Photo by J. Sibiga Photography on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
According to my son Guido easy money always comes at a price. He likes to reminisce about how back in the day when he was young and perhaps a little foolish he was always in search of fast cash with little effort. His favorite “get rich quick” scheme was the Ohio lottery.
Always the optimist, he ignored the odds of one in 14 million, to spend a portion of his weekly paycheck on lottery tickets. But my kids have always been lucky at games of chance and so he blissfully ignored the odds. Why not him, he thought. Why not, indeed. As once a long time ago, he came very close to winning it all – so close that to this day his heart still pounds in his chest just thinking about it.
That week he bought his ten tickets at a convenience store nearby his grandmother’s apartment. As was his usual habit on Friday night, he headed over there for dinner, a chat with Nonna, and to check his previous week’s tickets which he kept under a statue of St. Jude. St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless cases.
He took the first ticket and laid it on the kitchen table and compared it to the winning numbers in the newspaper. The first number was a match. But one number means nothing. The second number was also a match. Close but no cigar. His finger running across the page, he sees that he has three numbers that match. Lucky him, he thought, that’s good for a free ticket. He’d been there before.
He continued and found his fourth number was also a match. Now there was some money to be had he figured. That could be worth about fifty dollars. Still, six matching numbers was impossible he thought until he found a fifth match. Even if he didn’t get all six numbers, five winning numbers would be a substantial amount of money.
He was afraid to continue. At that point he got up from the kitchen table and walked out on to the balcony. He looked at the sun setting over Lake Erie and he prayed. “God, he said, “If I win this money, I promise you I will do my best. And if I don’t win, it doesn’t matter.”
He went back into the apartment and resumed his task of checking for the final lottery number. Unfortunately he didn’t have all six winning numbers. Still he thought with excitement a five out of six streak would pay handsomely – or so he thought.
That night he went to sleep with visions of dollars signs dancing through his head. Sure he’d have to keep his day job, but in the meantime he could do some shopping. And so he bought me a new refrigerator, four new tires for his car, and took his girlfriend out to a fancy restaurant for dinner. All totaled he must of spent $1200.00 of his new found winnings.
In his excitement he never bothered to check the actual payout. And so he didn’t count on sharing the pot with several hundred other lucky winners. He won just $400.00. There was a big deficit that he’d have to make up. His luck had run out.
And so, he was back to making money the old fashioned way. He had to earn it.