Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vaguely Familiar Numbers

It's time for a crazy lottery story. As you may or may not be aware, the Mega Millions lottery got ridiculously large last week. We're talking second-world country big. It was over six hundred million dollars. And with so many people buying tickets because every one of them expected to win, it was almost inevitable that someone would win. And someone did. Three someones, actually. And one of them appears to be fairly crazy, so that's good.

Our story begins in Maryland. That's where we meet a one Mirlande Wilson. Now, according to the folks over at the New York Post, Ms. Wilson works at McDonald's where, in addition to providing delicious Chicken McNuggets for hungry consumers on the run, she joined a lottery pool with at least fifteen other employees. The deal was that they'd all chip in some money and she would buy the tickets. If a ticket won, they all won. Well, wouldn't you know it? A ticket won! But she says that they didn't all win. No, she says that she won. That's right. Just her.

Ms. Wilson claims that she bought tickets on her own separate from those that she bought with her probably former friends at this point. "I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket,” the single mother of seven said as she and her fiancĂ© left her home in the squalid Westport neighborhood to attend church." Wow, there's a lot to like in that sentence. First of all, thank you New York Post for describing her neighborhood as "squalid". That paints quite a picture. Next up, does that say seven children? AND she has a fiance?! Did she have the fiance BEFORE she "won" a squintillion dollars? If so, I'd like to know more about him, please. Really. I'd like to know more about the kind of guy who is engaged to a woman who has seven children and lives in a squalid neighborhood. I'd like to know his story AND their story. I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

But back to Ms. Wilson. Of course, her co-workers are not happy with these developments. “She can’ t do this to us!said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of 15 members in the pool. “We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!” Strong words coming from folks who make $7.50 an hour and might be getting screwed out of millions of dollars. But wait! Perhaps they all weren't quite so lucky after all! Dun dun dunnnnnnnnn!

Here's where it gets a little wacky. I guess after her big announcement, as she was continually pressed for more information, she lets this out: "I don’t know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them]...I don’t know why people are saying differently...I’m going to go to the lottery office [today]. I bought some tickets separately.” Wait a minute. What now?

She doesn't know if she won?! Look, I understand that she's a Haitian immigrant (what I don't understand is what exactly that means, but that's a completely different post) and might not fully grasp some American customs. But I'm having a hard time believing that the lottery is one of those customs. She doesn't know if she won? Well, shouldn't she figure that before, oh...I don't know...perhaps telling everyone that she won?! And SOME of the numbers were familiar? Well, I should hope so! After all, they ARE numbers! But I usually reserve comments like that for when I look at calculus problems. "Hey! I recognize some of those numbers!" But it rarely happens in day to day situations, much less when it comes to winning the lottery. I wonder which numbers weren't familiar?

I have no idea if this woman won or not. The whole "Some of the numbers were familiar" bit could just be a highly ineffective way of trying to throw the other possibly rightful winners off of the money trail. But she does seem a little shifty. And doesn't seem like she makes the best of decisions. (Yes, I drew that conclusion from the fact that she has seven children, isn't married and works at McDonald's. Like you didn't?) She said that she's going to the lottery office on Wednesday. Can't wait to hear how that turns out! If I had to guess, I'd go with she didn't win at all and she's just a little nuts. It is going to make for an awkward return to work if that's the case, though. Very awkward.

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