Just remember the odds

MICHAEL COX
Last updated 07:54 17/09/2012

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Michael Cox

'Call me David' too nice, too UN to stay the distance Tougher benefit criteria exposes those not in need The power and the glory, the manse and the car Morse signals and flags still got the message through Cracking the code for cripple in cockney rhyming slang Key passes end-of-year examination Invention of the decade has lifted my TV-watching mood Unions make hay behind the flurrying skirts of the fracas Watching the supermarket wildlife Romney, Key share solid economic credentials, cachet

She has for a long time attracted me from afar. She has no real cause for concern because at my age I'm a bit like a dog chasing a car - I've long forgotten what to do with it even if I did catch it. Nevertheless, here is this woman of my dreams selling me a lotto ticket. My palms began to sweat; I was temporarily lost for words; my heart beat jumped until my blood pressure medication kicks in and she, paragon of virtue that I know her to be, helped me out by using those marketing words that have separated millions of us each week from our hard-earned cash, “you've got to be in to win!" I handed over $12 for a Big Wednesday Dip; there had been something in the way she said "try a big one, big man!"

I was sucker punched; I couldn't resist the temptation and left carrying two yellow pieces of paper, walking on clouds; I might just win $20 million - whoopee! I'll give her a very large tip if I do.

As I came down to earth I checked what the odds were of me winning - one in 31,781,400. But even those sobering figures didn't stop me dreaming and I guess this is the joy for us when we've purchased the ticket. We work out how we'd distribute our winnings, and isn't that fun? Visit each of the children and give them each a really chunky cheque that will clear their mortgages: think about setting up a charitable trust but then back off that idea because of the volumes of paperwork required by that ravenous government department that controls such things, and finally I'd give half of what's left to 'er in doors. Oh, such lovely dreams and worth every cent of $12.

I wouldn't get a new car; all those nosey parkers in our small town would immediately have me as the winner, and anyway I'm very comfortable in my 15-year-old Camry with 200,000km on the clock; it's just so comfortable even if it's a bit of struggle to get in and out of it. Getting in is easier because at some point I just let go and gravity takes over, which is fine unless I've forgotten the bag of groceries I've left on my car seat; scrambled eggs anybody?

I might just buy that $800 jacket I've admired on the tailor's rack, but haven't purchased because I never quite managed to get those extra dollars into my bank account. It all makes me realise that I lack for very little; I'm at that time in in life where I have enough to keep me content without going overboard. I really don't need too much and even now when I go and buy another six pairs of underpants, I morbidly think ‘well those should see me out'. And oh yes, I can think of half a dozen people to whom I would like to quietly and anonymously give $5000; wouldn't that be fun?

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The truth is that we all enjoy the chance to hope for enrichment of our humdrum lives, albeit on the stock exchange, the racecourse, the casino or even with the humble Lotto ticket. But hang on a minute; perhaps enough of this parsimonious approach to my big win. Suddenly I find that even when I invest my remaining $10m at 5 per cent I am having over $6000 interest, after tax, deposited into my bank account each week. Maybe I'd splash out just a bit. I'd go to my favourite city in the world, New York. It's so in your face, so vibrant and with no quarter given. I'll book into the Waldorf, top-floor suite for a couple of weeks; go to all the shows, spend a couple of days rather than the usual couple of hours, at The Metropolitan Art Gallery, get cabs everywhere and fly first class. Yeah, that should get the spending bug out of my system. I'd like to take 'er in doors, but she'd have to pay her own way now that she is so rich! Oh, by the way, I've just checked and I didn't even get two numbers right on my ticket. But I loved thinking about the lost chances and I did manage to look into the lovely eyes of that sales woman who inveigled me into buying that ticket; remember "you've got to be in to win!"

- © Fairfax NZ News

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