Thursday, November 29, 2012



A few days ago I was driving down the road daydreaming like I do, and I got to wondering whatever happened to the results of the Basic Skills tests I took back in the second grade. I don’t think they ever gave me the results. Probably those results are Top Secret, sealed up in a vault somewhere with men who stare at goats, the Ark of the Covenant and Carl Sagan’s spaceship.
Sagan, as you must know, was from Outer Space. Ever notice how he parted his hair? It was to hide his third eye.
Thats classified information.

I was reminded of The Iowa Test of Basic Skills again tonight, down at the Quick-Pic store, where five times in a row I turned in cards that were filled out wrong and rejected by the lottery machine.
There was a girl there, a pretty girl, and like me, she had never ever bought a lotto ticket her whole life.
So Hafiz, the cashier at the counter, gave us a quick tutorial and we went to work.

She was filling out eight cards. That’s 40 chances to match 6 numbers and win the $475,000,000 jackpot. I only had my one to fill out, with 5 sets of numbers, but like I said it kept getting rejected.
A little bit of hope is a dangerous thing.
I felt just like I did in the second grade, filling out all those little bubbles with my number two pencil, the number two pencil was totally CRUCIAL they had said, and I filled in all my cards wrong, one after another, and the lotto machine just spat them back until finally Hafiz, who barely even speaks English, kindly filled mine out for me while I wondered if he had taken the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, knowing if he had he would most definitely  done better than I, while I kept one eye on the pretty girl.

I watched over her shoulder while she filled in the little bubbles.
“If you win, I’ll just DIE” I said.
She looked up and smiled “So will my husband!”.
So I held my hand to my ear, as if I had a phone, and said “Call me, OK?” and we both laughed at the thought that her husband might die, and we become lovers, billionaire lovers at that, and we might live on the beach at Monaco, drinking champagne and eating Oysters, Duck Galantines, and Shrimp Paella .
A little bit of hope is a dangerous thing.

Then Hafiz says “OK, we got your numbers right here buddy”, and I paid my 10 bucks.
You know, somebody has to win, it happens all the time, but the odds are that the ten minutes of my life I spent at the Quick-pic are ten minutes of my life I will never get back.


I found out this morning I didn't win the Four-Hundred Seventy-Five Million Dollar Jackpot, but there is always this:



AnitaNH said...

Wow, you are on a roll here, Steve. Another great post!

bulletholes said...

I wish! Its been awful slow for a while. This post actually ties my most productive year to date at 218 posts. The thing is, between Sept, Oct, and Nov., I only had about 30 posts.
I could have SHATTERED my old record.
oh well! I coulda won the $475 mil too!