Spiteful Long Game

I get scratch tickets in my stocking every Christmas. That’s not all I get, mind you, but I do look forward to them. Scratch tickets are a family pastime. When I go home to visit, I end up shot gun in my mother’s car outside a 7 Eleven hunched over some Red Sox themed ticket, mumbling “Nothing, not even a friggin dollar. Did YOU win anything?”
I’ve been playing scratch tickets since I can remember. Where I come from, they are considered gifts. I give scratch tickets to people for their birthday, Christmas, as a thank you; whenever it is a gift giving occasion. Who doesn’t like the chance to win money?
There have been times when I bought scratch tickets for gifts then got the sneaking suspicion there was a winner in the bunch. Suddenly I’m scratching through Julie’s birthday present and I haven’t won a cent. Thirty dollars down and, not only do I still need to get a present, I’m pretty sure the next ticket in that roll at the corner store is a winner. Back to the corner store I go. This $30 dollar gift of chance turns into a story of loss and poor time management.
On the other hand, I have bought tickets, exhibited self-control and given the intact bunch to the intended recipient. I present them with a hug and a smile and a cheeky “Now if you win, remember me” usually they respond with a “OK, I’ll split the winnings” Then I hover and eventually say something like “Well, aren’t you going to scratch them?” I can’t have somebody who did me a silly favor win fifty grand on a scratch ticket I gave them and never tell me. No way.
It runs in my family. My mother’s primary goal in life is to single handedly beat the system of the Massachusetts State Lottery. She’ll call me with info on a new scratch off that people have been winning with. She knows a website where she can see all the winnings from which ticket. Or so she says. “That Celtics one, a lot of people are winning on that. Get me two….no get ten!”
Nobody has ever won big. It doesn’t matter. Our historical evidence of loss does not impact the excitement.
I’m been big into the Queen of Green. It’s a $5 ticket. I’ve won about $25 but spent about $140.
And I will go back again, look the guy right in the eye, and buy another one.
My new thing is, when I buy scratch tickets at my neighborhood bodega I say “I’ll take two of the Queen of Greens” then I sing the Monkees “’Cuz I’m a Believer”
The guy has never laughed.
Not once.
Last time, I explained to him why it was funny and he still didn’t laugh.
Next time, I might have to play games I am unfamiliar with.
Games I need to ask a lot of questions about.
Games I need to pick numbers for.
A lot of numbers.
In complicated combinations.
See if he gets a laugh out of that.
Sure, it will take me a lot more time than just buying the scratch ticket I really want but being spiteful has always been my long game.

Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.
twitter @theotherkendra

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