The Lottery and The South


I bought lottery tickets. It’s not something most talk about down South. It’s not something people own up to. It’s seen in the Bible belt as “gambling.” I once heard a pastor say that it’s not Godly to play the lottery, but it is to pray for your friends or family to win….

Apparently,  I grew up in a “gambling” family. Grandpa would walk down to the corner store, buy a lottery ticket and lose. Sometimes he’d win and cover his losses.  To my ten year old senses, it just something like a game at a carnival where you give money and hope to win something – isn’t that gambling?

Today, I was in line at the local gas station holding my Powerball sheet.  A white haired woman in her late 60’s notices and asks, “How do you do that? I mean, how do you play that? I’ve always wondered.”

Realizing, this is going to go one way or another, I answer her… forgetting my half Yankee accent. I finish off, “…or you can let the computer choose it for you.”

“Oh, I just couldn’t do it,” she shakes her head and I brace for a lecture. “No one from the South ever wins.”



“Well then it’s high time, isn’t it?” and I smile. Because I feel I have even better odds. My status of “Southern” is always up for debate.

Besides, as I walked away, it didn’t make sense to me. This is the Bible belt after all. Can’t God let SOMEONE from the South win?

And then I realize something even more obvious. We have our own NC lottery and someone from the south always wins.

Either way, the only thing worse than 1 in a bajillion chances is zero.

Grandpa would be proud….

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erika Nielsen
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 18:19:27

    I did buy one too! hahahahaha You wrote again, finally! I was waiting for it! Yes, maybe someone from the South will win (I am including South America, too).


  2. Linda
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 12:47:46

    Good to see you’re back! This is a great post.
    My mother used to put scratch off tickets in our Christmas stockings, but she was a Texas Southerner, good Lutheran that she was. My dad only bet when they went to the Kentucky Derby, but then he was a Virginian from horse country and an solid Episcapalian. They weren’t what I’d call gamblers, as much as good sports. None of us ever won much of anything, and far too practical to think we would. I think of buying a lottery ticket as pure entertainment. When I buy one, I know I’ll be occupied with imaginings of how I am going to spend my winnings for hours, sometimes days, depending on the amount of the jack pot. It’s fun to ponder how to spend a few million dollars. Of course since I don’t expect to win, I’ll be the one who tossed there ticket before the drawing, when it happens. Now wouldn’t that be a real bummer?!


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