My brother turns 18 tomorrow. In celebration of this, I bought him a lottery ticket (and Firefly, Serenity, and the descriptively titled The Orange Box game but that's another story.) The Lottery Ticket I chose was of the CSI variety and across the yellow police tape at the top of the ticket, it read"Solve the Crime to Win Up To $75 000". Oooh solving crimes, I thought, and picked out a second one for myself.
Now the way it works is this: you scratch the entire crime scene and each of the corresponding symbols in your files. In the end, one suspect, one tool, one procedure, and one evidence box remain. Then you scratch the "crime solved" box. If it matches any of your four symbols, you win!
The way it happened was this: my first symbol matched, and I laughed. The second matched and I got excited. When the third also matched, I figured I must have misunderstood something along the way. Maybe if they matched, it meant I'd lost? I flipped it over to re-read the directions. Nope, no mistake. I was...winning?!
Up until now, I'd been playing the ticket half-heartedly, while watching Third Watch (a sad one where a major character dies) and with one remaining symbol to be revealed, I hit pause, and moved from the sofa to the kitchen. I don't know why I needed that change of scenery. Maybe I thought the cool glass of the kitchen table would ground me.
Telling myself to remain calm, I carefully scratched the last area..........and it matched.
I was starting to feel lightheaded. Vision blurring a little, I squinted at the lottery ticket and checked the symbols again. There had to be some catch, some trick. People win big bucks on lottery tickets, it's true, but I'm not those people. I'm one of the masses who get 3 corners when you need 4 to win. If you need to uncover all the letters of a word, I'm one of the people who gets an "x" when I need an "a". There had to be some trick...or maybe...could it be I really was up to 75K richer? But I wasn't prepared! I didn't even have a "happy dance" ready for the occasion.
I stood up. Still squinting and nearing delirium, I stubbornly looked for the catch, and the amount of money I'd won. I didn't see anything in the fine print on the back, nothing other the "up to 75, 000" and "win up to 4 times" on the front.
And then I realized what I'd been missing. Yes, I had finally deduced what the catch was. And a catch there was. I had to scratch the prize lots beside each symbol in my files to see the amount won. Slowly, with a mixture of trepidation and esctasy, I scratched each prize lot with my potentially-soon-to-be-framed quarter.
And afterwards I did what I'd dreamed about over the years: I called my mom and told her I'd won the lottery!!
Of course, with Monday being a holiday and all, I won't be able to collect my winnings till Tuesday...but for $12, I think I can manage some patience.