I Bet; Shirley Jackson Once Wore Blue Jeans

Most American’s have been talking a lot lately about The Lottery. The jackpot actually exceeded one billion dollars. News anchors are covering the ticket lines where potential winners are lined up for their chance; for their chance to win big! Billboards are flashing hope! Office pools are springing up around the water coolers, and casual conversations are turning into: “What would you do if you won?”

Well, I have a different question to ask, I have a different seed to sow, because I’m not interested in winning, or who even wins. I’m interested in what the lottery does to the psyche. Why is it so important that everyone throw their own hat into the ring? Why does the thought of winning so much money, transcend the odds of actually winning?

I believe it all comes into focus with one simple question: “What if I win?”

What. If. I. Win?

Even a level headed individual is affected by this magic trick…

In order to identify what is happening when I talk about the lottery, I think it is important for me to define what gambling is.

The by the book definition of gambling:

The wagering of money on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money.

With that said, it’s important to note that gambling includes three major elements.

  • Consideration
  • Chance
  • Prize

What are other events in life that contain these three major elements?

-Taking a job, finding a partner, buying a house, trying new food, waking up, reading a book, taking out the garbage, going to see a movie, etc.

Almost everything in life contains some type of consideration, chance and prize. I would almost wager that every single thing that is involved being alive contains two of those three elements. To identify them more specifically, we find ourselves faced with six potential outcomes:

  • Consideration + Chance
  • Consideration + Prize
  • Chance + Prize
  • Chance + Consideration
  • Prize + Consideration
  • Prize + Chance

Every decision we make is a conclusion reached after consideration.
Every prize we receive is contingent on an individual perspective and understanding.
Every every chance we take is based off a scale of shallow or deep consideration.

So what separates the lottery from everyday life?


Plain and simple.

Money. Money. Money.

Lottery means the prospect of money.

It means that you can take care of all those little worries that have been troubling you. Money can wash away the troubles of the day to day. Money can provide for those in need, and for those in want. Money can be used to buy things, but it can’t be used to grow your own hair.

Money. Money. Money

What if money had less of a value on preconceived worth? What if money was a means and not an end.  Because, there is a realization of reality that I continue to return to.  A realization that life is not a symptom of money, or words, or definition.

Life is this, and this is it.


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