Johnny America


Lot­tery Tick­ets Re­viewed: Per­fect Gift


Photograph of the lottery ticket "Perfect Gift"

I was haw­ing and hem­ming at the gas station’s lot­tery dis­play; there were a cou­ple of lucky-look­ing scratchies com­pet­ing for my imag­i­na­tion. I told the at­ten­dant as much when she stepped over from the reg­is­ter and asked how she could as­sist. “This one’s a good one,” she de­clared, point­ing to the roll of sparkling Per­fect Gift tick­ets, “it’s a lim­it­ed time one, and a hol­i­day one, so the odds are better.” 

Is this true, I won­dered? I mulled over whether the Pow­ers-That-Be might rig the odds in fa­vor of hol­i­day scratch­ers, know­ing many of these slips would be stuffed in­to the stock­ings of lot­to-vir­gins. What bet­ter way to cul­ti­vate new cus­tomers than to give them a taste of play­ing and win­ning with their first spin, the same way savvy co­caine deal­ers pass new cus­tomers the good stuff for their first cou­ple of buys be­fore low­er­ing them to the sec­ond-tier pow­der while hold­ing the price steady. An odds-in­flu­enc­ing fac­tor to con­sid­er with fu­ture pur­chas­es. De­ci­sion done: “I’ll take one, please.”

The iri­des­cent sparkles of Per­fect Gift catch the eye and draw one’s thoughts to win­ter snows and di­a­mond glitz. The sil­ver rib­bon of the pri­ma­ry graph­ic is echoed in the spe­cial play el­e­ment of this card: if you scratch off a ‘bow’ sym­bol you win the prize be­low. While not edg­ing the lim­its of what a lot­to scratchie can be like the post-mod­ern tick­ets di­rect­ed by Thomas Pyn­chon, this sim­ple leit­mo­tif of a shim­mer­ing rib­bon of wealth is sat­is­fy­ing­ly elegant. 

I scratched, I won. $20. I re-in­vest­ed the div­i­dends in a week­end Power­ball tick­et, a bot­tle of Caber­net Franc, and a ready-to-pop pan of Jiffy Pop pop­corn, which I eat ex­act­ly once a year on Christ­mas Eve while watch­ing a hol­i­day-nos­tal­gic Rom­Com. You got­ta play to win, as they say, and this year I won. 

Filed under Lottery Tickets, Reviewed on December 24th, 2021

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