I am not one who plays the lottery regularly, but I do enjoy playing a scratch-off ticket every once in a while. When I lived in Virginia, I would pick up a $1 scratch off when I paid for my gas on the way home from work. I never won much, a dollar back here, two dollars there. I won $20 one time.
I moved to Tennessee in 2008. I believe the Tennessee Lottery is rigged. Given the laws of probability, it’s just not possible to lose as many games as I have. To save time, I should just have lottery loses deducted directly out of my pay, just like taxes are. My odds of winning are the same as if I picked through losing tickets thrown out in the parking lot dumpster. But I’ll let you be the judge. Here is my most recent scratch-off. To win, you must match one of the winning numbers , in this case, 26 or 24, to one of the other ten numbers.
As you can see, the number 26 wins a prize because it matches the number 26 printed in the red circle. My reward is circled in red.
This is a true story. It happened back around 1992. My wife and I had been
married for six years and it was still just the two of us; we didn’t have any
Now my wife is a great cook. She’s so good, she can make sawdust taste good. But there’s one thing she cannot make — biscuits.
Her mother could make biscuits. Her mother made biscuits that rose
a full three inches high and weighed just ounces. Unfortunately, my wife’s
biscuits don’t rise so much. In fact, they’re so thin, you can’t cut them in
half. You have to use two to make a ham biscuit sandwich. And they
weigh nearly a pound a piece. So my wife relies on ‘whump’ biscuits. She just
pops open a roll and cooks ’em right up.
If you don’t know, ‘whump’ biscuits come ten to a roll. But we rarely ate
more than two or three each at most. Between four and six are just thrown away.
So one day, I noticed in the grocery store that ‘whump’ biscuits come in
five-packs as well! Well, there’s a budget blessing if ever I saw one. I told
her that if she bought the five-packs, we would not have to throw out the extra
biscuits that came in a ten-count can, and we would save money. I am so smart!!
I bought a couple of cans.
That very night, she made biscuits.
I heard her ‘whump’ open a can of biscuits. Then I heard something
disturbing: I thought I heard her whump open another can. “What is she doing?’
I asked myself. But I refrained from entering the ‘Forbidden Zone.’ (The
kitchen is off-limits when she cooks). When she finally called me to set the
table, I peeked in the oven. My greatest fear was realized – There were TEN
biscuits in the oven. My mouth started running, not waiting for my brain
to engage. “Why did you open two cans of biscuits?” I asked.
“Are you stupid? We’ll only eat five and throw the rest away!” I
“I’ll teach you about throwing biscuits away!” she countered. Then she took
the pan with ten biscuits and tossed it all out in the back yard.
“What are you doing?” I screamed, and I went to pick up the pan from out in
the yard. To the side, I saw the neighbors were sitting on their back porch
watching as things transpired. I grabbed the pan and headed back to the house.
It took about two steps before I realized the pan was still close to 450 degrees
hot. I dropped the pan, and kissed my burning fingers. Then to show the pan who
was boss, I jumped up and down on it and stomped it till there was no life left
in it. I glanced over at the neighbor’s porch. At some point, I don’t know
when, they had slipped back into their house and shut the blinds. I left the
hot pan and half-cooked biscuits sizzling in the grass and headed back to the
One of us went to bed hungry that night. I’ll let you guess which one.
When my son was about six or seven, I took him to his
first baseball game, a Brevard Manatees exhibition game. Along about the sixth
inning, we were getting fairly hungry and headed down to the concessions
booths. We were about fourth or fifth in line when my son announced, “Hey dad,
somebody dropped a dollar.”
Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne, Florida
I looked down, and between our feet was a dollar bill,
folded twice. I told him, “Go ahead and pick it up.” So he bent down and picked
up the bill.
“Dad, should I ask the man in front of us if he dropped it?” he
asked. I admired his desire for honesty, but I explained to him a micro-lesson
in human behavior: If you offer a person something of value, and ask, ‘Is this
yours?’ an unscrupulous person will always say ‘yes’ and take your offering,
even if it’s not honestly theirs. I told him a better way would be to wait and
see what happens when the man pulls his money out to pay. If he notices he is
missing money, he will start looking around for it. Then is a good time to
offer the money you found to him.
We waited through several customers, and none seemed to be missing money, so after about five minutes or so, I told my son he could keep the dollar. We returned to our seats. We sat down and he unfolded the bill and said, “Dad, it’s not a dollar — it’s twenty dollars!” Then he quickly added, “I think I’m gonna like baseball.”
My father-in-law had an old huntin’ dog that he figured was worth some pretty good money, so he put her up for sale. Pretty soon a neighbor man came around and offered him a $100 for the dog. My father-in-law sold it.
The next day, he got to regrettin’ old Blue not bein’ around,
and he called the man up and asked to buy his dog back. The man said “O.K, but
I’ve kinda growd to like her. She’ll cost you $150.” My father-in-law paid for
the dog and went home. He was glad to have her back that day, but when
nightfall came, the dog got the itch to hunt. The dog howlin’ and scratchin’ at
the door kept him up all night, so the next morning, he called the other man
He said, “If you still want the dog, I’ll sell her back to
you, but I’ll have to have what I should’a charged you the first time — she’s
gonna’ be $200 now.” The man thought about it for a little while and then said
he’d take her.
Dad got to thinkin’ a couple days later about what a good huntin’ dog she was and eager she was to go hunting the night she was back. “It’s no tellin what that dog’s really worth,” he thought to himself. So he called the man to buy her back again. The man said, “Sorry, Clifford. I sold that dog to a man over in Chinquapen. He gave me $300 for her.” Cliff said, “Why’d you do that, you fool? We was both making good money off’n that dog.”