New tickets to paradise from PA Lottery

lottery

Nothing says lower-class desperation as clearly as state-sponsored lotteries:

A new Pennsylvania Lottery game debuts Tuesday, while other longtime drawings are getting new names. The new game is called PICK 2, a twice-daily drawing that allows players to bet on any two-digit number. Other daily lottery drawings, in which players choose three to five digits, are being rebranded under the “PICK” name. The 38-year-old Daily Number, the lottery’s first daily draw game, will now be known as PICK 3…

And no one appreciates this desperation more than the hustlers who organize the lotteries and the politicians who use lotteries and casinos for back-door taxes, because they’re too crooked and cowardly to raise taxes on the well-to-do.

I thought of these guys today when I ran to a convenience store to steal NyQuil for my sick friend Swamp Rabbit. One employee was ringing up overpriced junk food and another was collecting money from the faithful after taking their numbers and printing their lottery tickets. A crusty chap in a Cowboys cap intoned his numbers, as if the right combination would open the treasure chest: “4-6-9. 6-9-4. 9-4-6. 6-9-5…”

Then I had to fax something, my machine is beyond repair. I ran to one of those dirty little bunkers — there are chains of them — where people who can’t afford bank accounts buy money orders or place bets, or both. Same story here, except the employees work from behind a sheet of glass, or plastic, thick enough to stop an RPG. On the wall next to their little bomb shelter are messages on flyers:

Cigarettes
Tokens
Please specify day or night numbers
Sorry, we cannot cancel Cash 5, Powerball, Super 7, Quinto

Back at the shack, I commiserated with the rabbit. I told him using a check-cash joint is one-stop shopping for the doomed — lottery tickets, cigarettes, money orders that cost an arm and a leg. Four-dollar faxes! It’s like crossing the border to the land of the lost. Don’t expect to find your way back.

The rabbit coughed then took a swig of NyQuil. “You done crossed the border, too, in case you ain’t noticed.”

Not for the first time, I wanted to grab him by his ears and toss him in the swamp. “I’m just going through a rough patch, you dumb rodent. Any day now I’m gonna sell my new novel and blow this dive.”

The rabbit laughed until he started coughing again. “Right,” he said. “That’ll be the same day I win a million bucks playing PICK 2.”

3 thoughts on “New tickets to paradise from PA Lottery

  1. Jesus, this whole thing is almost too depressing for words.
    First the Swamp Rabbit has something resembling pneumonia, probably as a result of a chill wind blowing through the cracks in the shacks walls, and he’s too poor to be properly treated so he’s swilling Nyquil.
    Next we discover that odd man is waiting for his ship to come in by banking on the fact that a novel he’s written will be well received by his public. Unfortunately that novel hasn’t even been published yet.
    I don’t know about one-stop shopping for the doomed, but at this point, and everything else being equal, the best thing to do might just be buying one of those lottery tickets.
    I’m just saying.

  2. Well, let’s see, foolishness, dreams, fantasies and reality. Don’t they all have differing assigned values? It’s sometimes confusing. To me.
    I suppose it’s the taking of some sort of action in the equation of making ones dreams come true that makes the difference in the end?
    Except to the cynic.
    Was the Swamp Rabbit being that cynical?

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