Dazed and Confused

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 1999

By Lee Dresselhaus / L’Observateur / March 17, 1999

So….. in the papers and on the news this week were numerous articlesabout our latest, lucky Powerball Lottery winners. Yep. This time a bunchof people get to split up the prize and they’ll all walk away with about 20 million each. A while back some guy from Connecticut, or one of thosestates you read about but never really meet anybody who ever lived there, won 66 million dollars. That’s right. Sixty-six million dollars, and he wonit all by himself. He doesn’t have to share it with anybody, except theFederal Government. And, do you know what this guy said? He said that hewas not going to quit his job as a meat packer or meat cutter or meat person of some type. I think that I speak for the vast majority of sanepeople when I say, “AAARRRRGGGGHHHH! ” Not that I want to appear to be overly critical, or seem to be a less than understanding person but I just want to know one thing. Is this guy nuts? Is he totally insane? How many of my fellow citizens of Misery Land (The Land Of Eternal Employment) would work for somebody else for one second after you verified that you had indeed just become a mega-millionaire? I can think of not one rational excuse to continue working for somebody else if I were handed even a fraction of what that guy won. I can assureyou of this….. If I ever win, I’m outta here.Personally, I think becoming a degenerate rich person with absolutely no personal goals other than to do whatever I want whenever I want to do it is a fine ambition. But I don’t think I’ll make my selfish (and possiblyhighly immoral) retirement plans just yet, for one very good reason.

I just don’t have the sense of timing it takes to win stuff.

Somewhere out in the cold reaches of space, billions of miles from Misery Land, is a tiny marble sized piece of asteroid. This asteroid has floatedfree in space since the solar system was formed, and one day it will approach this watery blue world we inhabit and be caught in it’s gravity well. It would orbit the Earth for centuries and finally plunge into theatmosphere, hurtling toward the planet’s surface where, in a mathematical long shot beyond imagination, it would hit me right on top of the head and kill me deader than Bill Clinton’s conscience as I mowed my yard or took out my garbage or do another one of the menial chores that make me a qualified citizen of Misery Land. I say this because I have abetter chance of coordinating that little piece of timing than I would ever have of being in the right place at the right time to pick the winning lottery ticket. The odds of that piece of falling rock hitting me in the headare much better, and I don’t even have a particularly large head. It’s all inthe timing, you see.

Everything in life is really about timing. Ever been in an auto accident?Just think about what the odds are that you and that person, whom you have never met, will go through all the twists and turns that your individual days bring, only to end up at the same intersection at the exact same moment in time (like me and that asteroid) when you are both adjusting your radios and not paying the slightest attention to your driving.

I’ll give you an even better example of timing. Carrying on the male ritualof Always Waiting Till The Last Possible Minute To Christmas Shop, I was in a local mall last Christmas Eve, armed with whatever leftover cash we had after my wife pillaged our Christmas funds, and my wife’s wish list.

One of the things on the list was underwear from Victoria’s Secret. Now,I’m as big a fan of Victoria’s Secret as the next guy, but it’s not some place I frequent, mainly because the employees would start to think I’m pretty weird. So, I get there (somewhat self-consciously but I figure, hey,I’m a 90’s kind of guy and I can do this) and ask the little clerk about this particular style of female undies that my wife has on her annual Embarrass My Husband list. It turns out there is a huge table piled up withthese items, none of which are her size. The clerk rooted through themlooking for a while, and then because I felt a little weird standing there waiting between the push-up bras and the garter belt display, I decided to help her. And wouldn’t you know it? Just as I’m standing there up to myelbows in women’s underwear a friend of mine walks in with his Embarrass My Husband List. I laughed it off at the time, and he didn’t saytoo much because he was really in the same nylon boat as me, but I felt like I’d just been caught peeking into the girl’s shower in high school, or caught hanging out in a porno shop by the PTA. I got my goods and slinkedaway, wondering about the vagaries of chance and the mystery of timing.

I could probably take my entire life savings out of the bank and stand in line for days buying a minivan full of tickets, driving away with thousands of them stuffed around me like feathers in a mattress. Then some winowith ninety-nine cents in change he scraped off of the street somewhere (he’d get the other penny from that little dish on the counter) would buy the very next ticket and end up living on a boat bigger than my house and wearing one of those goofy little skipper hats with a blue blazer and using $10 bills to light cigars that cost as much as my car and…….okay, okay. I’mback. Timing. See?So, no, I’ll probably never win the lottery. Unless I’m 87 years old. And assoon as I saw that I had the winning numbers I would probably keel over drooling, with my winning ticket pathetically clutched in my now lifeless hand. Oh, well. I’d probably just do something with the money like throw aparty that would have Mick Jagger and Keith Richards making excuses and asking for a ride home, or maybe buy myself The Island Of Redheaded Lap Dancers or something of equal culture and sophistication, although I suspect my wife may express some strong opinions about that. I mighteven spend some of it on foolish stuff.

One thing is for sure, though….. I would sail away from The Land Of EternalEmployment on the type of boat that only big money – and bigger dreams – can buy.

In the meantime, I have to go mow the yard again. Anybody have a helmet Ican borrow? Lee Dresselhaus is a regular columnist for L’Observateur .

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