Debate: The Lottery

By Jake and Glenn 

Playing the lottery is an American pastime - not unlike baseball, voter apathy or watching your child die of SIDS. Everybody thinks they are going to get rich from the lottery, but will they? Statistics say they will not, but who trusts statisticians? Certainly not my mother and definitely not me.

Jake: Much like Ralph Cramden, I can get behind nearly any get-rich-quick scheme. Yet, I just do not understand the mass appeal of the lottery. I am all for making money, but I feel like winning the lottery is just not going to happen for me or anybody I have ever met.

I must admit something: I have never played the lottery. I just do not see the charm of essentially burning your money--actually I do see the appeal in that, but you do not even get the joy of fire with the lottery. I "get" gambling, as there is a thrill in watching a sports team play a game for hours, cheering through the ups and becoming suicidal through the downs. The lottery is literally just reading off a handful of numbers on a pathetically poorly produced cable news show with balls blowing around a bin. If I wanted somebody to read numbers off to me, I would become a preschool teacher. If I wanted to make some money, I would get a job. The lottery, in fact, makes you poor, not rich. If I wanted to be poor, I would give up all of my worldly possessions, go live in the woods and meditate until I reached nirvana. If I wanted to be entertained, I would not play the lottery, I would watch a bootleg of a Nirvana concert.

Glenn: You don't have to watch a bootleg: both From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah and Live at Reading are available to purchase on DVD from an fye store for $29.99 retail. That seems pricey for a DVD, especially considering the revenues will go to Courtney Love, but if you've won the lottery it's not pricey at all. Winning the lottery completely frees someone from having to decide if they should buy DVDs or not. Once you win the lottery you can literally buy any DVD you want, and several you don't want. It's the same kind of behavior we used at age 19 when we stole videos and DVDs from the local movie rental place. That's actually a really good analogy for what happens once you've won the lottery: you're 19 again (like the two years later version of that Zac Efron movie). There are no consequences for your actions and no one can tell you what to do. This is why millions of people and I all play the lottery every day. We want to be 19 again.

Jake: What Glenn sees as a fountain of youth, as it were, I see as nothing more than a scam perpetrated on the foolhardy and downtrodden alike by our brutish, tyrannical government. The lottery is meant to enslave the poor under the guise of funding public school and such. It keeps them from being able to afford The Munsters Season 2 on DVD, and having already purchased The Munsters Season 1 DVD, that seems like a crime to me. Maybe Glenn is okay with children being fed Stover's Stovetop Stuffing and Zagnut bars--which are the only two foods an average lottery enthusiast knows of--but I cannot sit idly by while the poor of this country stuff their faces full of delicious, yet non-nutritious foodstuffs. If these people would only take a break from reading "Lottery Master Guide" by Gail Howard and read "Nutrition for Healthy Living" by Wendy Schiff, our nation would not be facing so many food-related crises. The lottery is a form of abuse, enacted by the bourgeoisie on the wage-workers of America. Maybe Glenn is fine with horse whipping innocent children in the street for kicks, but I find it somewhat repulsive. In case you didn't get it: the horse whip is the lottery and the street is this entire country and the innocent children is Joseph P. Lotterypatron.

Glenn: If the best argument you can make against the lottery is that it prevents people from buying DVDs of the Munsters, this debate may be over already. Winning the lottery is the new American Dream. The old American Dream was to do better than your parents did, own your house and send your kids to college but thanks to globalization and same sex marriage those things aren't possible anymore. Now the only chance we have to better ourselves and leave a legacy to our offspring is through working hard at winning the lottery. I've never won the "jackpot" myself, but I have won several scratch-off tickets and I'm proud to say those brief moments I felt a sense of accomplishment. Not because it was hard - all I had to do was lick off the coating - but because it was easy. The lottery is without a doubt the easiest legal to way make money. It's honest too. You don't have to defraud the state out of its money. All you have to do is go to your astrologist and find out your lucky numbers. It's as easy as 1-2-3-45-56-78!

Jake: I feel that this debate is not over scratch-off tickets. One can reasonably win on scratch-offs. If you put enough money into playing them then you will win, it's just probability. Playing the type of lottery where you choose numbers and a depressed local model picks numbered balls out of some vacuum powered machine is tantamount to burning your entire life savings in your home. You might make a profit from the insurance you collect from your house burning down, and you might win the lottery, but both things are less likely than Yahoo Serious making a resurgence in popularity in the United States. It is less likely than enjoying a meal with Paul Hogan--that guy is such a diva. It is less likely than seeing a good movie starring Jerry O'Connell and even less likely than seeing a quality film starring Charlie O'Connell. Do not play the lottery. Even smoking cigarettes seems like a better use of money, at least you know you're going to get something out of it--lung cancer.

Glenn: Smoking cigarettes is one of working class America's favorite past times - not unlike rollerball, voter apathy or watching your child die of obesity. Just because working class people do something doesn't mean it's bad. Playing the lottery means you will win money. Not playing the lottery is the only way to ensure you will never become a millionaire. In the time since we started writing this debate I actually won the Illinois Powerball with a $56 million jackpot. And you aren't getting any because you never believed in the lottery! For those who did believe in the lottery, I will give you each $1000. Lottery is the gift that keeps on giving.


  1. Dear Glenn, I BELIEVE!

  2. I believe in the lottery, but I don't believe in abortion. I CAN HAZ $?

  3. Thanks anonymous and Nate for the comments.

  4. I know who anonymous is. And I also know what a great lottery debate this is!

  5. I wonder if Jake is willing to admit he was wrong because he won $3.2 million in the lottery this summer.