We hear all the time of people who win the various lotteries in the state and around the nation. Sometimes, it turns out for the best, and the winner retires at age 35 to a life of ease and servants and mansions and resorts and caviar and no more bologna sandwiches with American cheese on white bread. Inevitably, these winners reveal that they chose the winning numbers based on a combination of their mother's birthday, the number of times they donated vital organs to complete strangers, their ID number from the years they devoted to working for a charity agency among the hopeless, the amount of times their spouse walked out on them with a traveling carnival worker, taking the kids and all the money (but leaving the bills behind), and the "lucky" number that has worked so well for them for all these years.
The TV news report always ends with, "Just whether Ronnie will play the lottery again, now that he is 457 million dollars richer, remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: He'll be buying his tickets in a much nicer neighborhood! Reporting from Mar-A-Lago, I'm Tessie O'Hoolahan, for Toledo Tonight."
The other story, covered much less on TV news, is that the poor winner goes through his moolah like a hot knife through cold butter and is flat broke again within six months, only now he has his mother-in-law and other undesirables living in his hut, and the neighbors are complaining about the traffic from trucks coming up and down the street to repossess furniture (that lovely 18-foot BarCaLounger in Spanish Mint and the breakfront with a broken front) and electronics (a Home Edition Jumbotron and a deluxe Pong® game). Despondent, the poor soul wishes he had never plunked down a buck to buy the cursed ticket in the first place.
And that may be why Marylanders are leaving their winnings right where they will do something good for someone by NOT claiming lotto money. At 4:30 PM last Friday, a million bucks that someone was supposed to win went back into state coffers. Unclaimed bucks are deposited into the lottery’s Unclaimed Prize Fund, which helps to pay for the Lottery’s second-chance contests and promotions.
How about that? The lottery gives second chances. Does your boss?
The ticket in question was purchased at a Royal Farms in Dundalk, but may now be used as a bookmark for someone reading a book called "Broken Dreams, Shattered Hopes." And this Wednesday at 4:30, a ticket sold at a 7-11 in Bladensburg for the January 13 contest will similarly decrease in value, from being worth a million to being worth the same as Ubaldo Jimenez's chances at winning the Cy Young Award.
There's a thin line between love and hate. I'd love to win a lot of money and I hate to think I never will.