Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dubious hopes versus better lives

Tom D is an old acquaintance from Pittsfield, MA. I knew him as one of the group of Roman Catholic Christians who would attend St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in that town, at Christmas and Easter.

(They became “Easter and Christmas” Episcopalians” because they thought that the music and preaching in the Episcopal Church was a few notches better than that in their R.C. parishes. I’ll not quarrel with that!)

So Tom D was in Sarasota last week to enjoy a condo which had been bequeathed to him in the will of the late Gill F.

Tom joined me for lunch on Friday 28th.May together with our dear ex-Pittsfield friends, Barbara and Kay.

It was lovely enough to see Tom and cool that he’d remembered my birthday.

He handed me a card at lunch:- a card which included five Florida Lottery “Scratch” tickets as a birthday gift.

I looked at these “Scratch” tickets a few days later. I saw that if each of them turned out to be a winner, I’d be better off by $130,000. I began to visualize a renovated kitchen, and a trip to the Fjords in Norway.

Tickets 1 - 4 yielded not a cent.

I began to get excited as ticket 5 looked promising. It was more than promising - it was a ten dollar ($10) winner.

Thus it was that I “won” ten dollars ($10) from the five scratch cards which had cost Tom twenty five dollars ($25).

I appreciate Tom’s kindness.

My “winning” of ten bucks was cool.

But as I scratched the tickets I also began to understand that the lotteries are all about dreams. They have nothing with financial wisdom or prudence. And I know that the least well off are the primary targets as our governments peddle their lotteries.

The state (USA) or national (UK) governments should not be in the business of encouraging citizens to waste money on false hopes and foolish dreams.

It makes me sad and angry that very many poor people are seduced, via governmental sponsorship of lotteries, into these foolish dreams.

Would to G-d that our USA and UK governments would find and promote ways through which the poorest citizens could invest in better lives rather than into dubious hopes

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