Well, I guess it's high time that I admitted to myself that I'm getting sick. I've been feeling a little off for about a week, and now that it's taking on a more overt physical manifestation, I don't think I can chalk it up to stress or having the blues anymore. I'm just sick. Nothing dire or devastating, mind you. It's just a slight butterfly feeling in my stomach that won't go away. I described it to my wife and daughter as that queasy feeling that you get after you've been crying, but neither of them had any idea what I was talking about, which was a little awkward. Still, it's a very functional level of sickness; just a little dull around the edges. It's a funny thing about being sick; it makes me feel like I'm out of step with the seasons. Spring suddenly feels like fall, fall like midsummer, and so on. I find that part kind of fascinating, actually.
Of course, not getting enough rest doesn't help matters, either. Friday is our grocery shopping day around here, and as we were leaving the store my wife noticed, on the receipt, that the cashier had neglected to give us the proper discount on these twelve packs of pop that we bought. So I had to go back inside and haggle with customer service over the matter. I'm sure you all know what a joy that is. Naturally, there was a line. I stood there, as I always do, trying to be patience and stay calm, trying to remind myself that these people are here to conduct business, just like me, and humming either "Kumbaya" or "Ave Maria" in my head, depending on what mood I'm in. *Deep Breaths* And that's when the damn Lottery Lady steps up and ruins it all.
The lottery is a popular pastime around here, I suppose because flushing your money down the toilet never caught on and this was the next best thing. It's really sad when you see how much of a problem some of these people have. I once dug myself out of a snow drift and drove out into the one of the worst storms that we've had in years, all just to go to the local convenient store to stock up on food and supplies because the weather was so bad that even the pizza delivery guys weren't willing to drive in that crap. And what do I find there? Even then there was a little old lady ahead of me who had come out in this shit just to buy lottery tickets. Ha! It never fails.
And they never want to just buy A lottery ticket, or a couple scratch offs. Oh, no. They have charts and graphs, scribbled calculations of the moon and tides, columns of numbers that came to them in a vision, and handfuls upon handfuls of those SAT scorecards with all the little circles penciled in. And they never just make one transaction. They turn in this; they get back that; they reinvest their paltry winnings here; they stare at the rack trying to decide... O-the fuck-kay, Lady! We get it. Go home and call some gambling addiction hotline and get some help and get out of my way! The world doesn't have to come to a standstill while you pin all your hopes and dreams on the damn Powerball.
I've spoken before about the need to have a budget when you walk into a casino, a need to have a specific dollar amount in mind that you're willing to lose. That's one of the thing that I find so insidious about the lottery...well, that and the fact that the payoff to odds ratio isn't worthy of a horse racing track in Hell. But anyhow, my point is that I wonder how many of these people really keep track of how much they invest. They focus on the small jackpots they win here and there, and get some illusion that they're getting ahead. But I'm betting that if they sat down and figured it all out, they'd most certainly find that they were losing a disgusting amount of money overall. I look at these people. I live around here and I know the kinds of budgets that they're living on and I see them gambling well beyond their means on a daily basis, gambling social security money, sometimes even cash from traded food stamps. It just makes me sad.
And impatient, of course. Let's not forget that. I felt like shit and I wanted to go home and lie down for a little while before work. Instead, I had to stand there and wait while Madame Olga, Gypsy Queen of the Pick Four, wasted ten irredeemable minutes of all our lives. What wagers do we have to show for that, huh? Hell, I think if she's scores big on the Ohio Lotto, I ought to get a cut. That's only fair. *Deep Breaths*