Our economic system is ridiculously unfair. The average American earns less in one year than Rush Limbaugh eats in a week! Knowing this, wealthy people are in constant fear that the lower socio-economic classes will rise up and attack. Hence, rich people have implemented a complex security system to keep poor people unmotivated, obedient, and emotionally numb. It's called the Lottery.
Poor people don't want to change the system. Sure, a system that favors upper-class tax cuts, where wealthy people go to better schools, enjoy better health care, and sit in heated luxury boxes eating artisan salmon bread while you're freezing your ass off at the Redskins game is insane. But poor people want those perks, too. So they're told to work hard, stop complaining, and play the Lottery. And once they win -- just be patient -- they, too, will deserve all the advantages that money brings.
According to mathematicians, the odds of me winning the Powerball lottery are about 175-million-to-one, which isn't bad considering I didn't buy a ticket.
Of course, the logical strategy would be simply to buy 175 million tickets. Thank God for Kickstarter. Coincidentally, "175 million tickets" describes the current contents of my glove compartment.
Another way of looking at it, though, is to say the odds of winning Powerball are 2-to-1. You either win or you don't. Basically, everything in life comes with 2-to-1 odds. Either something happens, or it doesn't. Time-Warner will either increase my cable TV rates or it won't. It did. Either I'll suddenly have to pee really badly while stuck in this traffic jam, or I won't. I do. I was never very good at math.
Powerball has increased the popularity of lotteries because the payouts are so large. The country gets Powerball "fever" when the jackpot reaches 500 million dollars. People who don't normally purchase lottery tickets will stand in line and shell out fifty bucks for multiple tickets. Nobody cares about smaller lotteries anymore. At one time, a 5-million-dollar jackpot seemed extraordinary. But now? You expect me to stand in line for a measly 5 million?! Do you think I'm an idiot?!
The Lottery mentality is sort of like the "the death penalty is a deterrent to crime" philosophy. In reality, the death penalty is no more a deterrent to crime than is spending a year in jail. Nobody wants to spend a year in jail. But people commit crime because they think they'll get away with it. If they thought there would any consequences, they wouldn't do it. People play the Lottery with the assumption that they're going to win. Otherwise, why else would you buy a ticket? Using that logic, of course, it is worth a buck to win even a hundred dollars. Because the mentality is that you are going to win. Hence, to play the Lottery based on the size of the jackpot is to have an illogical, irrational mindset. Nevertheless, Powerball is good because the proceeds help to fund our schools.
Lottery winners have the choice of taking their prize as one lump sum or in annual installments. Nobody picks annual installments. Why wouldn't you take your money all at once? It's your money. It's like if you let your friend borrow your car, and each week he returns a couple of parts. "Next week, I'll bring over the door and the front wheels."
Another interesting thing about the Lottery is that you don't actually get what you win. If the jackpot is, say, 300 million dollars, the winner receives only a fraction of that number, based on how much interest you would earn over 25 years in order to reach 300 million or blah blah blah. It's complicated. And it's unfair. How about if the next time I buy a two-dollar ticket to play Powerball, I'll give the cashier 40 cents? But in 25 years, that 40 cents will be worth two bucks. Is that a fair exchange? It's sort of like the government saying, "You just won a cruise to Hawaii! You'll receive your prize in the form of a bus ticket to Green Bay."
Our government places strict regulations on the gambling industry. That's because there is something "subversive" about risking your money to win more money. Yet this same government runs the Lottery, the largest gambling operation on the planet. It's weird to think that, technically, I could be arrested for placing a dollar bet on the New York Mets, yet the government encourages me to risk that same dollar on the Lottery... and in neither case do I have any chance of winning.
But whereas illegal sports betting with a bookie is unseemly (and with a wookiee is just plain dangerous), the Lottery markets itself as "fun." Lottery commercials are always light and comical. I don't know. Have you ever stood in line at the gas station behind those unshaven, semi-inebriated middle-aged men spending their scratch-off ticket winnings on more scratch-off tickets? They don't seem to be having much fun.
Also, the Lottery markets itself as way to make money for education. In my home state of New York, there's a popular commercial in which a convenience store hidden camera catches children singing to real people who are buying lottery tickets. The kids "thank" the patrons for helping to support our schools. I mean, are you serious? Do you think the people buying lottery tickets give a s**t if they're helping to fund education? If the Lottery profits were being used to fund Paris Hilton's acting career, you'll still see people lining up outside the 7-11 once the jackpot hits 700 million. "Oh, and the tobacco companies donate a lot of money to charity. So thanks for buying those cigarettes, too."
As for lotteries being used to fund education... the Lottery generates millions of dollars and many elementary schools can't afford crayons. Something doesn't add up.
I feel bad for elderly people who win the Lottery. It's like buying a month-supply of cocaine but the expiration date is tomorrow. It doesn't give you a lot of time to enjoy it.
Sometimes, people pray that they may win the Lottery. But I'm pretty sure that's not why Jesus died for your sins.
Personally, I don't need to pray to God to win the Lottery because I know that God already wants me to win. I'm just biding my time.
The odds that there is a God and/or that God cares whether or not you win the Lottery are even worse than the odds of winning the Lottery. Besides, as with Kim and Kanye's marriage, I think the Lottery falls under Satan's jurisdiction.
Sometimes good people win the Lottery. Sometimes bad people win the Lottery. In 2008, in Massachusetts, a convicted sex offender won 10 million dollars playing the Lottery. But he had to pay a huge chunk of it in taxes. See? Karma.
Sometimes, when people win the Lottery, they don't change at all. They even keep their job. I hate those people. Why would you keep your job if you win the Lottery? You're missing the point of playing the Lottery. That's like washing your garbage before you throw it in the trash.
If I ever win the Lottery, I would quit my job. Though, in fairness, my job consists mostly of me trying to win the Lottery.
Sometimes when people win the Lottery, they end up losing all their friends. But there are other good things about winning the Lottery, too. For example, you can give money to charitable organizations and you can help disadvantaged people and you can finally replace all your cumbersome, old, giant-back TVs with flat screens.
Many lotteries, especially the big ones, offer suckers... I mean, they offer consumers a chance to purchase a subscription. You pay a monthly or an annual fee, and the Lottery automatically purchases your ticket for each drawing. You don't even have to look up the winning numbers. You're automatically notified if you win. So basically, you send money and get nothing in return. It's pretty stupid, but I'm not really one to talk since I'm still paying a monthly bill for a landline phone.
Did you know there are lottery magazines? In the same way Sports Illustrated is all about sports and Vogue is all about making you feel bad about the way you look, there are magazines devoted entirely to lottery "news." And these publications also include "strategies" on how to increase your chances of winning. (One suggestion: Buy more lottery tickets. Another suggestion: Eh, "buy more lottery tickets" is pretty much all I got.) Lottery magazines are ridiculous. Heck, if I wanted to read article after article of pointless, idiotic babble, I wouldn't have cancelled my subscription to Vanity Fair.
If I worked for a lottery magazine, I'd write an article called "Signs You're Addicted To Gambling." Sign #1: You're reading a lottery magazine.
When someone wins a giant lottery jackpot, it becomes a major media story. The winners are interviewed by news reporters. Look, I'm not saying that 'winning the Lottery" is not an important story. Rather, if "ordinary schmucks coming into a lot of money for doing nothing" is a legitimate news event, then maybe CNN and the other cable channels should spend more time covering our Congressmen. Zing!
The Lottery is a government scheme set up to rip off gullible poor people. Oh, I suppose wealthier people sometimes buy lottery tickets, too. The richest man in the world has something in common with the poorest man in the world; they both want to be richer. But wealthy people play the Lottery for entertainment. Poor people buy lottery tickets out of desperation. If the Lottery disappeared, poor people would use those extra dollar bills to buy food and medicine and the things they really need. And without a healthy lifestyle, your chances of becoming sick or depressed or hopeless are better than 175-million-to-one.