I am not the brightest bulb on Broadway, no. But I am not as dumb as Jefferson Phil thinks I am.

My long-range financial planning consists exclusively of the purchase of a ridiculous amount of lottery tickets, virtually every week. When I journey south to Florida, my habit comes with me and I buy Florida Lotto tickets twice a week.

Often my enthusiasm for this outlandish waste of cash rubs off on my companions, such as Jefferson Phil.

Last week, we wasted about $10 on Lotto tickets between us. With an oath in blood, we promised to share all the “winnings.” You think we are dumb? Fashionably Bohemian Bob wanted to share in the winnings, until we carefully explained to him that he would have to buy $5 of Lotto tickets as well. This was an insurmountable task for Bohemian Bob and he was left out of the sweepstakes.

Naturally, on Thursday morning, we got the Lotto results from Wednesday night and didn’t win a dime. On Friday (the 13th) we decided to tempt fate and rent kayaks on Captiva Island and circumnavigate Buck Key. It was a rare glimpse of the fabulous island houses that are built along the waterfront, away from the prying eyes of the poor tourists.

Coming back from the island we had to, of course, make ready for the Saturday lottery and stopped at the first gas station we came to.

The first hint I had was that Phil was taking an inordinate amount of time filling out his lottery slip. Plus, his body language indicated he had more than usual to hide.

When he got back in the car he handed me the winning Wednesday night numbers and his (alleged) Wednesday night tickets. He wanted me to check them to make sure he didn’t miss anything.

I saw that he got the first number. Then the second. Then the third.

Wait a minute. Even I couldn’t fall for that. “What did you do?” I said, noting that he got the last three numbers, too, indicating a $30 million win.

I knew it was a phony, but I had no idea what he had done. He had the winning numbers on a certified lottery ticket. Then I looked at the ticket and realized it was a ticket for the coming Saturday, with Wednesday’s winning number on it. Phil had added the winning number from the previous drawing to a ticket for the next drawing.

If I hadn’t seen him hunched over the counter for so long, I might not have suspected anything. But then again, it was Phil, who had his poor children convinced that there was a moose living in their attic.


Thank God, Phil didn’t win a dime in his nefarious effort. Now, Bohemian Bob and I somehow won $12 in the last lottery. When the woman started paying me off in cash I said, “No, no. Tickets!”

We are now awaiting our winnings on a $40 million lottery. The assumption is a cash payoff of about $20 million or about $10 million, cash, each, after taxes.

When the days are not filled with baseball, they feature endless discussions of what car (new BMW) we will buy and what repossessed property (possibly on Captiva Island with the other jillionaires) we will buy.

Because that, after all, is what lotteries are for. Not for deceiving your faithful friends. We plan to pay off everyone’s mortgage and car loan.

Not Phil’s.

Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at emmetmeara@msn.com.