34: The Lottery

34: The Lottery

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

The Lottery

Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead.

~Brian Koslow

We left the Virgin Islands in 1995. We sold Valkyrie, a very sad time indeed. Many of you have heard the one about “the happiest part having a boat is when you buy it and when you sell it.” Well, I must say it depends. We lived on this boat for ten years. It brought us through some pretty dangerous yet unforgettable times. We loved her.

But we decided that we had played enough. We had worked hard but had little to show for it. We were going to find a job driving a boat for someone else. We were going to grow up and go to work!

We stacked all our belongings on a four foot by four foot pallet, had it shrink wrapped, and sent to Florida’s east coast. From there we had it trucked to Judith’s parents’ vacation home in Cape Coral, Florida.

Judith’s parents were in Michigan, so we had the house to ourselves. In the evening we would sit down after dinner to watch television. When we were in the islands, we had rabbit ears on a 9-inch black and white TV with two stations available. On a windy night the boat swung around on the mooring so that the picture came and went often. Back in civilization, TV was a great new distraction. This one particular evening the news people were talking about the Florida Lottery that had reached somewhere in the $75 million area. I happen to mention to Judith, just for the sake of conversation, that maybe we should get a ticket. You wouldn’t believe the next fifteen to twenty minutes. Judith went into lecture mode.

“My father was a gambler.” “He lost everything.” “I would never gamble.” On and on and on. I listened for a while, finally had enough, and when she was between breaths I made a dash to go buy a newspaper. I mean, give me a break; this was probably the second or third lottery ticket I had ever considered buying in my life. I walked up to the local Circle K convenience store on the corner with my hands over my head repeating “Serenity now,” “Serenity Now,” and bought the paper. I also bought a lottery ticket. Reflecting back, I guess it was an act of defiance. We men have to fight back once in a while to resist our inevitable fate, while involved with a female, of becoming a nonentity. After completing my little walk I went back home to the TV. The lecture was over and peace had returned.

In the course of the evening, I daringly mentioned that I had bought a lottery ticket. Surprisingly the lecture did not continue, and Judith asked me about the ticket. “What numbers did you get?” “Did you play my birthday?” “Did you play your kids’ birthdays?” This was from the person who had just given me a lengthy sermon on gambling.

I finally got tired of all the questions and gave Judith the ticket. She studied it for a few moments, lost interest, and haphazardly threw it on the coffee table. I thought it kind of strange that she hadn’t been more careful with the ticket. I took the ticket, folded it and put it under the coaster in which I had my glass of wine. Everything was cool and quiet until the news anchor came on and said the drawing was in ten minutes.

Judith asked if I had the ticket. It was time for a little payback. I said, “You had it last. Remember you asked me for it; what did you do with it?” I love myself sometimes.

Judith looked everywhere; she was obsessed. I, of course, helped her by saying things like, “I can’t believe you lost it!” At one point she actually picked up the wine glass and exposed the ticket but she was in such a frenzy she didn’t even notice it. I went to bed. I could still hear her as she watched the drawing on TV, “I think there was a six and a thirty-two.”

The next morning I woke early, as usual, and went to the Circle K to get the newspaper. I asked the clerk if he would check to see if my lottery ticket won. It hadn’t, as I expected. Then I had a great idea. I bought a new lottery ticket with the winning numbers from the prior night. I put the ticket under the couch knowing that Judith would find it. It was one of the most rewarding moments in my life. She still hasn’t forgiven me, but there are no more lectures.

 

~Robert Campbell

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