Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 69

The Time Mookie Bought Lottery Scratch Tickets

The recent $600 Million Powerball craziness reminded me of this fun story from WAY back in the day.... so I decided that I should share this one ......

Back in high school, my friend "Rick (*)" worked at one of the pharmacies in the town where we both lived.  It was your standard part-time high school job; the duties mainly consisted of working the front counter, and driving the "company car" to deliver medical necessities to the local hospital and nursing home.  Like most kids, Rick liked to "exploit" any loopholes or services their occupations afforded them, and then offer these things to his friends as well.  For example:  One of the things Rick did as "a service" to all his friends at school, he let it be known that if anyone needed to discreetly pick up some condoms - he was their guy.  He said to just let him know beforehand, and then you could stop by the store and pick them up.  That's customer service for ya.  It definitely beat getting the stink-eye from some middle-aged broad who you knew was totally passing judgement on you while she rang you up.

Plus - since it was a small town - the odds were good the old broad knew who you were, who your parents were, who you were dating, and who your girlfriend's parents were. From there it was a sure bet that it wouldn't be long before your girlfriend's parents found out what you purchased, and that you had every intent of probably banging their daughter Saturday night.  We'll call this "Reason #302 why small towns suck."

Another nice thing Rick had access to while working there was the ability to order music for you.  Not long after Rick started working there, the pharmacy owner decided the store needed to start selling music CD's. At that time, this was huge for me because you couldn't buy music anywhere in our crap-ass town.  The owner even tasked Rick with selecting some of the music they would be selling in the store.  Rick naturally selected the popular music all the kids were listening to, and proceeded to fill most of the 4-sided rack with his selections.  He did however bow to management's requests and made some selections that catered to the older folks in the community as well (Curse you Billy Ray Cyrus).  The prices were competitive with the music stores in towns 30 miles away, and if Rick didn't have what you wanted in the store - he could order it.  This was real nice.

Along with this upswing in the coolness of selling music, the pharmacy also began selling lottery scratch tickets.  At that time I was still under the legal age to buy lottery tickets, so I hadn't yet experienced the thrill of pseudo-legal gambling.  Much to my delight and surprise, Rick told me that if I came in on some Thursday night - he would hook me up since he would be working the front counter alone those nights.

Booyah.  You can't beat a friend that is willing to bend the law a bit for you.

Needless to say, the next Thursday night after he told me this - I made my way down to the pharmacy with the sole intent of getting me some scratch tickets.  When I walked into the store, I saw that Rick was busy ringing up some existing customers, so I loitered around waiting for Rick to finish up with them before stepping up to the counter.  Finally, when he was done I briskly walked up to the counter to make my purchase.  He instantly started smiling because he knew what I was there for - and he knew it was not for condoms.

I layed five dollars on the counter and said "I'd like five lottery tickets please."

He did a quick look towards the back of the pharmacy where the medicine counter was, and made sure the coast was clear of anyone with any real authority.  When he saw that we were good, he reached under the counter and tore off five lottery tickets, took the money and handed me the tickets.  I dug into my pocket for whatever coin I had and EAGERLY started scratching.  In reading the directions, it stated that you  had to match three of the same icons on the ticket to win whatever that prize was.  Scratch-scratch-scratch....nothing.  Next one:  Scratch-scratch-scratch....nothing.  Scratch-scratch-scratch....nothing.  Next one:  Scratch-scratch-scratch....nothing.  LAST ONE:  Scratch-scratch-Scratch....BOOYAH!  We have a winner!  TWO BUCKS!  Hell yeah.  Naturally I did what any dirty gambler would do when presented with a win:  I decided to "let it ride."  I turned in my "winning" ticket and Rick gave me two more tickets for my scratching delight.  I scratched those bad boys off and thought for sure one of them would pay off again, but as luck would have it - I struck out.  Even though I was technically a loser, from the standpoint of entertainment I thought it was five bucks well spent.  I told Rick that I would certainly be back again in the near future.

Not long after that, I again visited Rick at his pharmacy check-out post and discreetly purchased another five bucks in lottery tickets.  I started scratching like last time, and just when I thought my fate was going to mirror my last losing scratch adventure..... I noticed the ticket I was holding had 3 matching $15.00 icons staring back at me.  Oooohh yeah.  Fifteen big ones!  Rick was mildly impressed at my windfall this time around, and asked me if I wanted to "let it ride" again.  I thought hard about it for a minute, but in the end a rationale head prevailed and I decided that I should spend this money wisely this time.

So I bought a CD instead.

"What CD did I buy?" you ask?  "Cooleyhighharmony" by Boyz II Men.
Definitely money well spent.

Now while I continued to enjoy the low-stakes gambling with Rick at the pharmacy from time to time, I have to say that I did not make a big habit of it.  In the end, I knew that it was more-or-less just a waste of money.  Plus the fun and thrill of scratching tickets really loses its luster after losing three or four times in a row.  In hindsight though, I have to admit the feeling that I had the first time I scratched those tickets is the very same feeling I have now whenever I step up to a blackjack table.  Its quite a thrill, and I can definitely understand why that "rush" of excitement causes some people get out of control when they gamble.  When they are sitting there going "This time!  I'm going to win this time!  THIS TIME!"......I get it.  I totally get it.  In the end though, you just have to know and expect that you are NOT going to win. That way you keep a level head about you so that you don't lose everything.  Always remember:  The house always wins.  Always.

So if you don't have a lot of money to gamble with, always play within your means.  Save some for later and don't spend it all at the tables.

Especially when you never know you might need to buy some condoms.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.


  1. I can't email you, so I'm posting a comment here.

    Stumbled onto your blog and have really enjoyed it a lot. Some very funny stuff. But please -- one thing. I'd love to read more of your writings, but the style settings for your blog are pretty awful. It's tough to read more than a few sentences of white text against a black background. Plus the text is often too small. And the blue headers in the columns are simply unreadable.

    Please fix the styles and I'll definitely be back for a more in-depth read. Till then, just can't do it. It gives me a headache.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the note. I've been toying with changing the format of the site, but haven't settled on a final design yet. I enjoy hearing from my viewers/readers and will definitely take your comments under consideration!

    2. Thanks for the response. As a longtime print designer and sometime web designer, I can get a little nazi-ish about these things. But it really was difficult to read. I'm glad if my comment was helpful. Thanks again for some laughs and I'll be checking back in regularly as the blog evolves.


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