$93,500,000.00 -- 02/24/01
b That was the payoff in the Powerball lottery this week, won by a guy from Rhode Island. Powerball is a multi-state lottery so usually it's somebody from one of the other states who wins the big prize, although Rhode Islanders on a per capita basis purchase more lottery tickets than the residents of any other state. Yesterday morning's newspaper showed him buying a brand new Mercedes to celebrate his winnings.

I'm not a lottery ticket buyer... at least, not since we moved to Rhode Island... I probably have averaged about one ticket per year. [I tend to agree with the saying that lotteries are simply a tax on those who do not understand basic math.] However, when we lived in upstate New York I used to buy a New York State lottery ticket fairly often, perhaps once every two weeks. Jennifer would come with me when I would go to Wegman's Supermarket (a big store, three dozen checkout counters) and we would bring our softdrink bottles and cans for our deposit refund... which would usually add up to at least a dollar... and a lottery ticket cost a dollar (which, if memory serves, got you two chances at selecting a winning combination of numbers?)... and Jennifer would select the numbers. There was a Chinese restaurant in the supermarket and she also enjoyed eating lunch there (always the same thing: sweet and sour chicken with fried rice) and getting a fortune cookie... and the slip of paper with the fortune on it would also contain numbers suitable for lottery use, in which case we would play those numbers in the lottery. I looked on it as a "free" lottery ticket because the dollar came from our deposit refund. Yes, I still stand by that comment about it being a tax on those who have no understanding of math, but that dollar bought us several minutes of fun as we imagined spending the millions we would win. What always astounds me are the people who walk up to the counter and buy ten tickets! Every week!

Nancy and Jennifer and I drove up to the Providence Place Mall (located in the middle of the city, a multilevel in-town mall that opened a year or two ago, cosing more than four hundred million to build... hey, that's a few lottery payoffs there!) On the way up Interstate 95 there's a billboard advertising the Powerball lottery that always shows the current payout -- since they just had a big winner, the jackpot is starting over again at ten million dollars (the longer it goes without a winner, the higher the jackpot) -- and under the ten million dollar figure was the slogan "It's worth it!"

As I said, a tax on those who fail to understand basic math concepts.

We were in stores like Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath and Beyond and Williams Sonoma. I love/hate being in those places... I love it because I see so many pots and pans and cooking tools I covet... and, of course, I hate it because I see so many pots and pans and cooking tools I covet. I did buy a pepper mill and salt shaker set in Crate and Barrel. It was fun looking at all of that stuff... the problem came when we had to leave the mall... it took forever (okay, 15 or 20 minutes) to get out of the parking garage... the traffic patterns in that place had to have been laid out by a total nitwit who had never seen a parking garage in his life.

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