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In My Opinion


No need to peek at the numbers. I’m already the big winner.

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Q. You say you’re a lottery winner but, in looking at your numbers, clearly they’re not the right ones.

Yes, that is correct. I said I was a lottery winner; I didn’t say that I won.

Q. Clearly, you have a “System.” Do explain.

When I play the lottery, I buy five tickets at a time. I’ve only played the lottery twice this year.

Q. Soooooooo?

So my losses for the year are $10. But at the same time, I’ve saved five bucks a week for every week I didn’t play, for a total of $235.

Q. Big deal. That’s not a jackpot.

You know anybody who plays the lottery each week who is up $235 on the year? Anybody?

Q. Surely there’s somebody.

There’s somebody in Wisconsin. It’s always someone in Wisconsin who wins these things, sometimes entire taverns-full of Wisconsinities who win. But nobody you know, nobody I know, nobody anybody knows. Lotteries are generally won by people from Wisconsin who go on TV for a minute to smile and hold a big cardboard check, then they turn invisible. I don’t think lottery winners actually exist. They’re like Internet hoaxes. It’s not like anybody’s going to say, “I think I’ll go up to Wisconsin and check them out.”

Q. If you’re sure you’re not going to win, why did you play?

Because the jackpot was so big. There was a mob in line waiting to play. I had to buy a ticket in case the woman behind me was from, say, Wisconsin. So I bought a ticket to get her numbers, just in case. Same reason I keep a spare in the trunk.

Q. So you don’t ever expect to feel the thrill of winning?

See, that’s where you’re wrong. I bought the ticket Monday. From that moment, I’ve been giddily spending the money in my head. I’ve figured out all the charities I’m going to thumb out millions to and what I’m going to spend on myself. I’m definitely getting that dent in the rear fender fixed. Until the numbers are actually drawn, I’m a millionaire times 400.

Q. Secretly, though, you’d like to win.

Of course not. You could never spend that kind of money unless you married one of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” or bought a used fishing boat. At my age, I can’t take on any new vices. I can barely manage the ones I already have. I’m up $235. It’s no secret: I’m the biggest winner anybody knows.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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