The lottery. Mentioned in the title of this blog, but not really examined in any real depth up until now -- excepting the preceding poetic divergence from my usual bullshit. And no, I don't really give a shit anymore as to whether or not my flowery statements come of as heavyhanded. Deal with it.
Of course, this dialogue is only in my head; don't be alarmed, it's merely meant to come off as comic relief. Of course, again, my idea of comic relief may be akin to laughing at a paraplegic who has dropped their ice cream cone onto the hot summer pavement of an anonymous convenience store parking lot, watching helplessly as it gradually withers away into a congealing pool of liquid the consistency of half-dried, latex interior paint with a garish hue of pinkish blue. Not funny per say, but riveting. And an excellent way to spend twenty minutes, although I suppose I could forego the trouble and the sunburn by watching Spike TV instead. The mentally or physically infirm (present company excluded) are what the military would refer to as "soft targets" -- in the context of comedy anyways. They're usually fair game for bombs, what with their dodging skills being what they are.
So, should I lay off said people for, say, a penchant for games of chance? No chance. Because everyone plays the lottery. Sure, the easy route around the issue is to paint it as a blurry impressionistic mess entitled "Obese, near-crazyperson blows the bounty of Thursday's social assistance cheque on a hopeless endeavour and retreats to a rooming house which reeks of urine -- both human and otherwise -- and vomit -- both human and otherwise".
Unfair. Because every section of society is represented in the lotto game. Why? Because greed knows no boundaries of social class. Let me rephrase that, since greed would infer that the person already has a considerable fortune. I'll call this urge a simple yearning for wealth, or simpler still, a yearning for basic living standards. Much nicer than greed, and less sinful sounding. It's the driving principle behind investment; you're willing to part with a smaller pile of stones with the understanding that there's a chance you'll get a much bigger pile in return.
Those willing to risk a bigger pile have often worked at some level of proficiency within "respectable" society to earn or embezzle enough to move beyond living from cheque to cheque, and henceforth work through the channels befitting them. I won't use the term "rich" here, since a lot of middle-class folks (whose deaths have, hopefully, been much exaggerated as of late) have portfolios, at least in the form of RRSPs. So rather than hedge their bets on such simplistic things as a $2 Crossword ticket (rather, hundreds of them), they turn to those much more romanticized acronymic hives of greed (yes, I mean it this time) run by sweaty red-faced men in expensive suits. Not the ALC, but the TSE, or maybe...NASDAQ! It looks better with an exclamation point. Softens it. Still the most snappily-named stock exchange, though.
But when a mortgage is simply something you do in desperation during a game of Monopoly, and Chunky Soup is considered a balanced meal (both vegetables and meat, allegedly), one can hardly be bothered with poring over stock listings and dealing with brokerage houses; you simply blow your last five bucks on a Crossword Deluxe and a Monte Carlo, scratch away for a few minutes and walk out of the store disgusted with yourself. Or, if you're like the self-proclaimed scratch-ticket-man in Atlantic Lotto's latest ads, you have an aneurysm over winning enough to buy your wife a cup of coffee. Myself? I'd spend it on hard drugs, then return to my apartment.