The silliest news this week was the news about the U.S. intelligence report regarding Navy pilots’ sighting of UFOs. It seems like this reveal has been hyped for years. We now finally know what the Defense Department knows about the UFOs.
They know nothing. They might be alien spacecraft. They might not be alien spacecraft. How exciting is that? Did anyone have money riding on which way they would come down on this issue?
Speaking of gambling, I try not to. I don’t play card games for money. I don’t roll dice. I don’t even want to set foot in a casino. I won’t play slot machines. I eschew bingo. I will not even play marbles for keepsies, even though it’s a game of skill, because I have no skill in playing marbles and winning would be a crapshoot in my case.
I never play lotteries. I won’t pay one dollar for a chance to win five or a million. My feeling is: I can win one dollar right now by not buying the ticket. My lifetime winnings, at the rate of a dollar per week since adulthood, is somewhere around $2,500 so far.
When people find out I’m a mathematician, they often ask me to tell them a system for winning a casino game. I tell them to go to a horse track and put money down on the horse that looks like it will win the race. Then, I laugh hysterically.
My general rule in gambling is best illustrated by my bet in 2016 that Trump would win the election that year. I announced that I would bet that and was told, “no, he won’t,” and I asked what is it worth to you? And the guy said, “I’ll buy you dinner at your favorite restaurant,” and I said, you’re on. At no point did I promise to do anything for him if I lost. Those are the kinds of bets I like. Your $20 to my zero dollars.
I think I mentioned here before that I still owe a guy named Norman $20 because I bet that much money Hubert Humphrey would beat Nixon in 1968. So far, Norman hasn’t tried to collect, and there’s a good chance he’s forgotten all about it.
But I learned my lesson. I never risk my own money in a bet. I either get in the action for free or I stay out completely.
I’m OK with being in the Washington state coronavirus lottery. I could win a million dollars in July just for already having been vaccinated. And I didn’t even pay for the vaccination. I could move out of this apartment. Maybe into a condo. Woo.
Or, as early as this week, I could win a quarter of a million dollars.
Or, I could eventually score airline tickets, sports tickets or an Xbox or other such device. Various things I would probably end up selling.
The only reservation I have about the whole thing is the knowledge that I was enrolled in this lottery on the basis of the state’s access to my vaccination record. It turns out they know my entire vaccination record, not just the coronavirus vaccination record. What other lotteries might they want to start up? Would they pass out prizes to everyone who’s had a broken arm? A colonoscopy? A mammogram? A Viagra prescription? A completed colorectal exam?
In other free giveaway news, Anheuser-Busch has promised that if 70% of Americans are vaccinated for COVID-19 by July 4, all of us 21 or over will get a free beer. I don’t know if I’ll get to choose the brand. I want a Stella Artois. Please, no Bud Light.
I wonder how many anti-vaxxers will relent for a beer? Are they really holding out for a cold brew?
In order to collect your prize beer, you’ll have to send the company a selfie wherever you like to drink beer — maybe at a bar or at home. Presumably they’d prefer it be someplace legal, though I’d be tempted to send them a picture of me drinking in Occidental Park out of a brown paper bag. They’ll send five dollars for beer on a debit card.
Other companies that are offering prizes if enough of us are vaccinated include Krispy Kreme, Target, Kroger, Microsoft, Doordash and NASCAR.
Maybe Kroger will give me a package of half a dozen rolls of Bounty Pick-A-Size double paper towels.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of the June 9-15, 2021 issue.