The Gambler


Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Someone won the lottery again, and again it wasn’t me. To win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. And since I didn’t have a ticket, that’s probably a big part of why I didn’t win — that and the odds of losing vs. the odds of winning.

Some people play the lottery every week. “Somebody is going to win,” they say, “It might as well be me.” Yes, that way of thinking must be what keeps them coming back week after week after week in spite of losing.

I’ve never understood the allure of gambling. Obviously, I’m just not a risk taker. It just seems silly to continue making contributions to a vice on the outside chance that you might win. . . possibly. . . one day. . . maybe. . .

People who go to Vegas, Tunica, and Atlantic City love to gamble. “It’s just a sort of entertainment,” they say. “It’s fun to try to win!” They recommend setting aside the amount you can afford to lose and when you lose it all, it’s time to quit. You just chalk it up to entertainment expense and move on.

Then a guy who won the lottery is on TV. He tells about how he plays every week, but can’t believe that he actually won. He says he is going to pay off his debt, quit his job, buy a new house, and travel the world.

“Gee, I’d sure like to be able to do that!”

I don’t even know anyone that ever won any big money. I can’t even name drop or say I knew someone before the big windfall that changed his or her life forever. I can’t even hope their luck will rub off on me just by knowing them.

Some people have lucky numbers that they play every week. Of course, if the numbers are so lucky, why don’t they win? I suppose that choosing your own numbers is a way of having control over something you actually have no control over at all.

My friend says that a quick pick is just as good as choosing your own numbers. I don’t think so. But it really doesn’t matter who is right. We both lose. That’s the problem with gambling, the probability that you are going to lose.

I don’t even want to get into the moral dilemma of whether gambling is right or wrong as everyone has his or her own opinion about it. Those who are morally opposed usually say it isn’t so much the gambling itself, but the fact that it can take away necessities, become an addiction, and cause you to spend money that you don’t have. These are arguments that are pretty hard to disagree with.

Of course, those who like to gamble can always justify the lottery expenditure. Here in Tennessee they say it’s a contribution to education since all the lottery money in this state is spent to fund education. Soon we will have the best-educated children in the country at the rate we are going.

So, the lottery is 15 million this week. My friend says that means someone won. Some lucky person is a multi-millionaire and here I am without a dog in the race, dragging myself through the same old routine again.

Guess that’s the lure of it all: the hope, the chance, and the belief that someone has to be the next one to hit it lucky. Maybe I should “contribute to education” this week. Maybe I’ll buy a couple of lottery tickets. Who knows? This might be my week.

Let me see, what is my lucky number anyhow? If you don’t see this column next week, you’ll know what happened. I’m in Hawaii enjoying the good life. There’s only one thing standing in the way of me winning – the laws of probability.

On second thought, maybe I’ll wait until the jackpot gets bigger. If I’m going to throw my money away, I might as well wait for a super jackpot when my chances of losing are worth more.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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5 Responses to The Gambler

  1. energywriter says:

    I’m with you. I see people buying $40-50 worth of tickets each week. I multiply 50X52 and think about ways I could spend the $2600 & interest. Of course, I never have the $40-50 each week to put in the bank. Drat!!
    When I was much younger my cousin’s friend won big. She put the money in a safe account, divorced her husband and moved to FL, still living frugally, the winnings a secret. I heard that a few years later she met a man who had done the same and they lived happily ever after – or at least until the last I’d heard of them.


  2. Ann says:

    3 days ago, for the first time ever, I bought a $20.00 scratch off lottery ticket.
    It remains unscratched. Until I scratch off the ticket I am a potential big winner and I smile every time I look at my ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MrJohnson says:

    I play once in a while, just a couple dollars. I think people like the lottery because everyone has an equal chance since there is no skill involved.

    Those stories of people with worse lives after winning are always interesting.


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