Undeserving lucky jerks pocket lottery riches

© Copyright 1996

Stupid, undeserving jerks or foreigners always win the big lottery jackpots.

Never do the big state-sponsored gambling prizes go to people who truly deserve to win big money, who would really know what to do with the cash, who would fully appreciate and enjoy the finer things in life that an instant fortune would provide.

Never to someone like me.

No, the winners always say, the free money won't change their lives. Oh, they may allow for a new car and some modest remodeling of the homestead or even a new one. They will pay some bills. Their moronic children will get a higher education. They will share a few bucks with family members. But that's about it.

Why, of course, the winners always say, they will continue working. They wouldn't know what to do with themselves without the job and familiar faces at the workplace.

Some idiot will win $25 million in the lottery and then pledge to continue working as a stapler at the cardboard box factory.

A roofer in my hometown hit a big lottery jackpot and told reporters he intended to be back on a roof, bright and early Monday morning. He had a job to finish. I didn't know this person from Adam, but I found myself hoping he would fall and break his neck.

Why doesn't a truly deserving person -- I'm thinking of myself here -- hit a jackpot? You never hear of somebody going from rags to lottery riches and declaring to the world:

"I'm going to get naked and dance! I already told the boss to kiss my ass!

"I'll drink gallons of Scotch whiskey and eat lobster and snails. I'll get some women, scantily clad and smart, to help me spend the dough. I'm getting a big cabin cruiser, buckets of cold beer, a case of potato chips and a gross of stink bait, and I'm going catfishing. If I get too drunk to fish, that's OK!"

Why doesn't somebody with a little class ever cash the big one?

Often, extremely old folks hit lottery jackpots paid in installments over 20 years. I reckon they won't be around to collect. God bless 'em, they buy a new walker and give the rest to the church.

Foreigners win more than their fair share. They crawl across the border or just get off the boat and head straight to the closest 7-Eleven for a package of mini doughnuts, a pint of chocolate milk and one quick-pick Lotto ticket.

Sure enough, that single ticket will claim a $100 million jackpot. The Immigration and Naturalization Service will send the winning alien back to his country of origin after he comes forward to claim the prize, but he doesn't care. He's going to collect a fortune every year for the next two decades.

What a country!

Immigrants with lottery tickets that don't hit a jackpot stay and for the next 20 years, collect Social Security disability, food stamps, housing and utility assistance, legal aid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, government surplus commodities and indigent medical care.

No lottery jackpot for them, but what a country!

The only exemplary lottery jackpot winner was a former carnival worker who spent part of his new fortune on cheap wine, cheaper women and song. He bought a huge mansion and moved in with the woman of his dreams. He started businesses with fringe relatives. No tax-free municipal bonds and lawyers and accountants for him.

The man earned five more minutes of fame, when he went broke. The entourage and his own mismanagement of finances had squandered the whole load. The mansion started falling apart for lack of maintenance. Utilities were cut off. Continuing lottery proceeds were tied up in lawsuits.

Nevertheless, the unexpected misfortune didn't make much difference in the man's daily life. He drank wine before he won the lottery fortune; he drank wine after he struck it rich; and he's still drinking wine.

I don't begrudge anyone his lottery winnings, because I expect to hit some day. I even have planned my retirement income on the eventual correct combination of numbers on weekly Lotto tickets.

My lottery fantasy is more realistic than any hope of collecting Social Security in about 2025.

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