As the Powerball Lottery in my geographic region just went over $400M, I again started to daydream about winning that shit. I bought a single ticket, because my chance is just as good as any other person’s chance. And on Sunday we sang a praise song about how nothing on Earth is quite as good as anything in Heaven. The message from the song was clear, the message from our pastor was clear, and in my notes I wrote it: “Faith in God makes your perspective about our earthly struggles much clearer, but it doesn’t do shit about fixing them. You have to muddle through just like everyone else.” Struggles, he might have just as well said problems, frustrations, disappointments, pain, or whatever other “big picture” word you can pick.
On Friday night, I rested my sore ass after working hard all week at this same shit job, and doing a half-assed job with house work, because my back was twitching and unmedicated. Literally, I hurt from back to legs, just enough to twitch when I tried to stand and walk. And that’s just truth, not a complaint. I endured, and that’s not a complaint either. I’ll explain in a second.
At least I’m not a plumber, because then my shit job would be a literal shit job. I don’t mind dealing with my family’s shit, but I really don’t want to deal with a world of shit. So, I celebrated my tiny shit job ending for the week, and had a tall glass of lemonade while wishing my back would stop hurting. If I had copay money, I might know a good chiropractor, but instead I tried stretching and waiting, because it’s cheaper. On Saturday, I mowed a half-acre of grass and did some volunteer work, the completion of which were their own reward. And I drove home from these tasks, took a hot shower, and rested my sore ass. This time I had grape kool-aid, because we had finished the lemonade and I got to choose. There’s still my quarter-acre and the other half of mum’s acre, so 3/4 acres to mow this week if I can fit it in. And, at least I’m not a landscaper or mowing service, because having it as a job means that’s got to be done to earn money, and it was too hot to do anything Sunday. Imagine being out in the hot sun all summer long and then, when the landscape business dries up with the spring and summer rains, you do something else to earn money I guess. Engine repair, sharpening lawn mower blades… (“Mmm hmm…,” brain flashed back to Sling Blade’s Billy Bob Thornton character), driving a snowplow and hoping for snow, vs. the rest of us, wary commuters who are hoping the snow and ice only falls on the dormant grass and not the streets, sidewalks and driveways.
It’s barely summer, just getting hot enough to notice. So, I’m still mowing grass, not shoveling snow. I recall in prior, winter storms, when the snowplow played an amusing game with me. I’d diligently shovel my driveway and sidewalk, and the plow would barrel down the street when I finished, and pile that shit off the street and onto my driveway and sidewalk. Only the second round was packed down, and usually icy, so if I didn’t go right back out and shovel again, it would freeze and make my driveway worse than before I shoveled the first time. I say, “amusing.” I mean, something else.
And you know, with my personal mental issues, that in the moment of having to do the thing I just spent the time getting done right, a-fucking-gain, I was not particularly celebrating the opportunity. I mean, I get cranky when my kids don’t do shit, which is all the time, I get frustrated when my wife doesn’t do shit I want her to do, which is all the time, and I get a good rage on when I do something and it falls apart and makes me repeat the process. Lather, rinse, repeat. Tie my shoestrings, I knot the damned things and I’m still walking on
sunshine the damned strings by the end of the day. Bless my heart, my feet are different sizes, profoundly so, and I therefore can’t wear slip on shoes, they just fall off. And I re-tie my shoestrings again.
Guess what? The nature of life, I’m told, is that things routinely happen to cause people to have to, for example, re-tie their shoes, or re-wash a dish that accidently shifts from strainer to soapy water, or re-vacuum or mop a floor someone tracks dirt deposits on. Well, to turn an urban phrase, “I ain’t down wit dat.” I don’t even want to do it the first time, do NOT make me have to do it twice. Or three times. Imagine my consternation with throwing something in a straight line to the trash, from a foot away, and missing. Three times. I stand, my back hurts. I bend. My back hurts. I pick it up. I hover over the trash, release, it sticks to my finger the first time and misses. The second time it hits the rim, and misses. FUCK! I mean, you can laugh, but my back hurts.
We are supposed to struggle, says my pastor. Well, fuck that. I get to a point struggling when I am broken, quicker than your average schmuck, and I want to quit. We are supposed to endure. I have that down to a science. And yet, fuck that too. I know he’s telling us the truth, but I don’t want it to be that way. I don’t like being broken. I don’t like struggling. It’s most often not worth the reward I receive for struggling, at least not in this life. He never did get around to telling us WHY we’re supposed to struggle and endure. I do it for Mrs M and the kids. I do it for a select few of my readers, you know who you are. And I do it as a matter of personal satisfaction. And maybe that’s the point. “…patient [fucking] endurance…” (I just misappropriated Revelation 14:12, if you’re keeping score.)
My church seems to really have an issue with what I do with my money. I watched my tithe check go into the offering plate, written by the lovely hand of Mrs. M. herself. I need to mention it, because I know some people love to walk in smug self-righteousness, stand in the crowd of the proud holier-than-thou people, and sit in judgement. (I just appropriated Psalm 1:1, if you’re keeping score.) Anyway, at the risk of inflating my pride, my “widow’s mite” of a tithe went in, not that it was very much. But my $2 went for a lottery ticket, because there is a chance. I myself took a dim view of the lady who claimed to have spent the month’s rent payment on lottery tickets back when it was a billion dollars. Because that’s just dumb, even if it IS a billion dollars, what do you do when you don’t win? Your landlord still wants that money. Rumor has it she tried to crowd-fund, and almost got away with that except that she implied she’d do it all over again and this wasn’t a one-time impulsive dumb mistake that she learned from.
My bills have to get paid. Even the ones I rescued from a random box Mrs M stuck them in, in an effort to clean house, or in an effort to forget them. I…. don’tunderSTAND!
I like a clean house, don’t get me wrong, but don’t lose the house while you’re putting things “away.” “Away” is not in a random box you plan to sort through when you get around to it. The bill collectors do not care that you don’t know where it is or how much you owe, they just want to get paid. “Patient [fucking] endurance.” (that’s two) On the plus side, I found the fucking bill and put it somewhere it might be found in time to pay it.
Anyway, the point is, I try to be responsible with money, and get the bills paid as well as I can, and then I keep a tiny reserve of a few bucks a week to spend, sometimes. Or give to the kids if they need a little money. I don’t go out to eat, so I might buy a lottery ticket if the jackpot is ridiculously high. Which is to say, anything over a few hundred million. So yes, if you keep score, I wasted $2 last week, because my numbers were not drawn. I’m wasting another $2 this week, unless I win, in which case you’ll change your tune and call it “investing.” And bet me that even those sanctimonious, richer-than-thou pricks who caught lucky breaks and make boatloads of cash more than me, will turn from their pious down-nose-gazing judgement and be all chummy with me if I do. And watch their stunned faces when I tell them to fuck off. Along with the richie-riches who didn’t help me when I humiliated myself and asked them for help. And the ass holes who put the shit on my credit report, not during the big financial crisis that led to the above humiliation, but after I worked my sore ass off and paid a little of that shit off, will be charged at least 30% interest if they want to borrow from me. It’s almost as good as they offered, the bastards.
And the ones who actually DID help me will be paid back with interest, or given a gift and they’ll have to figure out what to do with it.
But yeah, gambling is evil, if it’s your addiction. It’s not mine, because 1) the house always wins; and 2) I can’t afford to be compulsive about it; and 3) if I had the cash, I wouldn’t feel the need to take a chance on more. Why would you bother? I wouldn’t go to Vegas if you paid my ticket, room and board. Because people lose their asses out there. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas[, and it keeps your assets there with it].” If you throw your rent money, or your food money, at your bookie, that’s a problem and you’re going to have a bad time.
Speaking of time, I suppose it is fitting to confess, I’ve daydreamed about the lottery a few times. Enough to plan a few things when I actually do win. You’ll know it’s me from the dental implants, the practical, fuel efficient car, the ridiculous swag I give Mrs. M., the diligence to wrap up details I feel responsible for before quitting my shit job, and the gentle, non-bridge-burning ways I distance myself from certain people. And the way I disappear from view, unless someone who cared about me when I was poverty-stricken needs something. This, however, is a waste of time because I haven’t won yet. Who knows what I could have accomplished, if I had harnessed that time in practical pursuits.
There will be wasted money if I win, but not a whole lot of it. I’ll indulge, because I’ll be able to.
I was a little startled this morning when I went online from work, on the “guest browser” internet access. The provider (not even my company, because the tightwads refuse to offer bandwidth to guest users from the company who are at lunch), refused to connect me to the lottery website and said the reason my request was filtered was “gambling.” So I went on Twitter and found my answer there, stupid ass holes! As an employee, I should be allowed to check on break or at lunch if I can quit my job, using bandwidth provided by my employer. The only reason to not allow it is for people who will abuse it, so I get that. As a guest browsing on your bandwidth, as a non-employee, what’s the reason behind filtering out the lottery website? I should be allowed to check if someone won, just browsing as a guest. I don’t get that one at all. Unless you’re one of those holier-than-thou judges and you believe you’re protecting me from myself. I’m a big boy now, and I don’t have mommy or daddy hovering over me while I take my chances at life, and I don’t need to be prevented from seeing if the lottery jackpot suddenly went down, so I can know whether to bother checking my ticket on the way home after working my sore ass off all day.
There are both practical and recreational uses for the internet, and we all know there is a lighter side to both, and naturally a darker side. Farbeit from me to judge how you recreationally or occupationally use the internet. You may well judge me if I “cast a stone. (Matthew 7 1-3, and John 8:7, scorekeepers)” I recommend the lighter side, but I’m not going to stop you. I know a certain blogger who knowing he’ll probably never meet anyone from the internet, has been known to casually be flirtatious. He’s an ass, but intends no harm. But if that’s sin, then that sin is out there for all to see, just like any other sinner’s “sin.” I wonder if I’d use the internet more, or less, or differently if I won the jackpot and were free to do whatever I wanted. I hope I’d work on my books and my blogs more. But I can’t predict that; I can only hope. There but for not having enough free time I might be the guy everyone looks down on for “sinful” internet activities. You can’t do those things at work, because 1) eww; and 2) I don’t even know what that would be filtered as; and 3) even the lighter side of internet distraction gets filtered by my work computer as “entertainment.” You can’t even do THAT at work, much less anything “worse.”
In my bunker, guests can do what I can afford to let them do. Have a beverage or a few, rest and recharge, carry on harmless flirtation, hide from the zombies, sharpen your z-whackers, practice your marksmanship. Stay for dinner, stay for breakfast, in your own warm comfortable bed, by yourself, guarded by my lack of any real intention and Mrs M’s heretofore un-tested-but-surely-insane jealousy. I don’t favor the commitment of crime, so you probably should do that in someone else’s bunker if that’s what you like to do.
When I win the lottery, that fucking bunker is getting built in a non-virtual, very secret and undisclosed location, by invitation only. “And in the morning, ”
See? I told you I was an ass. But because I didn’t win yet, this past weekend, and I feel I need another shot at it, I’m going to waste another $2 tonight. Just in case someone is still keeping score. And when I win, quite a few of my daydreams will have to be prioritized and accomplished, because I do habitually daydream. It’s cheaper than buying something. I can’t afford to buy much right now, but when I can, I just might. I hope I’m not compulsive, but deliberate and thoughtful.
Do I need this, want this, or is it a stupid impulse I’ll regret later? Or, if I bought this and gave it to someone, would it be a blessing, or a waste? I think those principles will make an excellent guideline for me when I win. It’s funny, for all the judgement I hear from people who don’t participate moderately and conservatively in social sins, I don’t get enraged at having to buy another lottery ticket or at losing yet another $2 if I could afford to spend it and had it in my wallet and went to the store. And sure, it’s probably a stupid impulse I’d regret if not for the happy daydream that chance buys. Will I regret winning? I’ll let you know, but I doubt it. With the knowledge that gambling is viewed as a sin, I bet I’ll finally find out if that song is right.
Speaking of social sins, yesterday was so damned hot, that while I was outside doing yard work, I had a cold beer. And when I finished working outside a few hours later, I had ANOTHER cold beer to cool off, and then a nice hot shower, and then fell into a nice restful sleep. It brings me to this morning. This morning, I did a stretch and felt my back adjust, and it took me a few minutes to realize my back wasn’t aching as bad. So there’s another blessing. Despite not winning the weekends’ drawing, I really did have a little “thank-you-God” party when my back popped. On Sunday, I felt VERY blessed to have those cold beverages in my fridge, and even moreso when my back popped to correct itself. this morning. If it hadn’t, I’d have figured out how to hobble to the car and drive my sore ass to work. If I hadn’t had those beverages, then probably ibuprofen and more grape kool-aid, because it’s just good-tasting. Since I had them, though, I’m probably bordering on alcoholism, if you’re keeping score of all my “sins.” I’ve probably got several others if you are as perfect as the judgemental set are.
But so far, lying isn’t really one of the sins you can charge me with very much.
I really am making waffles on the day after I find out I’ve won the lottery. The best damned waffles, EVER.