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Published September 13, 2011
The Daily 3, Mega Millions, and Mallards

    If I find myself in line at a convenience store, chances are there’s a disheveled person in front of me purchasing a lottery ticket of some kind.  It makes me so sad seeing them hand over one of their few dollar bills in an unfair game of chance.  I usually am thinking to myself “you don’t need a golden rope from the gods of luck to make your life better.  You can make your life whatever you want.”  I can see arguments for casino games being closer to a form of entertainment than just gambling, but having to lift up the floor mat of your ’87 Mercury Sable in order to find a filthy penny to scratch away on some card doesn’t bring about the same thrill of a hot streak at the roulette table. 
    In 2010, the 44 states that administer lotteries, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, brought in around $17.6 billion.  Sure states talk about how this money goes to protecting some wetland or giving a school a fresh coat of paint, but I would rather see people hang onto their own money.  Do I have something against wetlands?  Yes.  Am I worried about custodians forgetting to put “wet paint” signs in schools leading to corduroy jackets being ruined?  Also yes.  But mostly I’d like to see people use the money to better themselves somehow.  Maybe use that dollar (along with thousands more) to go back to school to finish that degree.  Perhaps start a college fund for the smartest of your 6 kids.  An item from the dollar money at McDonald’s is another thing that American currency can gain one access to.  The possibilities are really endless.
    Today as I walked up to pay for my bottle of Gatorade there was a woman talking with the man at the register.  She was probably somewhere around 40 or 45 years old, white, with hair tied up in cornrows.  “That’s it,” I thought, “buy that lottery ticket, you’re going to make it big.”  When I realized she was just getting a few bottles of water, a Mr. Goodbar, and a pack of cigarettes, my inner-dialogue quickly turned on her.  In my mind I lashed out, “Oh you think you have it so good.  You’re making it, aren’t you?  Do you have any idea how many packs of cigarettes you could buy with some ballin’ lottery winnings? Won’t someone think of the poor mallards?”

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