'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WHAT IF A JERK-POT WON THE JACKPOT?
There was a story in the news recently about a Lottery jackpot drawing, where one winning ticket was sold, but for many days no one came forward to claim the prize. The news media speculated on two possible scenarios: first, the person who purchased the winning ticket did not know he even had the winning ticket.
This unfortunate situation has occurred occasionally over the years. A person will buy a Lotto ticket, or receive one as a gift, and forget to check the winning numbers. So month after month a little slip of paper that is literally worth millions of dollars sits in the back corner of a desk drawer along with other valuable items, such as: broken pencils, bent paper clips, double-A batteries that have lost their charge, a bottle of fossilized White-Out, a nine-year-old melted and sticky cough drop, a Christmas card from 1997, and some business expense receipts that were supposed to be turned in during fiscal year 2002.
The other scenario speculated on by the media was that the holder of the winning ticket was taking a few days to consult with lawyers and accountants, so that when he received the huge financial prize he would already have a plan in place to invest it wisely and minimize his tax burden.
Well, the press forgot about a third scenario. It’s possible the holder of the winning ticket was taking a few days before announcing that he was about to become a millionaire, to visit all of his friends and relatives and start big arguments.
After knocking on the front door, a conversation starts something like this: “Hi Uncle Morty. It’s me. Long time no see. Hey, are you drunk again before noon? Wow, you look like hell…”
Then a few minutes later the conversation ends with a loud, “You never want to see ME again? Fine, Uncle Morty, I never want to see YOU again either!” And then the fellow walks back to his car with a big smile on his face, crosses one more name off a list, and drives across town to begin another contentious conversation by saying, “Hi Aunt Shirley. Boy, are you fat! What did you do, swallow a whole cow? And what’s that smell? Don’t you bathe anymore?”
A few days later, just imagine what Morty and Shirley—along with every neighbor, co-worker, and member of the high school graduating class of 1983—will think when they turn on the TV news and see a press conference at Lottery headquarters, featuring the person they just had a vicious argument with, being introduced as the state’s latest zillion dollar winner.
Later that evening the phone rings, and a contrite voice says, “It’s me, your Uncle Morty. Look, I’m really sorry for what I said…” But Morty is cut off with a curt, “Sorry, you made it very clear that you never want to see me again, so I will honor your wishes.” Click.
Now, of course, I would never engage in such self-centered, rude behavior, even if it drastically reduced the number of requests from family members and “long lost” pals to share the wealth. For one thing, I am way too passive-aggressive to confront someone and purposely start an argument. For another thing, I never buy Lotto tickets, which means my odds of winning the jackpot are, well, exactly the same as someone who does buy Lotto tickets. And finally, I would never purposely start arguments with my family members, neighbors, co-workers, classmates from 30 years ago, and fellow parishioners, because none of them are on speaking terms with me anyway.
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