Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Powerball prize just a myth? At least it seems like a great big one to me!

As I write this, I’m preparing to pick up my parents from the airport (Midway) as they return from a weekend trip to the casinos of Las Vegas, Nev.

My loser ticket. I don't feel need for another
At that time, I’ll be able to tell them they lost again – at Powerball. Although I’m sure they already realize they’re not big winners, they didn’t win that drawing last week.

THE ONE THAT could have paid out about $800 million!

Which results in the prize rolling over, and some estimates saying it could be a $1.4 billion prize to a single winner when the next drawing is held.

Now my interest in this is literally that I’m holding a Powerball ticket from the Saturday drawing that nobody won. In my case, I bought five chances (a $10 bet) and only came up with one matching number.

I bought the ticket for my father, who literally called me from Las Vegas on Saturday to ask me to make the purchase.

MAYBE HE THOUGHT he’d have something big to come home to if his losing streak in Nevada continued throughout the weekend. It seems I placed a crummy bet.

Which is why I have to admit all the enthusiasm and ecstasy that some people feel about gambling is totally lost on me. I don’t get why people are so eager to dump a few bucks of their hard-earned money on tickets.

As I see it, the $800 million promise of last weekend was a myth. Whereas the $10 bill I had in my wallet was real, and all I have to show for it now is a slip of paper laced with some sort of chemical that if I tried to eat my losses, I’d get a rancid taste in my mouth.

Then again, it’s not just lottery tickets that lose me. The whole casino experience leaves me dry – even though the last time I set foot in one, I actually walked out with about $50 more than I walked in there with.

MY THANKS TO the people of the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., for that little financial boost. Although I also have embedded in my mind the sight of a woman who tried three different credit cards in a cash machine and wound up having all of them rejected – because she had bet so much and lost.

Thank goodness for the activist-types who often get derided for ruining people’s fun for saving that woman from losing even more cash that day.

In my own case, part of my lack of enthusiasm for gambling is that I’m cheap. You have to be willing to bet big, and often, in order to boost your chances of winning a significant prize – and I’m just not willing to do that.

Realize that I’m fully aware of the fact that my step-mother (if she ever reads this) will regard such thoughts as heresy. For all I know, I may get disowned from the family. Or at least uninvited to the next family get-together.

AFTER ALL, THE reason she and my father were in Las Vegas this past weekend was a birthday celebration. I won’t find out until Tuesday whether she really had a Happy Birthday!, but I suspect somehow she did.

She really does find a joy in the casino experience that is just lost on me. Or on the gambling experience in general. Somehow, seeing “dream books” piled up by the Illinois Lottery ticket machine at the convenience store in suburban Hazel Crest where I bought last week’s Powerball ticket just seemed sad.

Which is why I won’t be among those getting all giddy at the thought of a Wednesday prize that could make me a billionaire!?! Because all I’d get was another loser because I didn’t buy a dream book to tell me what number I should play because I dreamed of my brother, Chris, and I sitting in the stands at a ballgame.

Maybe if I had, my father would have some winnings to come home to.


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