I have a way of buying lottery tickets I want to talk about. It’s usually after work, when I take the long way to the subway station, up the hill, through North Beach, just skirting the edge of Chinatown. I go that way to break up the commute. It’s a nice walk instead of the usual trudge down the chute. There are no crowds. The architecture is varied. I pass by the panko place, and get the green wings. I walk and eat. By the time I finish, I’m by a boba place. It’s wonderful. I walk and drink. I think, this is nice. The breeze is cool. I feel lucky.

I don’t have a particular place I buy lottery tickets. I like liquor stores and corner stores. I pick one along the way. The cashiers behind the counter, surrounded by their cigarette and beef jerky and leave-a-penny accoutrements, look perfectly framed. I ask for a mega millions and give them the two dollars. Sometimes they wish me good luck.

I do this every three months or so. I buy one ticket and don’t look at the numbers or check the drawing. I keep it folded for months and months. To me, the value of that lottery ticket is not in its calculated monetary worth, which is zero, but comes when I think one random day, oh hey, I have a live lottery ticket in my pocket, I could be a millionaire, and I have fun thinking about what I would spend the money on. Of course I could daydream for free without the lottery ticket, but the difference daydreaming with the ticket is obvious to me. And all I need to spark that feeling is one ticket. I’m smart enough to know I have the same odds of winning the lottery as someone who buys 1000 tickets every week.

The last ticket I bought was on July 5, 2019. The numbers are 9, 20, 54, 63, 67, and mega 9. I just matched one, 63 :(