Tag Archives: lottery

Winning Isn’t The Point


I don’t know about you, but I didn’t win the lottery last night. Alas, it would have been handy. Also, just this once, the subject doesn’t manage to circle around to cats, like so much else does in this house. There had to be something that didn’t.

I think my favorite part about really big lottery pots are the increase of news articles about math and finances. No one seriously has the lottery as their retirement plan, or at least they don’t call it that. When someone implies winning the lottery is their answer to declining social security funding, it’s their way of saying they don’t have a plan. It’s sort of like a cynical American idiom.

I know I have a few blog readers who aren’t in North America, for you happy souls not troubled with constant worry over Presidential Primaries and outright horror at who our next president might be, let me quickly explain our lottery. I’m not sure what countries have and don’t have them, so bear with me.

Only 6 out of 50 states don’t participate in the lottery. In the 44 that do, and territories, you can buy a ticket, pick six numbers, and pray they match what the machine spits out on Wednesday or Saturday night. If you get all six, you win.

When it comes to winning the lottery, being willful doesn’t matter. This is the part where I get irritated that we’re in such a hurry to teach trigonometry to high school students that we don’t ensure they understand statistics. A bigger pot means more people will buy tickets, but that doesn’t mean you’re competing with your neighbor. They have exactly the same chance of winning that you do and the odds of your one ticket winning doesn’t change no matter how many tickets your neighbor buys. It’s not a raffle, it’s a lottery. You have to choose the numbers, not have your ticket drawn out of a giant fishbowl containing millions of other tickets. I’m really tired of hearing people talk like they don’t understand that.

CNN ran an article a week ago and listed some of the things that are more likely to happen than winning the lottery:


I really like that last one: you have a better chance of being struck by lightning while drowning. Wow.

And after all of this, even intelligent people will buy the occasional ticket, especially if they don’t have to go out of their way to do it. Why? Hope. And it’s fun to think about if I won the lottery I’d … But you can’t dream if you don’t play.

The Boy is unimaginative. He’s almost 16 and doesn’t have a learner’s permit yet because of his grades. We require him to have an overall and semester B average, and he had a bad year last year. But if we won the lottery, I’d pay the extra to add him to the car insurance. Also, he wants a car. See? Boring.

The Girl is thinking tactically. Lottery winners are targets, so she wants to move to a house that has a perimeter fence, and another ten feet in – like for guard dogs. Except instead of dogs, she wants guard goats. Yes, goats. A combination of fainting and screaming goats, plus billy goats to ram intruders. I’m unclear how exactly that’s better than dogs, but she has it all planned out. Something about goats are friendlier to the environment and cuter. I’m very pleased she’s not going into a security-related field.



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