How I Won the Lottery in 2010! (just kidding)

2010 was essentially my last year as lottery pool president. Well, it got old, you know. You try buying a lottery ticket twice a week for years, with nothing to show for it except instant recognition by the convenience store clerk, and see how it goes. You’d think the guy would give me a free one once in a while (ticket, that is), but no.

Feb. 3, 2010
Last week they found the body of a man who won $30 million in the Florida lottery buried under a concrete slab in some woman’s backyard. That’s what happens. When his ship came in, the waves also washed up a bunch of needy friends and relatives. So he hooked up with “Dee-Dee,” who offered to manage his money for him and managed a lot of it into her own bank account.

Although the body was found on her property, Dee-Dee swears she’s innocent. She only had the 30-foot concrete slab poured in the backyard, she says, to park her new boat and camper.

I must admit it doesn’t sound like the victim was a very nice man before he won $30 million. Still.

March 5, 2010
Let’s win one for Judy (the other Judy, who slipped on the ice and broke her hip in a dog-walking mishap and laid there in the cold unable to move until her husband came home unexpectedly in the middle of the day, thank God, and found her).

I told the other Judy we’d all try harder this week, because winning several million dollars might cheer her up. It would cheer me up. I don’t imagine she woke up Monday morning thinking she’d wind up lying in the snow immobile with just a clumsy, clueless dog for company. Who would? It’s a little like having grandkids. You know they’re going to hurt you, you just don’t know when or how.

May 14, 2010
I heard on the radio this morning that all doctors in Minnesota are trained in fish hook removal. That’s the kind of thing I want to know, and if we win the lottery, I might just buy a boat and go fishing. I like to wear a swimsuit in the boat, so I can tan and not worry too much about the fishing part. Also, I only like to catch sunfish, which don’t taste real fishy, and I’ll only fish near the shoreline, so I can go in when I want.

My prerequisites for fishing may have something to do with the fact that my parents were fanatics about it. We kids had to tag along because we couldn’t be trusted alone on shore, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. They’d take us out in the middle of some big, windy lake and wouldn’t come in until the fish stopped biting and maybe not then, even if you were really bored or had to pee.

And when we did get back to shore, we had to clean fish – usually just the scaling part, not the gutting part, but you ended up with fish scales in your hair all the same. Kids weren’t coddled back then. We had to dig dandelions out of the lawn too and pluck feathers off dead pheasants in the fall. It was a regular Oliver Twist existence.

It’s a wonder I still like to fish at all, but I kind of do. As long as I can go in when I want, which is usually when the wine coolers are gone.

June 16, 2010
I took three days off last week. It rained every day plus Saturday and Sunday. To quote The Beaver: life is not fair. Life won’t be fair if we win the lottery either, but I’ll bet you have more ways to get over the general unfairness of it all.

Jan. 5, 2011
You may have heard someone won a $355 million MegaMillions jackpot yesterday, and now you’re wondering, “Hey! Why aren’t we playing MegaMillions or whatever it is?” We aren’t playing MegaMillions because I never heard of it before this morning.

MegaMillions is a multi-state lottery similar to Powerball. I’m perfectly willing to jump on the MegaMillions bandwagon, but I cannot be the exalted leader of Powerball and MegaMillions too. I have a life, you know, such as it is. If anyone else wants to start a MegaMillions pool though, I’m in.

…and that was the beginning of the end of Powerball and the beginning of the beginning of MegaMillions, which is the lottery of choice of our new pool president, who buys a ticket twice a week and also sends out funny emails documenting life with her boyfriend and her cats and the neighborhood kids who have no respect for lot lines. Fascinating stuff. She should start a blog.

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So Why Would I Win the Lottery in 2009?

Can’t remember what the weather was like in 2009, but it couldn’t have been more crazy-making than 2011. Winter’s paralyzing cold and snow, followed by the spring that wasn’t, followed by our so-called June, has morphed into unrelenting heat and humidity interrupted only by the occasional monsoon. Highways buckled this week. Sinkholes appeared out of nowhere. Meanwhile, the lottery pool at work remains as dry as Death Valley. Well, we didn’t win anything in 2009 either.

Feb. 27, 2009
So the Powerball is up to $175 million. If we win I might go out and buy some of those new e-cigs that dispense nicotine and look like real cigarettes and even shoot out a little puff of something that looks like smoke. They’re pretty pricey, but I’m sure they’re worth it.

If we don’t win, I may plan a yard sale this spring. It’s one of life’s mysteries how you can keep giving stuff to the Goodwill and never make a dent in the household inventory. I was standing in my closet this morning (smoking) and happened to look up at the top shelf, where some of the things indispensable to my happiness reside, including a black and red feather boa and a fishing hat from Perham, MN. If I don’t force myself to part with some of this stuff, all I can foresee is a pretty embarrassing estate sale for the girls down the road.

March 25, 2009
Winning $81 million would be a good thing about now. For the last three months the city has been sending me notices: “Possible Leak Detected.” Well, I know there’s a possible leak. In fact, it’s an actual leak in the form of a slow drip in the bathroom sink, which I have successfully ignored so far because 1) I can’t hear it and 2) I am waiting for it to fix itself. Plumbing will do that sometimes.

Things aren’t looking promising though. If I have to break down and call a plumber, maybe he can fix the icemaker in the refrigerator at the same time. I haven’t had ice for about two years now because the icemaker refuses to fix itself. Of course, I could buy some ice cube trays, but why should I be the one to give in?

April 3, 2009
Speaking of money, I was watching the news last night when I was struck by a protester’s sign demanding the end of it. Money, that is. It’s a hard thing to get your mind around. Of course, we know money is an illusion – numbers bouncing back and forth between the world’s computers – but still it’s hard to imagine how we’d function without any.

Would working behind the butcher counter for an hour be enough for a 5-lb. chuck roast? Would we have to grow our own fruits and vegetables? (I’d be the first to get rickets.) I can sew, but I don’t know what the rest of you will do for clothes. Then again, we all probably have enough clothes at home right now to last the rest of our lives; and this would certainly be a more interesting place to work if everyone were restricted to their existing wardrobe from this point on.

But as far as I know money is alive and well, and I wish we’d win the lottery so there’d be a few more numbers bouncing around with my name on them.

May 29, 2009
As you’ve no doubt heard, some person or persons from South Dakota won the $222 million jackpot on Wednesday. That means the Powerball goes back down to $20 million, which seems like just nothing now, doesn’t it? I don’t know as I’d even take it, what with the South Dakotans lording it over us: “Oh, you poor things, you only won $20 million. But don’t feel bad. You still have all those lakes.” Frankly, I don’t need anymore humiliation in this lifetime.

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And Then I Didn’t Win the Lottery in 2008

I don’t want to suggest that we never won anything in the lottery pool at work. Occasionally we’d win jackpots of $3 to $7, which amounted to something like 27¢ apiece, so obviously we chose to shovel anything we won into more Powerball numbers. I don’t know about anyone else, but I never did claim the winnings on my taxes. Let ’em come after me, the bastards.

Feb. 27, 2008
I am on vacation next week, but I will pick up the Powerball numbers while I’m out. I understand some people here are spending their vacation in sunny Palm Springs. I will be catching up on things like plumbing and auto maintenance. However, I am taking my mother to the casino one day, and since she is usually lucky, I think I’ll buy our Powerball ticket while I’m there and have Mom spit on it. What?

May 5, 2008
You may have heard that someone from Minnesota won $180 million on Saturday and thought, “By golly, I’ll bet that’s us!” Let me dispel that notion quickly. Of course it wasn’t us. It was someone in Rice County. I don’t even know where Rice County is.

July 1, 2008
I know I’m sometimes remiss in sending out the Powerball numbers, leaving people in the dark for weeks at a time. While I have no good excuse, I think I have some insight into why these lapses occur. I took a Rorschach test once (yes, the inkblot thing). For the most part I saw the normal stuff (bear climbing mountain, two duckmen with duck bills and duck feet), and then we came to the headless woman. The headless woman was wearing a dress with a high collar with nothing above it except her little hands fluttering in the air, feeling for the place where her head should have been. That’s what I saw and that’s what I said. The person administering the test didn’t say anything – they aren’t supposed to comment – just gave me an odd raised-eyebrow look, which I’m pretty sure isn’t allowed either.

The point is the headless woman was obviously overwhelmed by the magnitude of her responsibilities, lost her head, and couldn’t remember the simplest thing, like sending out important emails in a timely fashion. Enough said.

Sept. 25, 2008
The Powerball is up to $200 million, which means every desperate soul in America will be buying a ticket in hopes of salvaging college for the kids and maybe retiring before age 85. Well, our chance of winning is as good as anyone else’s…blah, blah, blah.

Regarding the bizarre episode in which 8-year-old Maria pinned grapefruit to my bedroom wall [blog readers: see “The Sixties Again”], when I saw her this week I asked for an explanation. Apparently it had something to do with wanting to get her ears pierced, although the details are a little obscure. Nevertheless, it makes sense. In a grotesque sort of way.

How I Didn’t Win the Lottery in 2007 Either

More past emails sent out to the lottery players at work. Rereading them now is a little like picking up an old diary and realizing how boring your life actually was. Did I really find the hairy plants on the smoking deck fascinating? Why, yes. I apparently thought them riveting enough to write about. Gees.

April 25, 2007
Tonight’s Powerball drawing is for $57 million. If we win, I’m booking a flight for New York to see the David Letterman show. Usually I can’t stay up late enough to watch him. I like Dave, and I think he would like me. Maybe I’d get to see Charles Grodin or Johnny Depp. Or Tony Randall – is he dead? He’d be fun to see too, but not if he’s dead.

May 9, 2007
So an ad coordinator upstairs was telling me about a man out East who won one of the biggest jackpots ever and then his life went in the tank. He gave money to a granddaughter who subsequently died of a drug overdose. He had owned a business prior to winning, and over 200 of his customers decided to sue him.

I figure with a 20-way split, none of us will end up with enough to attract lawsuits. And I’m not giving my grandkids any more money than I do right now, which is plenty and I just hope they don’t get addicted to Skittles.

May 11, 2007
I think winning a few million would be a good Mother’s Day gift. Every year my children ask me what I want and every year I tell them the same thing: I want someone to take my car in for an oil change and a car wash. Apparently this is not a popular gift, even though it says “I love you” just as much as a potted geranium, maybe more.

But a mother can’t complain. A mother has to sit there and take what she gets and never interfere or offer any opinions and try not to be a burden in her remaining years. Yes, winning the lottery would be an excellent Mother’s Day gift.

May 23, 2007
If you have a chance, you might want to stop down at the smoking deck and check out the planters, which now include some kind of grass that looks a lot like long blonde hair. Every time I see it I picture a human head buried in the dirt with just the hair left out to blow in the wind. Someone even braided one of them. This has nothing to do with winning the lottery, it’s just disturbing.

May 24, 2007
Someone not us won the $63 million jackpot last night. I blame it on the hair grass, which is surely bad ju-ju, even though it doesn’t look so much like hair now that it’s wet and kind of greenish.

We’ll be taking up a Powerball collection again next week. It wouldn’t hurt to have your dollar ready. I’ve noticed that some of you aren’t very good with your finances. If you can’t get in a buck for Powerball with a week’s notice, one can only wonder what’s happening to your 401k.

August 7, 2007
Maybe it’s time we asked ourselves, “What am I, (your name), doing to win the lottery?” According to the book The Secret, you can manifest anything you want in your life. I’ve been trying to manifest berries on my raspberry bushes all summer with little success, but influencing nature may be too much to ask. Manifesting six winning Powerball numbers seems more in line with the top secret message, which has been hidden from the public for centuries but is now available in bookstores everywhere.

The point is we need to concentrate, people, or we’ll be buying tickets until the youngest of us retires. A very rich man once said, if a problem can be fixed with money, it isn’t really a problem. This philosophy makes a lot of sense to me, and I’d like to be able to adopt it.

How I Didn’t Win the Lottery in 2006

As you may know, this blog was a spinoff from the countless emails I sent out to coworkers over the years containing our lottery pool numbers. (If this isn’t ringing a bell, you can catch up by clicking on “About Me.” Unless you don’t care, then go ahead and be oblivious.)

Recently, after years of fruitless tries and broken dreams, I decided it was time to step down as pool president and major gopher. Fortunately, another deluded player picked up the gauntlet; and while she buys MegaMillions tickets instead of Powerball tickets, it’s all the same to us since our odds of winning are the same, i.e., just this side of nonexistent.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a sample of the lottery emails that gave false hope to so many for so long. I confess that my thoughts frequently rambled off in strange directions. I guess that’s the point.

Feb. 3, 2006
The numbers for tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing are on my desk. If you forgot to pay, you can pick up your own ticket and throw it in the pool. Given the perverse nature of things, that ticket would undoubtedly be the winning ticket, which you would have to share with the rest of us just because you are a procrastinator. Or another option is to save a dollar this time around. The odds of succeeding with this strategy are very good.

Life is murky and complicated.

March 31, 2006
The numbers for tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing are on my desk. I forgot to pick up four extra tickets from our $4 win on Wednesday. So sue me. I have a lot on my mind. I will pick them up before tomorrow night, unless I can’t. I have to get my hair cut and the tree guy is coming over to give me an estimate on trimming my oak trees, of which there are a lot and they’re big and old and haven’t been trimmed in a very long time if ever. I’ll get the numbers eventually and when I do I’ll let you know. Don’t be calling my house and whining into the answering machine.

April 3, 2006
We did not win on Saturday. Nobody won, so Wednesday’s drawing will be for $174 million. That’s okay, as my need for cash has grown some since the tree guy’s visit.

The tree guy wants $500 a tree to trim my oaks. I’m no arborist, but this seems excessive to me. Of course, his estimate was based on the extreme beauty of my trees compared to the average oak – and what it would cost to replace one if I lost it, as if I would. There’s a whole bunch of them. Maybe if I were going to enter them in the Best Minnesota Oak contest or charge admission to look at them, but mostly I expect they’ll just sit there for another hundred years dropping a bajillion leaves every fall.

I figure the tree guy took one look at me and thought, “This looks like someone who’s about to win the lottery,” or maybe “This looks like someone who doesn’t know her oak from her ash.” Which is true for the most part; however, I’m very familiar with the term $500.

Nov. 7, 2006
Yes, I know I didn’t send out the numbers for last Saturday’s drawing. I’ve been busy. Anyway, our losing streak remains intact, big surprise.

Did you vote? You should vote. Unless you’re going to vote for the wrong people. Then you should just stay home.

Nov. 22, 2006
Time to ante up for Powerball. Some of you have turned in nothing but empty promises, which means I’ll have to carry you indefinitely. A buck will buy about eight cigarettes nowadays, you know. I’d hate to give up smoking. It gives my children fits and my doctor something to complain about other than the fact that I still haven’t made out a living will. Pull the plug, don’t pull the plug – how should I know? But I digress. Quit procrastinating – I haven’t the heart to toss you out of the pool, but some of these other folks don’t really care.

Dec. 6, 2006
You probably heard that an Eden Prairie man with the nickname “Lucky” walked around for a month before he noticed that he had a $47 million Powerball ticket in his wallet. Some of you are probably thinking, maybe Judy is walking around with a winning ticket and doesn’t know it. Not true. I checked. Some of you may even be wishing Lucky was the person buying your tickets every week. Well, Lucky doesn’t work here. Lucky probably doesn’t work anywhere anymore.

Let us try to be optimistic, shall we?