Friday, April 17, 2009

Guest Blogger - My Father

Neither of my parents are running for elected office, but I figured it was only fair to give them Equal Time . On Easter, I was talking to my father and asked him if he'd like to write a guest post, since my mother wrote one recently.

My father said that he had already written something that he could give me. It's quite timely too given that Massachusetts has been debating about whether or not to bring casino gambling to the state. On a personal note, I was in the Customer Service line at Stop & Shop last Friday. I was the only person not buying lottery tickets. I waited for close to ten minutes and kept hearing the loud ticking of the machine as it printed out tickets. One person must have bought about fifty of them. I wondered if they were all for him and if he bought that many every week. "That's a lot of money", I thought.

While looking for links to put into the essay, I noticed at the very bottom of the Massachusetts Lottery Website, there is a link to Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. Funding for the Council is provided by the Lottery along with help from the Racing Commission. Very interesting. And I've read that lottery sales have risen during the recession. Here's my father's essay below.

"Sunday, June 8, 2008 was the last day that I will ever play the Massachusetts State Lottery. When I first saw on June 9th that there would be two daily numbers drawn a day instead of “one,” I became baffled and bewildered by such shameless naked avarice. But slowly the fog enveloping my mind began to dissipate. Then surprise begat confusion begat anger begat understanding.

The Massachusetts State Lottery is a beautiful monster, clothed in enticement, cynical, remorseless, predatory, and insatiable, insidiously dangling tantalizing dreams that are rarely consummated but only occurring just enough times to keep millions of its prey walking a treadmill of financial fantasy.

Like many others, I was seduced by the lure of lucky money although I’m not a big-time gambler by any means, betting approximately $6.00 per week since the Lottery began in 1971. Still, even that small amount multiplied by almost 37 years equals about $11,544. I did once win $1,500 (5 numbers on Megabucks) twenty years ago and about $100 occasionally on the Daily Number; nevertheless, any good business person will tell you that I have not turned a profit. And if I, with my small, careful wagers, have spent $312 per year, there are those who spend more, much more.

I know from observation that there are those who bet $20 or $50 a week, and even more. Just $20 per week amounts to $1040 a year. An average betting expenditure of a thousand dollars per year is probably not an exaggeration.

This “dream money” could easily be saved to purchase rewards that are real: a new electronic appliance, a trip to that intriguing vacation spot, a front row seat to a concert, etc. Protect your money from the treacherous embrace of the dream merchant and realize that you have the power to use it wisely. Free yourself from the seductive delusion causing you to depend upon the Lottery to achieve your objectives instead of utilizing your imagination and innate talents.

Sunday, June 8, 2008 was the last time that I will ever play the Massachusetts State Lottery. On June 9th, I became free again.

Here is a suggestion from an ex-Lottery player, stop. “If you play the Lottery, stop. If you don’t, don’t start.” Goodbye, Lottery, our affair is over. Hello, Freedom."

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Suldog said...

Intelligent man, your father!

Kirti said...

Hey, Dad's a great writer...give that man a blog!
Also, very wise advice! I buy lottery tickets for Xmas stockings and bday gifts...that's about it...I know I'm not lucky so won't waste them on myself...

Nance said...

I have never played the Lottery in my life. I'm not judging those who do; I'm just not a gambler by nature. I'm more of a "bird in the hand" sort of gal.

GFE--gluten free easily said...

I think this is so great that you are getting your parents to share their opinions with us. Such a well-written piece from your father! When the lottery first started in VA, I picked a series of numbers for each of the three of us and then played them religiously. Couldn't miss a drawing you know because I had picked specific numbers and what if I didn't buy the tickets for that drawing and they were the winning numbers? It made me crazy. Finally, I tore up the cards and forgot the numbers, and I felt free like your father said. In retrospect, I can't even believe I ever did that. I am not a gambler. When I've been to casinos (maybe four times in my life for about a half hour each time), I've spent maybe $20 on the slot machines. That's it. The casinos just didn't appeal to me much, but I joined in with others. I do occasionally buy lottery tickets now, but only the random picks and I consider it for entertainment purposes (I imagine having my own celiac/gluten intolerance foundation). And, I also do what Kirti said ... occasionally give them as BD gifts or put them in stockings.

It is very sad to see people buying 20 and 50 tickets at a time when it's clear their money would be better spent on other things.


josephine said...

i've bought a lottery ticket maybe 3 times in my life, and after reading your calculations on how much people spend per year, i don't think i ever will again. great piece!

Anali said...

suldog - Yes, he is!

kirti - He'll get a real kick out of your comment!

nance - Well, you've saved yourself a whole lot of money. Unless of course, you would have won the big one.

shirley - It's been fun having my parents do these posts! I do buy tickets every now and then when the amount gets really high. It's fun to dream.

josephine - That money does add up doesn't it? Thanks for the kind words. I'll tell my Dad.

Disclaimer: Nothing stated on Anali's First Amendment should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. © 2006-2016. Anali's First Amendment/Lisa C. Johnson. All rights reserved. Do not use writing or photographs without permission.