Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Inner Winner

I don't buy lottery tickets. I mean sure, I love scratching off that little box, then the other little box then another and another until you reveal the matching cherries. My father was a gambler, I grew up on scratch tickets and unfortunately know the secret - what you've won is always spelled out in letters scattered around the boxes. If you see, say, a P or a B you know you've lost. So on the rare occasion when Santa slips a scratch ticket in my stocking I am careful to scratch only the tiny square, and nothing around it, delaying my joy while thinking ahead to where we'll travel to first with the winnings, and picturing the look of surprise on Moose's face when his new car shows up. Keeping a cautious eye on the lamp nearby, I gauge my surroundings, not wanting to knock anything over when I jump up and shout "I won a million dollars!"

I scratch the last box off with the edge of a dime while the lamp looks at me with scorn, as if to say "I was never really worried, loser".

I buy raffle tickets at every single charity event we go to. Door prizes, fifty-fifty raffles, whatever. I apply fresh lipstick and make sure my zipper is up as the tickets are drawn. I wait eagerly, fingers crossed, knowing my number will be called this time. Then swallow my disappointment when it isn't, extending congratulations to the person sitting next to me while muttering "Fixed!" under my breath. If only 2 tickets are sold and I have 1 of them, I will lose. Every time.

Our town has an incredible event every year called the Festival of Trees. We attend faithfully for years. Local families and businesses decorate amazing, elaborate trees that run from traditional in nature to bright blue trees covered in spa gift certificates or designer handbags. Last year there was a even a huge tree with a full size canoe propped up against it. The idea is you buy tickets in mass quantities and deposit them in the canister in front of the tree you want. Over 100 trees are donated each year and thousands of people visit and buy tickets. My strategy is this - I purchase a boatload of tickets, give half to Ziggy and off we go. Her method hasn't varied over the years - she zig-zags from tree to tree depositing tickets everywhere until she runs out and begs for some of mine. My tickets, she wants some of my precious tickets that I've been hoarding all night. One of which is most definitely a winning ticket. I slap her away and move on.

Oh I used to drop them in here and there, what a lovely tree, isn't that one fun, here a ticket, there a ticket, everywhere a ticket, ticket. But I've learned to play it smart. I carefully study the trees, narrowing my selection down to two or three of the less desirables, avoiding the "popular" trees. Sure, they're not as pretty or sparkly but they're nice enough and I have a better chance of winning one of these. And it's all about the winning. Without seeming too obvious I stake out my trees, not wanting to tip anyone off and draw more attention to them then necessary. I'll confess, I shake a few canisters. I can tell within a slight margin of error how many tickets are in there just by the feel of it in my hand. Once I know which tree I have a better shot at winning I lay all my tickets on that baby, smug in the knowledge that this year will be my year.

The mayor draws the tickets, announcing the names on the last night of the event. I make sure there's a clear path in front of me, shooing away small children that could trip me up, wiping my palms on my leg so my hands aren't sweaty when I shake the mayor's hand, accepting his congratulations while envious neighbors clap politely. The last ticket is drawn and somehow my name is not called. As I leave I pass by the tree, my tree. A sob escapes me as I turn to it one last time. "You know, I loved you," I say to its burned out bulbs and handmade ornaments. "I accepted you for what you are, and it just wasn't enough for you, was it? Was it???" The tree didn't even have the decency to look away.

The Boston Garden is running a Willie Wonka-esque contest today, passing out chocolate bars that contain well, chocolate. But if it's your lucky day your chocolate bar may just have a golden ticket inside. The coveted golden ticket opens the door to concert tickets, season tickets and all kinds of great stuff. We're heading into Boston today because today is my lucky day. I'm going to channel my Inner Winner and come home the proud owner of season tickets to the Celtics and the Bruins. I've picked out my clothes for the day, a tasteful outfit that says I AM A WINNER in a subtle, not too in-your-face way. I'm ready. I've scanned the schedules, making sure I'm free for the first games of the season. I've notified my friends that I'll have several tickets to pass along to them, as I can't possibly go to all sixty games myself. I'm pretty sure I'm in town during the play-offs too.

I just have a feeling, today's going to be my day.


Doreen said...

What cracks me up about you and the festival of trees, is it IS all about winning for you. I say this because I know that you always, always get a real Christmas tree. It's a tradition with you. You all trek through the woods on some tree farm and chop down your tree. So clearly you don't need the fake tree.

I have a good feeling about today too. Did you write a speech? Maybe you should...

TK said...

You think she might just be a little competitive...I do believe my honey got just little more testosterone than the average hottie

Little Ms J said...

You had me at "apply my lipstick and check my zipper."

SharonK said...

I may post about it another time but in case anyone is wondering, I was a little put off by the 16,000 people in line when I got there so I did what any self respecting woman would do.

I flipped them all the bird and went home.