So, the jackpot for the Big Wednesday lottery is up to $35 million tonight. Whatever that means.
I’ve never bought a Big Wednesday ticket, but (googlegooglegoogle) it costs $5 minimum, and one of the things you have to decide is a heads or tails option for a cyber coin toss.
And then if you win (because you are special and deserve to win), then you get a car and a boat and a beach house and a whole buttload of cash ‘n’ shit. Because you’re special. You deserve to to win. You’ve worked hard.
But the chances of winning Big Wednesday are really really really slim.
Victoria University anthropologist Peter Howland says people are more likely to die in an plane crash than win Big Wednesday tonight. He says the odds of hitting the jackpot tonight are a dismal one in 38 million, making it a near certainty that if you buy a ticket, you will lose.
“Those odds are so astronomical they’re outside of everybody’s everyday experience … outside of everybody’s ability to comprehend.”
So why do people buy tickets? Well, it helps that there’s a big ad campaign attached to Big Wednesday, as well as extensive media coverage of the big jackpots.
And that’s my general objection to Big Wednesday. It’s not the gambling aspect (there are much worse forms of gambling) or the dumbness of buying a ticket because the chances of winning are so incredibly low. It’s the dumbness of getting sucked in to all the hype surrounding it.
I’m tired of seeing my friends – smart, cool people – standing in line to buy Big Wednesday tickets. It implies that their excellent lives are somehow lacking something. That all the cool things in their lives – their families, the things they create – somehow lack something that only $35 million can replace. $35,000 isn’t enough. Nor is $350,000. No, only $35 million can fill that empty empty hole.
Yeah, you’ve worked hard. You’ve made sacrifices, like not going out tonight because you have kids now and you need to spend time with them while they’re young (How many people do that, eh?) And while you’ve never specifically wanted a boat, if you won Big Wednesday and they gave you a boat, well, you wouldn’t say no to that. You invite your friends over and go for a cruise on the harbour and have a barbecue on the boat and drink pinot gris and Monteiths Radler and other stuff that people do on boats. I mean, it wouldn’t be like that “I’m on a Boat” video (that’s just silly) but it would be quite nice. Yeah.
And surely – because the universe is just and fair and, well, you are are special – surely you’re going to win Big Wednesday and not have one of the five million tickets that won’t win.
Well, if I were you, I’d take that $5 and go down to your local video shop and rent the 1978 coming-of-age flick “Big Wednesday“. Set in the 1960s and ’70s, it’s about three surfer friends (Jan-Michael Vincent! William Katt! Gary Busey!) who go through the turmoil of the late ’60s, Vietnam, love, war, heartbreak and pain.
It’s about how sometimes life is kind of lousy, and how you don’t always get everything you want. But when you look at your life in any closeness, you realise that you actually already have everything you could possibly want.