in the fade

  1. merry christmas, i got you something that could be nothing!

    When did it become the popular thing to give people scratch off lottery tickets as gifts? I can see if you got someone a regular gift and you threw a couple of tickets in as a bonus, but I don’t get the reasoning behind giving someone nothing but lottery tickets for their birthday or Christmas. Basically, you are giving them a chance at getting a present. You may or may not be giving them an actual gift, depending on what happens when they do their little scratch thing.

    “Hey, Merry Christmas! As my gift to you, you can spend the next thirty seconds frantically rubbing a coin on these pieces of cardboard. You may end up with a dollar. Odds are low – but they exist – that you might win $1,000 a week for the rest of your life. You may end up with two dollars which you will turn in for another ticket, which will put you on the fast track to a lottery ticket addiction. But most likely, you will end up with nothing. Merry Christmas, buddy!”

    The best is when there are a lot of people present and everyone stands around as the giftee scratches and rubs and gets all excited “One seven! Two sevens! OH MY GOD ONE MORE SEVEN AND I WIN THE JACKPOT!” And every subsequent silver square he scratches off after that is met with a chorus of disappointed “ohh”s. Finally, after he has carpal tunnel syndrome and his fingernails are embedded with silvery shavings, he takes the fistful of worthless lottery tickets, dumps them in the garbage, and thanks the gift giver. For NOTHING.

    I don’t know, maybe there’s someone on your list who actually enjoys getting scratch-off tickets as gifts, but I’m guessing that’s the same person who loves to stand for eight hours in an Atlantic City casino shoving quarters in the gaping maw of slot machine that slowly swallows her life savings and her soul. More power to them. May they forever enjoy getting a gift that says “I like you just enough to stand in line at 7-11 for fifteen minutes to buy these tickets of chance for you. May you become addicted to them like this lady in front of me spending her entire paycheck on a roll of LUCKY LOUIE’S SCRATCH OFF THE MOBSTER’S NOSE AND WIN THE LOOT tickets.”

    You might as well give someone an envelope and write on it “There may or may not be a hundred dollar bill in here,” watch as they rip open the envelope, hyperventilating in anticipation, and then giggle when they realize they got the MAY NOT side of the present. “Well, there could have been 100 dollars in there, and that’s what counts, right?” No. If you want to give someone twenty dollars worth of fleeting pleasure for Christmas, buy them some acid or a few minutes at a glory hole. Don’t give them something that’s only going to end up being nothing.

    Lottery tickets are the Russian Roulette of gifts.