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October 23, 2003

Charlsie Story

I buy lottery tickets. And every time I check the numbers, I'm sure I'll win something. Every time.

I laugh at myself, realizing this is just a very silly little ritual that will only ever entertain me for the moment and only maybe pay me back a third of what I put out.

And then I remember my mother.

Momma always entered Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. I remember her pulling out that sheet of little stamps and meticulously going over every little rule and regulation printed in six-point font in the mailer. She would affix the bonus stamp. She would attach the sticker that best represented the color of the new car she'd like to see them drive up to her front door in. And she would always say a little blessing for prosperity before putting the entry in the mail.

And then we'd wait.

Mom would always have the date of the big prize delivery noted on her calendar. She would spend the six weeks between mailing the entry and the date of the big surprise the winner on-camera moment calculating how much money she would give to Silent Unity, how much she would give to her siblings, and how much she would give to her kids.

I remember riding around in her 1979 silver Monte Carlo, planning and plotting the investments, the frivolous expenditures, the breathing room we'd give ourselves and our loved ones with those millions.

And every single "big day" that rolled around, Mom would put on her makeup, do her hair, and dress a little nicer so that she wouldn't "look like the boogey man" on television when the Prize Patrol showed up.

It's not just that moment while the numbers are being pulled that I get my dollar's worth when I play the lottery. It's all of the moments between buying that ticket and knowing the outcome of the drawing: those moments when I'm wealthy enough to take care of everyone I love and never have to worry about being a burden to anyone now or in the future. In those moments I spend, invest, and rescue like Mom would've done, had she ever won anything.

And it's the moment after, when I realize there is no windfall, that I know for sure I am Charlsie's daughter. That's when I know, for sure, I'm going to win it next time.
The NEW Book

My epiphany of the night: I live my life like an interviewer on the red carpet. I'm listening to you. I'm asking (somewhat) intelligent questions. I'm right there with you. But I'm constantly looking just over your shoulder, in case someone better is coming up the path. Now, that's deep. [from DeadLaszlo's Oscar Wrap Edition, 2001]

Posted by bonnie at October 23, 2003 2:23 AM