Every day is Big Wednesday

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.

From NewstalkZB:

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.

If you love me, you’ll give me a dollar, baby

Today, for the first time ever, I paid attention to the lyrics to the verses of Ray Columbus and the Invaders‘ 1964 hit “She’s a Mod“.

The song is about a guy who fancies a girl and he’s somehow promised to buy her some clothes, but she’s going through all these different fashion styles which is – whoa, there – costing the fellow a pretty penny.

The final verse laments:

Because I wanted her love
I said I’d buy her new clothes.
She took advantage of my trust.
Now I’m broke and completely bust.

The girlfriend finally settles on the mod look, and I think the guy is cheerfully singing this in the chorus because – rejoice – he won’t have to buy her any more clothes!

But as I read these lyrics, I recognised a familiar theme. In N.W.A.‘s 1989 song “I Ain’t Tha 1” Ice Cube warns:

And they’ll get you for your money, son.
Next thing you know you’re getting their hair and they nails done

As a lesson to less savvy men, Ice Cube cautions fellows that women are just after money, and then they’ll make excuses to not have sex with you. His advice is to keep them at a safe distance, just use them for sex, and don’t give them none of yo’ cash.

It’s as if Ice Cube went through a similar situation to Ray, but instead of being happy with his moddishly attired honey, she instead dumped him when the money ran out, leaving him heart-broken and determined to never let it happen again.

So what does a more contemporary take on this theme sound like? Destiny’s Child got there in 2000 with “Independent Woman Pt 1“:

Question: Tell me what you think about me.
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings.

The shoes on my feet – I’ve bought it.
The clothes I’m wearing – I’ve bought it.

So, the well-adjusted modern woman isn’t going to constantly bother her fellow for money to buy nice things – she can buy her own nice stuff with her own money. She’s a bit unsure of how this will affect the traditional male-female relationship, but she’s also quote proud of her financial independence.

Thinking about all this, maybe I’m a really modern woman or something, but the idea of a man giving me money to get my hair cut or buy some clothes, well, it seems really dirty. Beer, yes; frocks, no.

So now all I need to do is write a pop song and/or gangsta rap about my money policy, and I’ll surely be on to a winner.

$20

The big question is, what the dilly-o did I do with that $20 I found on the street?

I took it to a bank and had it split into four $5 notes, and this is what happened to each one.

  1. I bought a Lotto ticket. I got a $5 lucky dip, and it occurred to me that Lotto tickets cost exactly the same as they did back when Lotto started in 1988. I didn’t win anything, so therefore I do not get my velvet Elvis paintings framed or buy a giant leather couch. I take comfort that the Lotteries Commission helps fund the Arts Council. 
  2. I banked it. It’s sitting in my savings account not earning any interest because I haven’t got up to the minimum interest-earning balance yet. I’m not sure what I’m saving for. Perhaps some international travel. Yes, it’s been, what, eight months since I last got out of the +64.
  3. I gave it to a dodgy old man. The “NO JOB NO BENEFIT” guy seems to have disappeared, so I was on the look out for another such person. Walking to the bus stop after work one evening, I passed a fellow sitting by the side of the road. “Do you have any spare change for a hot meal,” he asked in that raspy old homeless guy voice. I gave him the $5. I get that there’s a fairly high chance that the hot meal in question will end up being more fiery than hot, but if he wants to spend it on booze, that’s ok bye me. But, y’know, even drunks have to eat.
  4. My vague intention with the final $5 was to spend it on myself, but I couldn’t think of anything special or new that I could buy. The $5 just hung out in my wallet a few days until I found myself at the Chinese laundry short by $1.50 to pay for my washing. I didn’t quite want to, but I ended up using the final $5 to cover the washing cost.

Nothing Zen-like happened along the way, but I have spent the last few days with a horrible cold.

Hello. It’s Noel from the Golden Egg Commission.

I was walking to work today and I saw a $20 note on the footpath. I picked it up, but it’s weird – I don’t know what to do with it.

A few years a ago I found a $50 note and ended up getting bad burritos from a bad Mexican restaurant. But now, having avidly watched “An Insider’s Guide To Happiness,” I know that, like, there must be a deeper cosmic significance to it.

Cosmically significant things I could do with it.

  • Give it to charity.
  • Advertise it as missing (“Green, has portrait of monarch on front”).
  • Spend it on coffee and muffins.
  • Hand it into the building outside which I found it. (Oh, did I mention it was outside the headquarters of a large bank?)
  • Give it to the NO MONEY NO BENEFIT guy who is always begging on Victoria Street.
  • Buy a Golden Egg ticket, er, I mean a Lotto ticket.
  • Hand it into a police station and be arrested for attempting to bribe a police.
  • Put it back where I found it.
  • Bet it on a horsie.
  • Deposit it in my bank account.

As you may guess, I am racked with indecision. I haven’t even put it in my wallet because that would be oppressing it by claiming ownership of it.

I think this is a karma coma.