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Here comes the first ball
On Wednesday July 11th 2007 I won the 2nd prize in the lottery. The slight drawback was that although I had cash on me, the nearest shop was too far away so I never bought the ticket. Actually, I was just too lazy to walk there and 'I never win anyway' ! With my council tax due out the next day by direct debit, I couldn't play my numbers online without paying some money in.. ..and the banks had shut for the day. Having the week off work, I was able to watch the draw unfold and sat there dumbstruck as five of my numbers came up. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing to attention almost cartoon-like but I was quite philosophical as the £1,000 odd prize that had just eluded me was not life changing (though of course very welcome). However, in the brief lapse before the bonus ball was drawn, I prayed "not 22, not 22". I only get religious when Leeds Utd are playing or I have had a bet so perhaps I got my just desserts when naturally, out popped 22 for five numbers and the bonus ball. I have had the odd wager or hundred in my life and I have therefore had my fair share of near misses in terms of the 'big one' (punishment for being very much a fair weather Christian) and with a depressingly long line of prior near things it was therefore not that out of character that I did not go ballistic.. ..well not too much anyway.
..the second ball is..
I calmly rang an old mate in Manchester, who is also seasoned gambler, and told him what had happened. I was greeted with hysterical laughter which was not spiteful but in keeping with the fact that I have a reputation as a complete Jonah. What may seem peculiar was that even then I could chuckle at the irony - and still do. You win some, you lose some. Knowing that I had scrimped and saved a significant amount of money to place ante post on a 'good thing' running at Newmarket on the Friday, my friend told me, "You watch, Dutch Art will finish second now. As for the lottery theres no point playing that now, unless you want to fund more mosques." I think its his cheerful optimism and encouragement that make us such good friends.
..and the third ball..
The next two days were strange as the lottery obviously dominated my thoughts. I must have been in a weird mood as I actually cleaned the flat. I did feel a stab of pain when those ****ers at the
Pictures of What I would do if I won the lottery
Dutch Art 2nd from right, affectionately known as 'ya b**tard'
council did not actually take the payment for my council tax till the Friday. So I could have played my numbers after all, mind you the council do a fine job - their anally retentive incompetence has almost become an entertainment. But with about a dozen people getting five numbers and the bonus, I calculated that if I had bought my ticket as usual then I would have picked up between £60 - £70,000. Not the jackpot, but it was as good as for me - working my backside off for a bunch of corrupt, incompetent clowns masquerading as management in a company built on in breeding and nepotism.
..if you've matched three, you're already a winner...
However, thoughts of my near miss were banished on the Friday as I sat down to watch Dutch Art as he ran in the prestigious July Cup. Luckily, I had backed him both win and place because, as anyone may guess, he of course finished second. Perhaps unsurprisingly this did not really please me at all; and that is when the calamity of the week actually sunk in. Well, not exactly sank in, but hit me smack between the eyes with the subtlety of a Bernard Manning gag. Even though I had made a profit on the horse, it obviously did not compensate for being close to two life changing wins in the space of the same number of days. Feeling a little sick, I decided to buy some medication and fortunately you don't need a perscription to buy a bottle of Jack Daniels.
..and the fifth ball...
I exorcised the demon through an unhealthy quantity of Mr Daniels finest - and as with any boring drunk, by bleating my 'poor little me' tale to just about everybody who cared (and even those who didn't, but who were far too polite to tell me to stop being such an utter blouse). The little binge was succeeded by the inevitable headache and bloodshot eyes but my alcoholic and whinging over indulgence did the trick, with the result that the disappointment was all more or less out of my system by now. After all I had made some money off my horse and boosted my wages. This was my target at the beginning of the week. Naturally, though, I didn't bother to buy any lottery tickets for Saturday night. The lightning strike of a lottery win rarely strikes once, let alone twice.
now that all important sixth ball..
What would I have done with the winnings? I would have cleared everything debt wise hanging over from university and years of poorly paid work. Most satisfyingly of all I would have clocked in, told my employers where to shove the job and then blown the whistle to the UK and USA head offices on the bullying, nepotism and extremely dubious promotions; non of which have anything to do with business needs but rather the feathering of nests. The win would not have bought me a gold plated Rolls Royce but then I have never wanted one. Material possessions have never interested me in the slightest. My friend did tell me the near miss was probably a blessing as I would only have ended up lying in a litter strewn Las Vegas alleyway; drunk, skint, buggered by a wino and probably dead within 6 months after high rolling on the casino tables. He's probably right - he recognises the self destructive streak all too well. But one thing I have never grasped are the winners who have said it will not change their lives. Though I respect its their choice, whats the point in playing then?
if you have matched five, then fingers crossed for the bonus ball..
Eighteen months on, I feel I have won the big one. Impending voluntary redundancy has given me enough to pay off university and several unplanned trips to Thailand on a personal crusade after 15 years of working busting a gut and getting nowhere doing some unbelievably demoralising jobs. Now I will train and try to find work abroad as soon as I can, hopefully by 2010. Its a gamble but if I had won the lottery jackpot, I would have left England somehow and there is nothing here for me. Here we get ripped off left right and centre by retailers, service industries and taxation. You can't go out without some eight stone wimp trying to take a pop at you (as long as twenty of his skinny little hood wearing mates are with him of course) and you can't defend yourself without repercussions because the country has become a nanny state run by the pc brigade. The scum and the gobshites hold all the aces while the decent folk have to bend over and take their medicine.
..you've won bugger all (again)...
Even pre-recession the agencies were over run with Eastern Europeans looking for work (fair play to them, they are perfectly entitled to do so) but in many semi skilled and unskilled vocations they are getting priority. Before the afore-mentioned pc brigade put down their pipes, stroke their beards, adjust their bras and finally roll up the sleeves of their unisex dungarees to have a pop, this is not xenophobic on my part. I have worked with some particularly nice people who have come here from overseas for employment. In fact I have gone out of my way to help whenever they have asked (while many colleagues have been openly hostile) and enjoy their company more often than not. That said I have also encountered some extremely nasty groups who take delight in antagonising those around them and I have seen their contempt for others causing a great deal of ill feeling and trouble. The situation is off balance - particularly in this economic climate or am I unwittingly turning in to Alf Garnett? I hope not, but doesn't this seem strange or are hard working English speaking graduates unemployable? Finally, unless you like DIY, cooking, transparently mercenary 'talent shows' or watching third rate 'celebrities' desperately trying to revive flagging careers, there is not even anything worth watching on TV nowadays.
..but thanks to our washed up celebrity for coming on to mime her comeback single and for pressing the button.. ..don't forget to tune in for more utter shite on Saturday..
I do not play the lottery anymore, which is no surprise. Aside from that strange Wednesday night, I have never attained more than three numbers on a line. As my friend summised, if I ever won the main prize then it may well have led to a short span of intense enjoyment and waste. However, I would like to think I have matured (highly questionable) and that on winning a few million I would have delegated some of the gains to genuinely good causes here in the UK, as well as further afield. We give so much to aid relief on distant shores which is necessary, commendable and worthy but as a whole we seem guilty about trying to put our own house in order. Yes, a palatial home, a good car and the satisfaction of a social life free of counting the cost would be great but I do not see the point in a country which has become ever more fustrating and unpleasant even before the recession kicked in. A shame as there are so many thoroughly decent people here with much to offer and its the hard working, law abiding tax payers who are often last in the pecking order.
So lottery win or not, no flash car or huge castle-like home fill the hypothetical shopping list - just a semi interesting job with enough for the odd night out, shelter and some food somewhere as far away from England as possible. That and enough to pay a hit man to pop Simon Cowell, on behalf of the music industry, and that would be the jackpot.