Most days I spend two dollars on the Missouri Lottery - buying one Missouri Lotto ticket and one Show Me Cash. The Missouri Lotto is drawn twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so by the time a drawing rolls around I have accumulated either three or four tickets - each with two sets of numbers.
The basic prize on the Missouri Lotto is a free ticket for matching three numbers on a line of six numbers - 1 to 44. I do that occasionally and have actually won three free tickets ion the last two weeks. The next prize up is usually between twenty and thirty dollars for matching four numbers on the same line. (The prize amount varies according to how many tickets were sold for each drawing.) I have won that about five times over the years. Anyone who matches five of the six numbers wins several hundred dollars - and six of six wins the jackpot - currently $1.3 million. The jackpot rises $100,000 each drawing. Occasionally the Missouri Lotto jackpot will rise to five or six million dollars before some lucky soul hits all six numbers and cleans it out. Then the top prize reverts to one million dollars.
Show Me Cash starts its climb at $50,000 and sometimes works its way up to three or four hundred thousand dollars before it gets hit. The Show Me tickets are just five numbers - 1 to 39 - and the drawings happen seven nights a week. The lowest prize is $1.00 for matching two of the five numbers, followed by $10 for matching three of five, and $250 for hitting four of five. I hit the two of five every couple of weeks - and remarkably have also managed to do so on the last three drawings. I have won the ten dollar prize on three or four occasions, and nothing beyond that.
While I am on a roll with three minor wins over the past three days, I also realize that I have not "won" anything, just replaced the three dollars that I spent on the tickets to begin with.
There is a drawing coming up, however, that I feel certain I will win. A few days ago I felt pressured to buy a raffle ticket from a guy who is part of our pinochle group. He was selling chances to benefit a couple of Marine Corps charities - including Toys for Tots and Wounded Warriors - both good causes. The prizes were all gun and gun-related:
1st Prize: Ruger AR-556 Model 8500, M-4 Style (Retail $749.00) (An automatic rifle)As someone who has a marked disdain of guns and the gun culture, I suspect that there is no way I can lose. The former Marine who sold me the ticket asked later what I would do with the gun if I won, and I told him I would take up squirrel hunting. In truth, I will probably sell it and invest the proceeds in something more worthwhile - like Missouri lottery tickets!
2nd Prize: Ruger LC9s, 9mm Model 3325 (Retail $449.00) (A pistol)
3rd Prize: 2 Concealed Carry Classes
Or, more likely, sell it and give the money to Gabby Giffords to use with her anti-gun work.
Or, more likely still, use an acetylene torch to turn it into a piece of fine art.
One thing is certain, however, with me as the winner, the squirrels are safe!
(Note to Bill Gates and the geniuses at Microsoft" "Prize" is a word, and I have spelled it correctly. Buy a dictionary!)