Good morning, and welcome to another edition of the ongoing documentation of my ongoing mental collapse. I’ve decided that Tuesday shall be the weekly day of blogging. Though it might be Wednesday, who knows.
A few days off for me, now. Hopefully, for the rest of this week, the sky will keep its shit together, and refrain from bombarding my windscreen with hailstones the size of walnuts, reducing the visibility to around two centimetres or turning the road into a canal or any of that sort of shit.
Another sincere hope of mine is that this coming Friday won’t be a EuroMillions rollover, or double rollover or bajillionairre raffle or whatever they’re now using to lure people toward the lottery like docile insects toward a machine specifically designed to kill docile insects.
MMMMMM! The EuroMillions draw. Huge prizes, pathetic odds, who could fail to be drawn in? You’ve seen a picture on page 15 on the Daily Express of an awful man and his awful wife, letting loose a bottle of champagne, leering in the way that only the utterly hateful are capable. You think, “Fuck, I hate those people. Why can’t I be more like them?”
And you buy a ticket.
They have this new supplemental game on EuroMillions tickets now. It’s called the ‘Millionaire Raffle’. One random ticket gets a million pounds. Wow, that’s great! A million pounds. What are the odds of that? Well, on a Friday they reckon 9.2 million people buy a ticket, so one in 9.2 million.
“Hey buddy! You want a one in nine chance of winning a pound? That’ll be two pounds, please! Thank’ee sah!”
I can only guess that this means that Camelot (and their mainland equivalents) end up with a fuckton of extra cash that they need to give out in prize money. So, every so often, instead of just one millionaire raffle thingy, there are A HUNDRED! Last week was one such occasion. Now, I’m not what you’d call numerically literate (rather literally innumerate) but I can see something here. Something big. The odds are now not one in 9.2million. They’re one in 92,000! “Holy fuck!” says everyone in the country, “let’s go and buy a MILLION tickets!” The ensuing stampede sends the odds plummeting to one in 9.2 billion.
You might be thinking that the raffle is just a supplementary thing, and that the main draw is where the money really lies. Well, no. Fuck the main draw. The EuroMillions website sums the main draw up quite nicely:
“Although the odds of winning a EuroMillions jackpot are 1 in 116,531,800, it is perfectly possible for someone buying a ticket for the very first time to win straight away.”
Well, there you go. It is ‘perfectly possible’. What more do you want? I want Michael Jackson to return from the dead and re-enact the ‘Thriller’ video on the forecourt for my amusement. THAT’S ABOUT AS FUCKING LIKELY.
I could have a little more sympathy if people limited themselves to a single ticket – there’s some romance in that, maybe. You’re buying into a dream – a stupid, greedy dream, but I suppose all dreams are like that to a certain extent. Maybe you scratch off your numbers carefully. Maybe they’re somehow important to you. I can get behind that. Maybe you think the day your divorce finally came through holds some cosmic significance. Maybe the day you shipped your mother-in-law off to the old people’s home. Well, whatever, that’s not so harmful.
Maybe you don’t give a shit about that sort of thing, and elect to have a ‘lucky dip’ instead. For the uninitiated, a ‘lucky dip’ is a way of circumventing that superstitious crap. The machine picks some random numbers for you. A lot of time saved, you might think. Good for busy people who don’t think their daughter’s birthday is any luckier than Josef Mengele’s birthday. I can get behind that, too. Except some people use this efficiency saving and take it a little too far:
“I want fifty lucky dips!” they demand.
“Fifty?” I reply. “As in, five zero?”
“I want seventy lucky dips!”
“ONE HUNDRED LUCKY DIPS. GIVE ME ALL OF THE LUCKY DIPS IN THE WORLD SO I MAY BE THE LUCKIEST MUAHAHAHAHAAAAAHAA!!!!”
These people return, usually the following day. Most people don’t come back, but the lunatics that spend hundreds of pounds always do. They have no choice; obviously they can’t just check the numbers themselves. There are quite a lot of them, after all.
A woman hands me a fistful of tickets. Each one has sixteen quidsworth of plays on it. She has spent hundreds on these things, here. I feed them into the machine, one by one. The machine’s little wheels whir as it swallows the slip. A little message appears on the screen. “Sorry,” it says, “not a winner.” I feed in some more slips, and the machine devours them as well.
Sorry not a winner.
Sorry not a winner.
Sorry not a winner.
Congratulations! You have won £2.60
Sorry not a winner.
People don’t seem to be able to grasp the numbers involved, here. Perhaps some sort of visual aid is in order. Imagine, if you will, a roulette wheel. It’s exactly the same as a normal roulette wheel, except that someone (a maniac, probably) has coloured in nine-tenths of the wheel in green. Despite this, at the bottom of the table, there are 9 million people all crowding around to stack their chips on red and black. They look disappointed when their money is taken, and then put more chips on red and black.
I am grateful for some time off from this insanity. I do have one futher hope to add though: I hope that, upon my return, the current issues of Hello!, OK!, New! and Star! have all buggered off back to whatever hell they crawled from, and I will no longer have to endure the angry baby-face of the future monarch eyeballing me from the magazine rack. Why the readers of these magazines would want such an extreme close up of this child’s face, I have no fucking clue. It looks shrivelled – almost malformed, in the way that newborn babies do. It looks like it could transform at the slightest whiff of human blood, pull out a wand and assassinate Cedric Diggory.
It freaks me out.
Until the next time, mofos.