Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Lottery

I lived in Pontiac, Michigan for a year, sixth grade, surrounded by relatives and neighbors who worked at the automobile plants. It was the year I realized that many babies are born out of wedlock, that snow does not guarantee a day off from school, and that people play the lottery; except they didn’t call it the lottery—it was the numbers.

“His number came up!” I’ve heard envious players of the game say, wishing that luck would come his or her way, too.

Who plays the lottery? Is it mostly people who hate their jobs? I’ve had a job that I hated; waking up each morning with the thought that I have to be somewhere I don’t want to be for eight or more hours, rushing my life away in a constant state of “waiting for 5 o’clock on Friday” and then revving back up on Sunday for the dreaded Monday morning. That was eons ago, but the thought of it makes me sad because lots of people know exactly how I felt—they feel that way now.  Fortunately for me, I was skilled in a high demand field at the time and was able to move on when I decided it wasn’t worth it. Most people can’t do that. Trapped—it’s a horrible feeling.
How many of them purchase a weekly lottery ticket… or two… or three? How many stand in a long line for the Mega Millions ticket wishing, praying, believing, dreaming, and waiting to possess that little rectangle of paper that, hopefully, is going to transform their lives to pure bliss; to mornings of waking up with smiles on their faces… or will they?

On the other hand, I hear of people who enjoy their jobs, however, they just…don’t…make…enough…money. I suspect they make up a good percentage of the lottery line, too.
And then there are the people who play just for fun; probably not expecting to win, but enjoy the hype that spreads like a virus and hope to be the “one in a few millions” chance winner.

I see that the Arizona Powerball winner has come forth, though as of today, he remains anonymous to the public and media.  While Google searching his story, I clicked on and found an article and comments discussing him (dated 12/7/12). Curious, I scanned a few of the comments and people are talking about the risk of kidnapping, making racist comments, politics, privacy, wealthy people like Warren Buffet—you name it; even escalating to the Mexican Cartel—all due to this average man winning the big one. Perhaps they are a little jealous?
During the stressed out period of the hated job and a few other not-so-happy times, I bought a lottery ticket. (By the way, my lifetime lottery expenditure is about $20.) Never one to enjoy gambling, I didn’t think I’d win, but desperation will make you say, “Why not?” I believed if it was meant to be, I’d hit with my one ticket.

That was years ago, back in the eighties and early nineties. Since then, I haven’t been in the lottery line; missing the talk of what will be done with the winnings and seeing the adrenalin-filled looks on the faces of people as they pass their money to the cashier.
Will I purchase a ticket again?

Once in a blue moon, like now, I think about what I think I’d do with a lot of money. Would it change my life for the better? Would I be wise and generous? Would I be a “lottery curse” victim?

A few months ago, I wrote a post titled, “How Much Is Enough?”  where I declared my humble position of maintaining so-called security: heading towards a debt-free life, satisfying reasonable needs and wants, and being able to save and give.
BUT… let’s say I do participate in the next big jackpot and, uh, win a little sumptin sumptin? What would the ol’ girl do? Hmmm…

What are your feelings about the Lottery? Do you play? What would you do with the loot?

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I just happened to stumble upon a blog with an interesting current post, so I read it. The blog author presented a particular topic, however, I thought it left the door open for a reader to bring up another topic—homosexuality. The first few people who commented danced around it, or maybe “lesbian” never entered their minds at all. Well, it entered mine. I thought, “Do I comment on the intended subject or bravely mention the controversial subject or not comment at all?”

I commented—second option.
Mine was not the first comment. That person had the opportunity to begin and steer the conversation in a certain direction and interestingly, she and the second commenter sensed that the post would evoke emotional views which would provide them with some entertaining combat.

“Can’t wait for the comments on this one,” she wrote.
The second commenter followed with (her exact words, spelling, and punctuation),“I know right! The minute I saw the post I had to run an get some snacks…::munch munch munch::. Waiting for the shinanigans…”

(First time I’ve seen the periods and colons combined. Another emoticon?)

Somewhere down the line, someone used the word “tomboy.” She was being a little careful, I suspect.

But I was in a mood for more depth, so I left my comment which was purely “academic.”  Still, someone questioned my thoughts, implying that my comment was misguided.  Her words were respectful, though, prompting me to answer; and then I received a sort of, “Now I understand what you were saying,” back from her. I responded once more telling her that I enjoyed our interesting exchange and that we might meet again on this blog.

Then… someone else commented on our thread with something funny, but ugly… towards moi! I could not resist a final comment: “Grow up,” with an added smiley face, of course.

That was my time to exit. I did not and will not go back to the post because Anonymous may have retorted and I see no reason to allow myself to get upset by Anonymous.

Prior to this blogging episode, I’d been thinking about the three commenting formats that Blogger offers, wondering if I should switch to the Embedded format, the one that has “reply” written under each posted comment allowing threaded comments—readers replying to other readers’ comments. Most of the time, instead, I’ve seen this used mainly by the blog author to respond to individual comments/people; probably because my blogging circle are people like me who are not getting a thousand hits per day (or are you?!) with the accompanied five hundred comments per post from anonymous commenters or people with names like catwoman, free to say the first thing that comes to their minds. In my circle, we are passionate, too, but we leave out the “I’d like to beat up on you factor,” (most of the time) like my “Grow up,” comment; albeit, that was quite mild. It’s so easy to get sucked into that when you are a stranger to a blog.

In fairness to popular blogs, many are peaceful places to go; like The Pioneer Woman, I would imagine. But if you’re reading news blogs or blogs of those who have an “agenda,” your emotions might spike a bit more than it would over a recipe and you may be compelled to go through the tortuous method (becoming a member of the sight) to leave a comment. Personally, I like a good debate on a hot topic once in a while.

Back to my blog’s comment setting: I’ll leave it as is for now, which is the Full page option, because I respond to your comments via your email address instead of on the post (when your profile is set up to attach your email address to your comment). Someday, when a post of mine goes viral and the, uhhh, hundreds of you want to duke it out, I’ll change my setting to Embedded, which is set up for back and forth dialogue.

Oh—to those of you who would like to comment on any of my posts by email, feel free. I’m at Write what you like, sign your name (be it Joe, Jane, catwoman, or anonymous), and I’ll cut and paste it onto the blog for you—without your email address. Be bold! J

When you read a post and want to write a comment but you don’t, why?  Are there certain topics that you won’t “touch” …regardless?