Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm itchin' for a scratchin'

Tonight’s Mega-millions lottery is $355 Million and is the 2nd highest to the 2007 that was $390,000,000 won by folks in Georgia and New Jersey.

Even though the odds are 1:176 million it doesn’t hurt to spend a couple of dollars because we pretty much blow $2.00 on stupid shit every single day. Instead of being frugal with our money, most of us inadvertently throw away cash on the most ridiculous items that are completely useless and then roll our eyes at other people that gamble.

I for one am going to gamble (a little bit more than usual) this week. My monthly allowance is $24.00 towards the gaming industry. Now many would argue that this is foolish, ignorant and just plain wasteful. If I wanted to throw away money the least I could do is give it to a good cause.

My good cause is ME, and I consider that my entertainment is a basic right.
If you attend the movies or sporting events or anything that you have to pay an entrance fee to participate in order to enjoy yourself please consider that a waste, just foolishness.  Accept that it is equal to my decision to toss away a few dollars towards the greedy state(s) I reside in.

Today’s return trip to Louisiana after our holiday back ‘home’ in Texas was perfect for stopping along the way to pick up ticket’s because Louisiana is not included in the states that play Mega-Million’s. That's funny really because the game is played in 42 of the damn states just not in the one we’ve moved to. Louisiana, which has casinos and other lottery games can’t seem to get it together to play one of the largest games on the National level. BAH!
Regardless of this little issue, no worry, a quick trip back to Austin won’t hurt our feelings when we win.

Believe it or don’t I even get lucky now and then. I’m breaking even. Do I get ahead? Nah, not always but every once in a great while I can rub an extra nickel or two together and have a REAL evening out on the winnings of those 5 numbers printed from a scrap of paper.

Once not so long ago I was able to pull the hooptie that had been parked for months on end, haul her ass in to get repaired (perhaps you’ll remember that little story) and have her fixed up good as new.
That wasn’t going to happen without a little extra cash-flow. It definitely wasn’t going to happen on the $288 I spend in 1 year’s time on lottery tickets. 

My little gambling addiction started back on the day that I turned 18, my dear Mother was gracious enough to pack an extra red dauber, a few hundred extra chips and magnetic wand and gifted me $15 to buy and play with. 

WOW what could I say? “SURE, let’s go!”

We packed into her pickup truck and headed to the geezer-hall so that I could sit into a room filled with quinquagenarian’s and sexagenarian’s (that would be 50 and 60 years old) plus a few dragons between 70-90 who are all puffing away on their Winston’s and Marlboro’s.

This was going to be our bonding time, side by side listening to a duo that would take turns calling out the numbers in the best carnival barker voice possible. Numbers like “B- 7” and then the room would be filled with a clamoring of old ladies as they rushed over their paper and cardboard playing cards to cover up the aforementioned number.
Some would be bitching and moaning if the caller moved on to the next ball to come up too fast.

”SLOW DOWN!!!” they’d scream in their scratchy-shrill smoke filled voices, some popping up from their seats and sloshing soft drinks/coffee.

Every minute was awful. The smell, smoke, and noise level all added up and soon I was ready to pull my hair out but I knew there was no way out of the situation so I sat and played.

My Mother was in her element and though she never really smiled from enjoyment she did enjoy this because it was her addiction. She had so many friends that walked by and said hello to her. She would buy every little rip off game that someone was selling as they came by and she was truly lucky, she’d win frequently and much to the dislike of all of the other little old ladies that were around her.
It was never enough though, because she spent more than she won. Each time she would win she would have to buy another game and if she lost, oh the disappointment was nearly crushing. When she won though, she was on top of the world.

Towards the end of the session she started to make some noise about wanting to stay for the next set and I said,” No” I really wanted to go home – it WAS my birthday and I’d like to visit with some other friends. Could she at least drive me back to the house?

This frazzled her but she consented and while we were talking the game continued to be called, remarkably enough she was paying attention to not only her own 120 cards & our conversation (OH YES! I’m not shitting you on this, she was able to keep up with hundred plus cards) but to my meager 25-30 and the next thing I know she’s yelling BINGO! BINGO!

She hops over and literally pushes me off my chair and gets into my place with her arm in the air as if she’s calling to answer a question in class, giving a slight wave from side to side and an attendant comes to our table to attest to the numbers on the board.
She (the attendant) loudly calls back the numbers, pushing back my chips one by one – each one is approved and the next thing I know I have won $800 and I am the only BINGO of the game so there is no splitting the winnings…except my Mother has this eager greedy look to her eyes.
The look of one that hasn’t eaten in a very long time and I can tell she is hoping for a finders fee of sorts.

What was I to do? I’m 18, excited to have just won an incredibly huge amount of cash which would have been a little over 3 weeks of work for me at the restaurant I busted my ass at each day after classes. Thinking it over for a split second I say, “WOW that was great, maybe you’ll win the next one.” (she did by the way, just a few dollars but she won nonetheless)

Dismissing her hungry expectations before she could even voice her hopes of a payout, she figured that she saw that winning number and she should get some if not all of it (she paid for our evening out) but I considered that the evening out was my birthday gift.

Perhaps now some of you folks understand maybe just a tiny bit why I no longer celebrate birthdays, this is just one of the many crappy experiences I’ve had in the past that lead up to me eliminating them from my life.
But Rebekah, how could winning $800 be crappy? 

Figure it out and if you can’t well then you are assholes. 

By the way I saved that cash for three and a half months and then moved out of the house the day after I graduated high school (without telling her my plans).

Let’s face it; even after all of these years there is still the elation of winning that dough. Everyone wants to capture the dream, try to get ahead without having to do any really hard work, to finally just enjoy life’s little pleasure’s and not have to worry about getting up in the morning and hitting the grindstone again.

I don’t have a grindstone but I wouldn’t mind alleviating the responsibilities of those that I love.While I’m doing that I want to experience the fun, feel that little flutter of excitement in my tummy and wanting to see if I’m the winner!

You can go and sit on your ass for 2 hours in the movie theater, give me $15 worth of scratch off tickets that take all of 2 minutes to remove the shavings from to reveal the prizes. I will stretch out the moment, holding in my breath and changing the pattern of my attack.

There will be gasps of surprise and boo’s of displeasure as each number is exposed and a little dance of happiness will ensue if any sort of award is to be collected, even if it is simply a return on the same amount spent. Do I collapse in a fit of tears when there is no return? Nope.

The interaction I have playing these games really gives me a thrill albeit it’s a bit ridiculous but I try to make it as enjoyable as possible and not a rote activity – passive and without pleasure.

The superstition is as follows: "If the palm of your right hand is itchy, then it foretells that money is coming to you, but don't scratch it as that stops the money from coming! If it's your left palm that is itchy then scratch away, as that means that you'll soon be paying money.”

Guess which paw is itching this week?

Monday, January 3, 2011


I've just completed book 1 of the classics that I promised to start reading : Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This was to be my New Years promise to myself (how long it lasts it remains to be seen)

It surprised me, there was great difficulty to become interested in the storyline. It was full of intrigue and naughtiness, something which is right down my alley and yet I was quickly snoring each time I lifted the novel. Perhaps the fact that I oftentimes read two or three books at the same time had something to do with it, I'm just not sure. The husband kept asking me if I would get my stories confused, but this has never been a problem for me. I can pick up a book anywhere in the house and begin reading, place it down and start another one. I don't keep book-markers in them generally, just dog ear a page or try to remember the last paragraph and chapter I'd stopped reading.

I have a voracious appetite for novels, but most recently detective novels written by David Baldacci.
His easy prose lifts off the pages and I gobble them up, each story is so much fun to follow and he has a definite flair for description that it is quite easy to find yourself imagining the locations and characters.

Yesterday I took a trip back to the small library and headed straight back to the F's to snatch up something from Fitzgerald. I figure that F.Scott would be an interesting read for the next couple of weeks while I continue my devotion to David (this current novel is 548 pages). (I will be reading The Beautiful and Damned) 

Right before I attempt to close my eyes and grab my few winks, I pull up my blanket & tuck a pillow snugly under my head while rolling over to make sure that I have adequate light to view the pages and then start my journey. Without this little ritual I don't think I could get any rest, it's the best way for me to unwind and get out of my own head for a few minutes. With a few chapters I can sleep like a rock, but never for more than a couple of hours and more often than not I wake up only to grab up the book again and dig in for more of the story.

Besides my dedication to reading as many classic novels as possible for 2011 I am going to attempt to put out 52 blogs for this year but I cannot promise you, my readers, that they will happen precisely week to week. If you happened to see my rather manic behavior over the last 2 years, you'll notice that December was a dry spell for me yet November was a flurry of activity.

Poke me privately via email for special requests and interesting suggestions, I might possibly say no or I could go into a spiel. There are no holds barred when I'm ready to start plugging away at the keys.

The typical New Years resolutions that you hear spilling out of other mouths are not going to happen here because it's all been heard before and then nothing becomes of it. Lazy, plain and simple.
It's far easier to just go with the flow rather than challenge ourselves to do more.
We need something to snap us out of that, snip snip snip - get our attention and remind us that we should take charge and never stop learning.

Therefore I am just going to undertake something that I enjoy doing but adjust the criteria and hopefully broaden my views, experiences and learning.