It’s no secret that one of my dreams in life is to win the lottery and never work again.
“But what about goals, a career, purpose?!” people say.
“Fie!” I respond.
“What?” they ask.
“Fie! It means ‘That’s nonsense!’ I believe it’s popular amongst the ogre crowd,” I reply.
“Oh,” they say.
There’s some more confusing back and forth, but the sentiment is clear: To me, ambition is like herpes – it’s okay if you have it, but every now and again it’s going to prevent you from doing something really fun.
(Incidentally, I think this is one of the most overlooked benefits of communism. Now, I’m no political scientist – I don’t even know why it’s called a science – but the way I understand it is that you may not be able to get that 50-foot yacht or the heart transplant you were hoping for, but all you have to do is stand in line and they give you all the accoutrements of life like food, water, and a goat. Think of it this way: What you’re losing in iPods, you’re gaining in apathy, which can be very relaxing.)
Ever since I learned about the concept of money (the first time my mom refused to buy me a toy because it was too expensive and I called child services to report her) I knew that I wanted a lot of it, and I wanted it now.
This was around the time I began coercing my mom to play the lotto. I figured it was a no-lose situation: She wasted her money on the tickets, but if she won we all enjoyed the spoils. Little did I realize that my mother was too smart for the lottery scam. Our family’s income went to the important things: clothing, therapists, and any food product bearing the label “NEW.”
Still, undeterred in my quest for unearned money, I discovered the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. I started in the summer of my 12th year, stuck in a weird age where I thought I was too cool to go to camp, but in fact wasn’t cool enough to do anything besides sit at home and watch TV. But then Ed McMahon showed up in my mailbox (not literally) telling me over and over how all I had to do was mail in entry forms and I, too, could win millions of dollars.
It was my first brush with bureaucratic paperwork, and I took to it as though I was executing a very important business deal. When the submission forms came in the mail, I would pour myself a glass of chocolate milk and spread the pages out over the living room coffee table. Then I would go to work deciphering all the documents stuffed in that small envelope. Once I learned that the magazine sales had nothing to do with the sweepstakes (or so my naïve 12-year old mind thought) I would sequester those pages on one side of the table, label them UNNECESSARY, and set to filling out only the pertinent forms.
I still remember receiving the notification that I WAS A WINNER, only to find out that I was merely the winner of having made it to the so-called quarterfinals. For this I was awarded more magazine order forms. Several months and broken dreams later, I gave up on sweepstakes altogether, having my first of many existential crises, concluding that if time is the one thing money can’t buy, then I wasn’t going to waste mine filling out any more forms.
But then, the internet. Like a local dog park, there was free shit around every corner. While I entered most any contest I came across (I’m still waiting on that free second-generation iPod), the contest that came to be my Moby Dick was the HGTV Dream House sweepstakes.
What more could you want out of life? Here was an opportunity to not only have a brand-new house handed to you (without going through the hassle of losing your family in a tragic wildfire like on Extreme Makeover), but also to start a new life in some quaint fishing village or rustic mountain community.
After finding out I didn’t win the St. Mary’s home, I did some poking around and found out that the winner of that house (Kathi Nakao from Sacramento) never moved after securing her prize. Apparently, Sacramento is the cultural, financial, and intellectual hub of the modern world – a place where children grow up to be astronauts and the elderly die peacefully in their sleep while dreaming of fields of golden heather, because instead of inhabiting the 3,000sf riverfront home, she sold it and put the money towards renovating her own home.
Well pardon my southern accent, but fuck you, Kathi. (And nice name while we’re at it.) The contest isn’t called the HGTV Dream Liquid Asset Sweepstakes. I, for one, would never look a dream house in the mouth like that. Besides, not relocating is an affront to everything the contest stands for. The towns these homes are built in were chosen carefully, with the idea in mind that everyone needs to chill the fuck out a bit. These are places noted for beauty, serenity, and the fact that no one there knows that you once urinated on an ex-girlfriend’s dorm room door on a drunken dare (made to yourself).
Of course I gathered myself up and persevered, entering and losing for the next four years. And now the 2009 sweepstakes has begun. This year’s home is in
Until then, I will have to be happy with the spoils I’ve won thus far. And though they may total one, and in the cash equivalency department fall about $999,850.00 short of the Publisher’s Clearing House bounty, the winnings have been plentiful:
That’s right, bitches. You’re looking at the second place winner of the Oren's Daily Roast Proof of a Superior Bean Sweepstakes. A three-month supply of gourmet coffee. You know what Kathi Nakao drinks? Folgers. What a loser.