While others made resolutions for 2016, I wished to be rich instead. I mentally laced up my running shoes for the rat race and felt ready to sprint uphill to arrive at phenomenal monetary gains.
Unfortunately for me, that hill is steeper because I haven’t read books on financial management, taken up any investment plans, bought stocks or done anything remotely concrete to aid my cause. The only recourse I could see was to participate in Singapore’s favourite hobby – the lottery.
And boy, did I suck at it.
It isn’t just that I have yet to win a single cent back from 4D, Toto or The Big Sweep; it’s also the hours I’ve lost in imagining the things I could do when I win. A day before the results (I now know that it’s Thursdays), I would sit at my office cubicle fantasising about my multiple villas in Bali and the exact steps I would take to make sure no one knew I had won.
I would waste time planning exactly how much I’d put into investments (have to make it last somehow, you know).
Even more thrilling was thinking about those big ticket items I could finally afford. A third of a million dollars on an A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna seems like a good bargain when you’re in Fantasy Land.
I would spend so many hours rapt in these thoughts that when the results come out and I hadn’t won, I’d feel Singapore Pools owed me something. “What?! How could your computer generated numbers not match mine? I’ve spent hours crafting my fantasy!” I cry foul in my head, tail between my legs.
I can’t fathom how people can do this every week – put themselves through all this hopeful torture and then come away with nothing. The complete randomness of lotteries is nothing like say, poker, where skill comes into play. I asked my mother, a “casual” lottery buyer, how she did it. She merely shrugged and said, “It’s fun.”
Contorting my face in exaggerated horror, I exclaimed my disbelief. How could it be humanly possible to anticipate winning a million dollars each week and ending the day with $10 less than you began with?
“Just think of it as throwing money away,” she counselled (a classic example of terrible advice, if I’ve ever heard some).
Interpreting my mother’s words, I reckon one shouldn’t be hoping to win a million dollars. Rather the thrill comes from the possibility of it.
Certainly, an attitude adjustment was needed and I’m proud to say I’ve given up my short-lived gambling habit. I will not be a slave to my fantasies. I now scour the Internet for stories on lottery winners who have gone bankrupt to make myself feel better and as a poignant reminder that Lady Luck isn’t someone to be trifled with.
Oh, and I’ve also picked up poker.
Truth be told, Sean’s completely ineptitude at poker stems from him being an absolute sore loser. Full tilt, all the way.
Originally published in the April ’16 issue of August Man