Saturday, September 1, 2007

Bear with me, let me explain...rewind...

I've had a lot of fun today (from NFTD Archival Shuckin' & Jivin', circa 1998)

At six o'clock yesterday morning (6/28/98) I bought three $3 instant scratch tickets and went to have a coffee with a couple friends. Sitting at the kitchen table I scratched first one, a loser, and slid it across the table to Larry, 'Nope Larry, your's is a loser.' Now Joyce's, same thing, sorry Sister you're a loser too...well, your ticket is, you're not...and then...

Then I scratched the third ticket, mine. Instructions read something like match any one of your numbers to any one of theirs and win prize indicated. One of their numbers was a 2, so was one of mine, and the prize for me matching their number was: $50,000.

I passed the ticket over to Larry.

'Does this say what I think it says?' To which he said, 'I think it does...'

Joyce? 'Absolutely, you got a 2, they got a 2, the prize is 50 grand!'

A flurry of excited activity ensued, then 'I gotta go!'

I flew back to Linda at the Jiffy Mart who only moments ago had sold them to me, her first customer of the day. I gave it to her. 'I'd like to cash this in,' I told her, knowing you can only cash up to 599 dollars without going to the Lottery Commission. She took the ticket somewhat ho-humishly and ran it through the computer which popped up with the information that the ticket was legit and $50,000 with my name on it was in a vault down in Concord!

Then things got a little animated...I can't stand still but neither can I go to Concord to claim my prize because it's Sunday and they don't open until Monday at 8 - 24 hours I am walking around with a $50,000 ticket in my pocket so of course I can't sleep nor eat and feel that somehow there's been an error and tomorrow my little balloon will burst...a restless night.

As happens, morning came and by 8 I was standing tall at the lottery office where I said to Fran, the woman at the front office, 'I'd like to cash this in...' and she looked at it, eyes agog and said, 'Yes, yes, I should think you would,' and began the process of shelling out 50Gs to me!

Here is how that goes. You don't get 50 grand. They take out Uncle Sam's right off the top so you don't forget to mention it to the IRS, and after they had done that Fran and someone else from a big suite office came out shook hands all around and presented me with a certified State of New Hampshire Lottery Commission check for (be still my heart!) 36,000 dollars, a good return on a three dollar bet.

I am directed to the Bank of New Hampshire in downtown metropolitan Concord and when I get there and present my check, once again the camaraderie and pleasantries begin, everybody in the bank is watching what's going on. The teller - her name was Leigh, told me after punching up a few keys on the word processor and consulting with a couple bigger wigs, 'We don't have enough money to cash this...'

I was thunderstruck - I've broken the bank! The esteemed Bank of New Hampshire doesn't have enough money to cash a $36,000 check!? Whatever will I do? I had to borrow 20 bucks to get here...they graciously come to terms and it goes like this: they give me $9,000 in cash and one of their checks for $27,000 which I can deposit in my bank and spend three days hence when it sweat...and then they are kind enough to count out 90 - can you believe it, 90 $100 bills, new ones, all in sequence and this done said to me, 'If you would like to count it again we have a private room for you...

I seem to have moved up a tax bracket (and a caste) in one $36,000 check - suddenly a bank which yesterday would have wanted me deloused, today fetes me as if the sudden acquisition of money was validation of one's true worth. I had to laugh. In I went...

I am absolutely astonished at my good fortune and everybody who has heard has been wonderful about it, and such comments: 'Tuffy, can I have a beer?' 'Sure you can, they're in the van; you may be rich but you still gotta go get your own...' From Frankie who I owed a lot of money for a long time as I walked into his garage, 'I heard you'd be coming to see me...' From my dear Aunt Gogi, 'Dear Terry, I want you to know I am sorry for the time you had a penny in your mouth and I made you do a somersault and swallow it. I think you were 3 years old...your loving Aunt Gogi' - or, as I walked into Town Hall to license my new-to-me 1978 Triumph Bonneville, Earl Luther followed me to the Town Clerk's office holding a chair, 'Would you like to sit down Mr. have a seat...'

How sweet is Lady Luck realized? Very. O, o, o, I tell you I am having so much fun! I am debt-free for the first time since about 1957, it is an extraordinary feeling I never thought I'd experience and I mean to be very careful about getting into that five decades long situation forward several days...

So many many times in the last, let's see how long has it been now, today is the 6th of July, I'm way late in publishing this issue but winning like this is a serious distraction, anyway I can't tell you how many times in the last few days since hitting this pot of gold I have heard people say 'It couldn't have happened to anyone more deserving' or variations of it but in MY mind it couldn't have happened to anyone LESS deserving, however...It's your basic simple twist of fate & like I said, I'm having a ball!

...and incidentally, long-time readers might recall one of my daydreams has been to have an inch-thick stack of crisp $100 dollar bills? Well, I had it, actually I had (have!) several and the thrill of riffling through it and knowing it was mine, however circuitous its route to me, put a five-inch smile on my gap-toothed puss, and - and - you are not going to read: 'Sorry, only kidding...'

...because I am not kidding. In a millisecond (however long it takes to scratch a ticket) my life went from poverty to wealth and a week later I am still dumbfounded, dazed, elated, saddened & gladdened and I expect I shall be shaking my shaggy head in bewilderment the rest of my life.

It's been/is an emotional roller coaster ride...for in truth it must be said in no way am I deserving of this largess but what is a poor boy to do? Plus, I've yet to go down on my hands and knees and thank Whomever because it seems so totally hypocritical to thank The Lord when only last night and many times in the past I have been so obtuse as to pray like this, 'Look You Big Bastard, You don't scare me at all! You want prayer, I'll give You prayer: I pray You send me some money You SOB!' and I would shout and scream and weep and rave and fulminate against The Firmament for what was essentially my own undoing, so now, now the loot is in hand, the result of gambling for which Christ threw the gamblers and the money changers from The Temple, while I?

I am reveling in my nouveau riche lifestyle, the end result of leading a life of dissolution! Go figure. It makes no sense & it ain't fair but we knew long ago that fair got nothing to do with it, luck does, in this case good luck.

Well, I've gone on long enough about it for now; you'll please understand it is difficult for me in this the first blush of my new wealth to concentrate on anything else and my writing may not be up to its usual (ahem) riveting and wondrous style.

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