02 December 2010

Thoughts About the Lotto

I walked the corridors of Rob last Tuesday at lunchtime looking for an ATM; and of course, it being the end of the month – and, therefore, payday for many companies – only one of the mall’s machines was functional. The next time you meet somebody who works in a bank, ask if they do it deliberately. I mean, if there are days of each month when ATMs should not go empty or offline, these are paydays.

Yet, increasingly these days, they do. I am sure volume has something to do with it. That said, paydays are not exactly the sort of things that happen unexpectedly; so banks logically should be able to ensure that machines are replenished at the soonest possible time as a matter of courtesy to customers.

But this is not about banks or about ATMs…

As my companion and I passed by the lotto outlet just outside National Bookstore, I greeted a co-worker who was trying to purchase a ticket. I was tempted to tell him he was a day late; but thought against it to avoid embarrassing him.

He was; a day late, that is. Somebody won the unbelievably high 730M jackpot the night before.

Last Saturday, after training, I made the short trip to Rob as I do everyday to find that the lotto queue reached some 50 or so yards from the outlet almost to the main entrance gate. There were all sorts of people in the queue: teenagers, mothers and fathers with their children; old men and women.

Everyone stood patiently waiting even though the line did not seem to be moving forward at all. And why not? What was there to lose except time? Never mind that the chances of winning were at one in 29 million…

Statistically, these odds are astronomical! I myself am way too pragmatic to give the lotto a try. Sa Christmas raffle na lang, even when there are hundreds of prizes to stare at with shameless desire, if I win at all it is invariably the 500-pesos gift check. Of course, I am thankful even for such small blessings; that does not stop me from wishing my name has stayed inside the tambiolo and that I get the laptop instead.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who win year in and year out. Aba’y nakakasuyâ rin… You begin to suspect the raffle is rigged when they do not win; not when their names are called yet again as a matter of course.

One of my sisters is like that. I think she was born under a lucky star. Every year during employee raffles, she invariably won something; sometimes, she would win more than one prize in one raffle.

Ako? There was this one raffle when I won a kaldero at kawalî, and even got laughed at heartily by everyone for having done so. I mean, it was not even the stainless steel sort with a Made in Japan sticker glued to the side. More like the sort recycled from a car wreck or something, binalot pa ng lumang diyaryo

There was this one raffle when I won a Philips DVD player. But I had – like – a Sony player at home already along with a Made in China version for when the Sony could not play the DVDs I bought from you-know-where. Since I was still in top administration at the time and everyone was bellowing “Babalik! Babalik!” I graciously waved my hand at the guys in charge of the raffle and had the item returned for raffling again.

So, to get back to the matter of the lotto… Yae na… It is not for me. Mine is not a perfect life; but, on the other hand, who can claim to have such? My Dad might not have agreed when he was alive; but if I come to think about it, my luck is really in my contentment and my having the ability to enjoy living a simple life.

I will be a hypocrite, though, if I say I did not even stop to consider what I can do with 730 million. I mean, even at a mere 5% interest, it’s a cool 3.041 million pesos monthly without having to lift a finger. Whew!!!

One of the local news web sites reports that the prize continues to be unclaimed. The winner is probably trying to figure out a way to claim the prize without calling attention to himself or herself. I suppose the question of what to do with all that money comes only second to the really important first question. That will have to be how to avoid being killed or kidnapped after the prize is claimed.

I am being overly dramatic; but you get my drift. Wealth is not really just about the money. Most of us are blessed with so much wealth already. We have just not trained our minds to look at it.





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