The late, great Randy Watkinson called it. He said the state lottery was “a tax on the stupid.”


At Cobb Manor, the only thing worse than having a losing ticket on Sunday (or Thursday) morning is to have no ticket at all. With no ticket, you are just left with that empty, echoing feeling that you had no chance of winning that $1 million (or more) to buy a brand new Subaru Forester, in green, naturally.

I do few things religiously, like going to church. But I do buy a Megabucks (almost) every Friday at Fowlie’s Overpriced Emporium, or FOE, in Camden. Since I have been doing this for decades, I figure I am due. Overdue.

Two weeks ago, I was just so busy (doing nothing) that I somehow missed buying a ticket. When I walked into FOE on Monday morning I was asked, “Was it you?”

I searched my fading memory for what I might have done of notice. While I stood there, open-mouthed and searching, I was informed that someone won $30,000 on Saturday night on a FOE ticket.

Wasn’t me, I confessed, and wiped away a few bitter tears.

That was my money.

Now there are two ways of looking at this. Does this mean that FOE had used all of its luck for the decade? Or does this mean that FOE is starting a winning streak, one that will get me a small farm in southern Ireland and that Subaru Forester?

Yes, it is a tax on the stupid. Naturally, I bought a Megabucks ticket for the next week, plus a Weekly Grand. For those luckily un-addicted, the Weekly Grand will pay you  $1,000 (less taxes) a week, for 20 damn years. I figure after taxes that is $600 bucks a week, $2,400 a month or  $31,200 a year in my pocket.

I am lottery-stupid but not greedy. I don’t need a $50 million prize to be happy. If I had that much money, David Grima would expect me to pay off his house and buy him a new Subaru Forester (green), too. But a mere $31,200 annually would allow me to continue my humble lifestyle with a few more paid bills.

On Sunday morning, I made my coffee (Starbucks Sumatra), turned on the computer and checked the lottery numbers immediately. The winning Weekly Grand numbers were 5-9-19-29 with a Lucky Ball of 31. You can look it up.

I checked my ticket. Where they had a 5, I had a 4. Where they had a 9, I had an 8. Where they had a 19, I had a 20. Where they had a 29, I had a 30.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Lucky Ball was 31 and I had a 30.

So near, but yet so far. There went the $31,200 for 20 years — my $624,000. Out the window. There goes the new Forester. Out the window.

Now we are back at square one. How do I read this? Is this an indication that I am coming closer and closer to my ultimate reward? Or does this mean I had my chance at the $624,000 and muffed it?

Should I buy twice as many lottery tickets? Or should I take my losses like a man and walk away, never to approach the FOE counter again for those cursed tickets?

I think you know the answer. It is a tax on the stupid.

But the Subaru Forester (green) awaits.