There’s a Stop&Rob convenience store about a mile from where I live. I slide in there once or twice a week during my daily walk/bike ride, mainly because they sell these amazingly good freshly-baked chocolate turtle cookies. Or maybe they’re chocolate tortoise cookies. I can never remember, though I know the difference when it comes to the non-baked goods turtles and tortoises. Regardless, they’re spectacularly good and are a nice reward for having taken a walk or a bike ride (by the way, the cookies are NOT made from actual turtles or tortoises, and as far as I can tell have absolutely nothing to do with the Chellonii (which, I’m told, is the proper term, even though I normally just call them Chellonians)).
This afternoon, as I was heading home from my walk, I stopped in for my cookiie. The woman in front of me at the register was all a-fluster. She’d tried to buy some lottery tickets, but had either asked for the wrong species of lottery or the clerk had made an error and printed out the wrong lottery tickets. Either way, she was rejecting the tickets and demanding the clerk give her the tickets she actually meant to purchase.
I occasionally buy a lottery ticket along with my cookie. It’s stupid, I know, but it’s not even close to the stupidest thing I do routinely in my daily life. Maybe every couple of months, based on nothing in particular, I’ll buy a ticket. It usually ends up in a shirt or pants pocket, where I only remember it when I’m about to do my laundry. Or, just as often, after I’ve done my laundry.
Lottery tickets, if you weren’t aware, aren’t designed to go through a laundry cycle. It turns them into a strangely compact and totally illegible wad of paper. Now, by my math (and my math, admittedly, is singularly pathetic math, but I’m pretty confident in this), a lottery ticket that’s utterly illegible only slightly reduces your odds of winning — so it’s no great loss if the ticket is laundered. Consider this a public service announcement.
At any rate, the woman had rejected her tickets and the clerk (a young woman with a tattoo on her forearm that appeared to depict a seahorse being ridden by Batman, though I never really got a very good look at it and it seems really unlikely that she’d have a tattoo of Batman riding a seahorse, so I’m probably wrong about this) was clearly baffled as to what she should do. So I offered to buy them.
The idea of buying rejected lottery tickets has a bizarre but powerful appeal. Well, it does to me. I have no idea what bizarre but powerful thing appeals to you (and knowing some of you, it really doesn’t bear thinking about). A rejected lottery ticket has no statistically better chance of winning, but it has a sort of poetic aura of despair and futility that is well worth four American dollars. It’s entirely possible that from now on I will only buy rejected lottery tickets.
So I’m back now from my walk, I’m in the process of eating the cookie, and I’ve set the lottery ticket aside to prevent it from being laundered. I’m feeling stupidly pleased with myself.
UPDATE: Four separate entries consisting of seventeen unique numbers, and not one single number of those seventeen matched any of the winning numbers. In effect, my ticket said “You lose four bucks.”
Still worth it, though.