Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm going to be rich!!!

Recently, I've decided I'm going to become rich, crazy, stupid, wealthy rich. And, all I have to do is buy a lottery ticket and bingo, I'm rich!
As a kid growing up, I was always taught that gambling is a bad thing. I was told that work, study and savings were the true way of becoming financially secure, and if I did really well, wealthy.
And then, a chink in the armor. I heard my church was offering bingo as a way of fund raising. Innocent enough, I thought. God will look the other way while the Church is raising the funds to spread His word.
And then, a raffle for a car. My goodness, someone I know is going to win a car, a brand new car. And for a chance, all I have to do is plunk down $5 and I'm in the game. Fantastic!! Should I pray for it? Hmmm.
Then, in 1988, the State of Wisconsin figured if it's good enough for God, why can't we get in the game? So began the Wisconsin Lottery. Why would the State get in the game? For education, of course. How could gambling be bad if it funds education? Hmmmm.
But, the State Legislature, in a lucid moment, thinking some might object, mandated that advertising for the lottery must be informative, not promotional. Well, that could make it more, well, moral, they thought.
So, as I watched the ads, I saw talking cows in the Moo-Lah game, very informative. And crazy rich people in limousines touting Megabucks. Interesting. I guess the informational part there is you will get rich if you play. And then, at the end of the ad, in print that only an electron microscope could decipher, the odds, the risks, the rules, all of those informational things the State mandated scrolled down the screen. Well, I guess they passed the informational test. Hmmmmm.
So, when I go to the convenience store and I see the car running outside, the kids in the back and mom playing scratch off games inside; is this what the State considered? What choices are being made to play the game. Is it milk or Moo-lah? Is it pancakes or Powerball? Granted, for most, it isn't, and this is a cliche scenario. But, how does something become cliche?, because it never happens??
I still have trouble walking through casinos without thinking that a good portion of the people there are losing money they can't afford to lose. They gamble because they have to, because they can't stop, because it's beyond an urge. Didn't the State consider this when they instituted these games?
Sometimes I just wonder.

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