Sunday, August 26, 2007

Voluntary Tax

What a buzz this weekend. Powerball was up to a high of $314MM. Quite a sum indeed. And now, one lucky winner will get to step forward to claim the loot.

It will not be me. I did not buy a ticket.

There is a Catholic Church a block away from my house. Two nights a week the parish hall swarms with the elderly, low income crowd, hoping to hit the big Bingo jackpot and reap a little joy.

It won't be me, I do not play.

Have you ever noticed that the voluntary tax always seems to be paid by those least likely to be able to afford it?

One of my favorite novels is "The Wrong Side of the Sky" by Gavin Lyall. In it there is one scene where the main character is laying on the bed of his cheap hotel room, staring at the ceiling, daydreaming the dream that is dreamt by many others in the same circumstances, in the same cheap hotel rooms around the world, of riches.

I don't ever expect to win the lottery.

But, I still do occasionally buy a Mega Millions ticket. Why? For the entertainment value.

Where else can you experience so many emotional ups and downs for a buck? The anticipation as you buy the ticket - knowing that you don't have a chance in hell of winning while at the same time having (statistically at least) the same chances as everyone else. The rush of checking the numbers to see if (just maybe) your payday has come in. The let down as you see that if hasn't. And then when you see that (more likely than not) noone else has won, the hope and dream that the next drawing (if you plunk down another buck) you can go through it all again.

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