A Lottery Adventure

I see that it’s been a while since I posted here. That was not by design; blame the fact that time–especially summer-time—seems to speed by faster and faster as each year passes. Several Labor Days ago, my buddy Al ventured out to his garage to change the calendar only to discover that it still read July. “I missed the entire month of August!” he laughed. Actually, there’s a reason that time seems to speed up once you reach a certain age, and it has to do with the fact that at a certain age, YOU start to slow down. You can read about that here, but I am digressing, as this post is actually about an attempt to buy a Powerball ticket, as the title suggests. My Lindy Hop partner, Vonnie, and I often stop on the way home from our lesson to purchase either a Mega Million or a Powerball ticket, depending on which pot is larger. Naturally, we never buy a ticket if the amount is not nine figures. I mean, what can you do with eight-figure chicken feed? We got plans!

Anyway, one day last month—or maybe two months ago (there’s that time thing)—we stopped to buy a Power Ball ticket only to discover that at this particular outlet, the lottery tickets were dispensed from a machine. Heretofore, we had purchased a ticket from the ubiquitous “girl behind the counter.”

Vonnie put the first bill into the slot, or tried to. We expected the machine to suck it right in, maybe even light up like a pinball machine, but it stood there disdaining our dollar. In fact, it seemed weird that this thing was not only mute, but dark. Vonnie smoothed the dollar with great care, and tried again, but again, the machine showed no interest. So, I took the dollar and tried because you know, maybe Vonnie wasn’t doing it right.

I received the same reaction. I tried a different slot, but I was pretty sure that this was the slot that spit out the tickets. Must have been, as I got nothing, not even a shrug from our silent nemesis. We looked at each other and began to poke about the machine. Maybe it was a touchscreen and we just hadn’t touched it right. Or in the right spot. Nothing. I’m pretty sure that had you walked into the Handy Mart at the Virginia/West Virginia line, you would have assumed that two lunatics were recreating the opening scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That lottery obelisk had us stumped. About this time, we decided to ask the girl behind the counter for help, and it was only then that she informed us that the machine was “down,” adding “so’s the one across the street.” That information would have been helpful as soon as we approached the machine, but apparently, she viewed us as the evening’s entertainment.

We left, ticketless, but on the way out, I gave that machine a dirty look. I’m pretty sure Vonnie gave the girl behind the counter a dirty look. They both deserved it.

Now, of course, we’re expert lottery ticket buyers. As for being expert lottery winners, that’s a different story. Kind of a sad one, too.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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