First of all, you need to know that we don’t gamble and we don’t play the lottery. I was so naive about how one plays the lottery that I had to quiz my coworker about it this week. “There’s a sheet of paper with circles that you fill in? Can you use a pen or a pencil? And how many bubbles do you select? And does it cause flashbacks to the Scantron exam answer sheets we filled out in grade school?”
My project team decided to go in together and try to win this week’s $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot, so we each dropped $2 in the pot, drew up a humorous contract to prevent any single member of the team from running off with the money (it includes clauses such as, “team members shall not murder, attempt murder, or maim one another…”), and made our purchase. Separately, I had the wild idea to buy a few tickets on my own then surprise my husband when and if I won something. Plans changed though, so I ended up going straight home after work.
Sometime after dinner I mentioned my surprise plan to my husband then asked him to drive us to a gas station since I was still determined to pay the “stupid tax” and buy a few tickets. He patiently waited while I bubbled in numbers on a couple of lottery forms then he drove us home after I was done foolishly spending $21. Here’s the conversation that took place on our way home.
Her: I feel silly. $21 on lottery tickets; I’ve paid the stupid tax. Oh, make that $23 with the one I purchased at work. I should have donated that money to someone in need.
Him: But if we win that’s not much money spent. Oh, and I bought some tickets too.
Her: What? How much did you spend? Oh man, we wasted more than $23!
Him: I was going to surprise you.
Her: That’s funny that we were both going to do that, because I was going to surprise you too. “Surprise! I won the lottery and you don’t have to work anymore! I love you!” Wait, you haven’t answered. How much did you spend?
Him: I bought 25 tickets.
Her: FIFTY DOLLARS WORTH?
Him: 25 tickets. I was going to surprise you when we won.
Her: Okay, no matter how you slice it, Mister, that’s $50 down the drain. Wow. I thought we were wild for spending $23 on tickets, and now I find out we’ve thrown away $73! Oh man.
Him: Don’t worry; I’ll share my winnings with you.
Her: I just need time to process this.
Him: You’re just upset because these aren’t tangible purchases. But think about it, we spend money on dinners when we eat out, and there’s no tangible output there besides poop.
Her: (laughing) You stinker.
Him: Depends on the outcome of tonight’s meal, I suppose.