off one more time for good measure.  Put my quarter to the last unrevealed prize, but before I did I looked up over my cubicle one more time to make sure no one was looking over at me.  I slowly began to gently rub off the last one. This was my last chance to be a winner of any kind.  The dollar sign came into view. There was a one. A zero. Another zero. And another. I began to rub a little harder, bearing down almost as hard as I could.  The last number had finally revealed itself to me. 

I couldn’t believe what was staring back at me. My heart began to pound faster as I began to get nervous, the revelation of seeing what was before me.  I held it out and looked at it. I took my glasses off and rubbed my eyes only to put them back on to realize a wish, a fantasy was not only within my grasp but also within the palm of my hands.  I had just won one hundred thousand dollars on a little scratch off ticket. Of all people in this office, of all the tickets the boss held in his hand. Of all the tickets that I had picked out of his hand and mine was the big winner. If we were all fishing it would be me finally catching the ‘Big One’.  I had a winner. I was shocked and stunned to silence.  I still couldn’t believe it. 

Should I tell anyone? Would someone try and attack me to take my ticket?  Would they hound me for ‘owing them something’?  I began to feel sweat beading upon my forehead. My hands were beginning to feel sweaty.  I could feel sweat begin to pour even out from under my arms.  I leaned up in my chair and peered out with my eyes just above my cubicle at everyone else busily working.  I picked up my phone and quietly dialed my wife’s cell phone. “Hi. This is Linda, sorry I missed your call but if you’ll leave your name and number I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks.”

“Awww. Dog-gone it.” I got her voice mail.  If only she would have her phone turned on sometime. So I whispered into the phone, “Linda, this is David. Call me as soon as you get this message. It is very, very important! Better yet just call my cell phone.”

I couldn’t believe I just won a hundred thousand dollars on a scratch off ticket my boss gave me.  I put my head in my hands and took deep breaths. “David, you alright?” I heard the voice from behind me.

I quickly reached down and covered the ticket up with my left hand while I spun around. “Uh, umm. Yea. I’m alright.” Pointing at my computer screen, “I um, I uh, just had a little problem with my program I’m working on. Yea, I’m okay. Thanks for asking.”

“Oh, okay. If there’s anything I can help you with just give me a holler.”  My co-worker kind of peered, cutting his eyes around my cubicle with a half grin on his face.

I thanked him again. ‘Whew, that was a close one.’  I thought. I better put this ticket in my wallet before anyone sees it.  I’ll be the talk of the office.  But what can I do about my boss. He was the one that gave me the ticket to start with.  I did promise I would share it with him. ‘I know what I’ll do. I’ll just collect my winnings then ask him and his wife out to dinner and give him his share if he’ll promise to keep it between us and not tell anyone at the office.’

It was the perfect plan for collecting my winnings and sharing it like I promised.  My cell phone rings. I picked it up and looked at the caller ID.  Great! It’s Linda. “Hey honey.  I know you are busy but listen to me.  I can’t explain right now but I will need you to take off from work tomorrow.  It is very, very important. I’ll explain it when we get home this afternoon.” Before I hung up I reminded her once again. “And honey…I love you.” I hear  ‘I love you too’ on the other end before hanging up. My mind is still reeling from the thought that in just about twenty-four hours I will be one hundred thousand dollars richer or at least fifty thousand.  It would pay off all my debts and maybe have a little money for a rainy day.

I told the boss that I needed to take the next day off.  I had some business to take care of. He laughed and made a joke asking me if I had won the lottery with my scratch off ticket while he put my name down to be off the next day.

After I get home I decided to take my wonderful wife out to dinner instead of eating in. I had the ticket tucked away, hidden in my wallet.  I wouldn’t even show it to her when she asked if she could see it. I wanted it to be safe from anyone’s view. After we ate dinner I explained everything to her of why I wanted her to take the next day off and all about the winning ticket.  The next day we will be making the hundred-mile trip to the lottery headquarters to collect on my winning scratch off ticket.

The next day my wife and I got up early and ate a good breakfast.  We got dressed like we were going to Sunday meeting.  We made it to the lottery headquarters even before they opened up.  When I saw a lady going to the door unlocking it my wife and I made a beeline for the front door. There was no one else in the parking lot so we wouldn’t have to wait. 

I go to the receptionist sitting behind the desk as we exchanged smiles. “Yes sir, what can I do for you today sir?” 

I told her I had a winning scratch off ticket and wanted to redeem it.  I then got the ticket out of my wallet and slowly handed it to her almost reluctant to let it go.  She looked at the ticket then she cut her eyes up to me without moving her head and then looked at the ticket again. The beautiful, charming smile is now gone with a look of perplexity almost confusion on her face. She looked back at me again and held the ticket out and said, “This is a joke right?”  

“What do you mean?” Now confused myself I asked.

She looked at the ticket again and informed me. “This here ticket is a novelty lottery ticket. It’s not a real ticket at all.  It’s a joke.”

My wife and I were standing there with our jaws dropped in astonishment. I take a gulp not even daring to look at my wife. After a moment of silence I was finally able to speak. “You mean…uh…I can’t redeem that ticket here or nowhere else? You mean to tell me it’s” I couldn’t seem to make the words out so she finished my sentence for me.

“Yes sir, it is fake. A joke. Not real. Someone played a prank on you.  If you had looked at the fine print on the bottom of the back of the ticket you would have seen it was. See there.” She pointed to the back of the ticket at the bottom.  Sure enough there it was in small black and white letters. ‘NOVELTY TRADING COMPANY’

My wife didn’t speak to me on our way back home.  As a matter of fact she didn’t speak to me the rest of the day. She didn’t have too. I knew what she was thinking.  If I had just shown her the ticket she has a little better eyesight than I do. 

The next day I went to work not mentioning a word about my trip to the lottery headquarters. All my co-workers did seem a little happier and cheerful for some reason.  One of them asked me did I go anywhere on my day off.  I just told them my wife and I went somewhere together out of town. He had a big grin on his face like he was about to burst out with laughter.  As a matter of fact I don’t know what they were up to because several looked at me and started laughing. I wondered if they had done something to my desk or chair again while I was out but I didn’t see or find anything wrong or out of place.

But I pondered in my mind should I tell the boss that all those lottery tickets he gave out were not any good. But I didn’t want him to be embarrassed in front of everybody so I kept my mouth shut and besides I think it makes him feel good to pass out all those tickets.

(just for the record, this is fictional so it never really happened. Tad.)

If I Could Do Like That

When I was younger, much younger, my friends and I would watch a movie on television only to go outside and reenact it in the yard.  Whether we were cowboys and indians, soldiers fighting in a war or out on some space odyssey like Luke Skywalker or Buck Rogers. There was a time when wrestling was the biggest thing and we would watch it on television only to wound up making the living room or den the wrestling ring and hope we didn’t break nothing when our parents weren’t around. 

As we got older things didn’t change much.  We don’t tear the house apart wrestling, as a matter of fact I haven’t watched wrestling in a long time and it’s not because of the myth that went around years ago that it was fake. Only now my son and I watch hunting shows and fishing shows, and the very thing we both say is that we wished we could kill a big buck like that, or a moose or an elk or whatever else they are hunting.  It kind of gives us an itch that can’t be scratched until we get out in the woods ourselves, early in the pre-dawn hours before the sun comes up and its cold outside.  We get in the woods and sit and wait. Watching and listening for any sound of the monster buck that we’ve seen on television the weekend before. 

Or what about the monster fish that is caught by those professional anglers? There are a few things on my bucket list and one of them is to be strapped in a chair with reel and rod to fight and haul in one of those monstrous sailfish or a massive blue marlin just once in my life. 

The very thing we say is, “Man, I would love to do that!” whether it’s in the woods or on the water most men I know would love to do that just once.  To have that picture of them standing next to that big fish or have that ‘wall-hanger’ trophy in the living room or den. 

It reminds me of the song “If I Could Be Like That” by the group 3 Doors Down.  ‘He spends his nights in California, watching the stars on the big screen, and he lies awakes and wonders, why can’t that be me.’    

And before you ladies jump the gun and think it’s all a man thing, think again.  Lately I’ve also had the privilege, courtesy of my wife, to watch the Food Network with her.  We would watch the food challenge and one of our favorites is the Cake Challenge and Cupcake Wars.  And she would say the same thing us guys would say to a hunting and fishing show, “I wish I could do like that”.

Television really does make it glamorous. We also watch DIY and HGTV and wished we could transform our houses and yards into what they do.  And to think they also make it all look so easy.  But sometime while watching these shows take a looks behind the person and see the tools and utensils they use to make everything from those backyards of paradise to those towering mountains of  sugar they call cakes. 

Then we go in the kitchen to have our scrambled eggs and toast and drink our coffee before going outside to cut the grass until it dies down in the fall.  Then go out in the woods hoping maybe we can at least kill a small buck or even a doe.  Well, now it’s back to reality so welcome back to the real world.