Lovin' Life

I noticed that the cover story for Newsweek magazine last week was about the ding-a-lings who believe the earth is flat, in that it’s not a globe. They apparently concede that it’s round, however, but why not say it’s flat and square? Or a flat parallelogram? For that matter, why not a cube? They need to get creative on their delusions.

If you spend any time on the net or social media odds are you’ve seen this kind of stuff. Other absurdities people like to promote are the Moon is hollow, the Earth is hollow, their craniums are hollow … sorry, I don’t mean to editorialize, but … I guess there are enough conspiracy theories and hoax absurdities to fill any tin foil sombrero.

I’m normally not one for those kinds of things, but I confess to one irrational belief; that if I buy a lottery ticket I just might-possibly-maybe-hopefully win some money.

But another way to look at it is that in New Mexico it supports the lottery scholarship program.

It kind of makes me feel a little better knowing that my money is going to help a worthy student get an education, and that's what I say to my friend who ribs me about buying a lottery ticket. “Why don't you just flush it down the toilet,” is one of the more family-friendly comments he has made, along with, “Oh, you really are a big-time gambler.”

But I don't think of it as gambling, but more of a game of chance, and buying a Roadrunner ticket every few days when I pass one of those big red vending machines doesn't really put a big dent in our budget. So what do I get for my dollar? Well … dreams and fantasies, or should I say, a fairy tale for us grown-ups.

It's like when you're very young and reading a fairy tale about the kid from a poor family finding a pot of gold. For instance, Jack, of the bean stalk fame, takes a chance and trades his cow for a few beans. And because of that wins a lot of money. A little like a lottery, except that he risks his life to steal the pot of gold from a giant who lives in a castle in the sky. Or was it a goose that lays golden eggs?

I have never decided if there was some hidden moral truth in that tale and others like it, but it really doesn't matter, because when you get down to it we'd all like to win a big sack of money, preferably with little or no effort.

Every few days when I come home with a lottery ticket, conversation at our house drifts over to how to spend all that money. It's one heck of a conversation starter. Pipe dreams and what-ifs abound, and the conversation always ends with a chuckle or two. By the next morning, it is forgotten.

Once I bought a Roadrunner ticket at the convenience store at Isleta, which is the closest I ever get to the big casino down the street. The young woman behind the counter made me laugh when she handed me the ticket and said, “here's your loser,” and, of course, she was right.

When I lived in Santa Fe about 25 years ago, the closest thing to gambling I did was on the occasional Saturday night at the big bingo hall out on the Tesuque Pueblo. This was a few years before the lottery started up in the state, and before all the casinos opened up. You'd go in and buy your cards and a big fat marker and find a place to sit at one of the long tables set up with folding chairs.

The emcee called out the letters and numbers, and everybody – usually a couple of hundred – scrambled to blot out the correct space on their cards. I wasn't very good at scrambling, especially if I had six or eight cards in front of me, but sometimes it didn't matter because one night a big husky guy sitting across the table from me would peek at my bingo cards and mark them for me if I was too slow.

Bingo at Tesuque was a very social affair, and everybody would cheer when somebody yelled “bingo!” There were food and drinks and music and a lot of conversation, like a big party every Saturday night. A far cry from the rows and rows of people feeding money into slot machines, which can be fun for a while, but it's just not as much fun as the old bingo hall on Saturday night.

But I digress. I’ve always known the Earth is a sphere, but I’m not so sure about the Moon. It could be the Death Star in disguise.

Oh, snap, I forgot to buy a Roadrunner ticket again.

But at least I still have my dollar.