In Steve’s Words
I don’t know if I ever told you about the time Sharon and I won the Oregon Lottery.
A million dollars as I recall. It was (circa) 1986 in Portland. I was working as a Manager at a fast-food seafood restaurant called Skippers (As in Arthur Treacher’s, as in Long John Silver’s).
Cut fish, dress fish, cook fish. Clean fryers. Cut fish, dress fish, cook fish. Clean fryers. Etc., etc., ad nauseam.
After work I stopped by the liquor store to get some beer. I got $5 worth of tickets for next week and got a printout of this week’s winning numbers.
After dinner I’m watching the news and reading the sports page. They have the winning numbers in the paper so I take out my tickets from this week to check them.
I got the first number.
I got the second number.
I got the third number.
OMG !!!!! I GOT THE FOURTH NUMBER, TOO.
My heart is popping out of my chest.
HOLY SHIT!!!! I GOT ‘EM ALL.
Before I yell and scream I give the ticket to Sharon to double check to see if I’m right.
Slowly but surely, we go over each number. I WAS RIGHT. WE’RE MILLIONAIRES.
Oh my God, I can’t believe it.
We are jumping up and down, laughing and screaming, crying.
Hugging, singing, dancing.
I remember a certain peace. A calmness.
I never once thought about buying anything. No cars, no boats, no vacations.
Secure. That’s what I felt.
I never once thought of quitting my job. All I could think of was who to call first.
I couldn’t call my mom. By now she would be in bed.
I couldn’t call Bud. It’s midnight there.
Fortunately, we didn’t call anyone, because out of the clear blue sky Sharon asks, “What does this mean at the bottom of the ticket, ‘Void Not For Sale’?
It took about 30 seconds, but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had mixed the ‘winning printout’ with last weeks tickets.
I felt H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. Now I had to explain my stupidity to Sharon. I tried.
She said, “No problem, I can fix that”, as she got out the scissors and cut off the ‘Void, Not for Sale’ at the bottom of the ticket. She said, “See, just like new. Who would sell a ticket that said void not for sale on it? The numbers are there, that’s all that matters.”
I tried again. This time she got it.
The High was really, really High.
But, the Low was Devastating. Debilitating. Probably a little bit like Death.
Would I ever know Joy again ?
Thank God I didn’t call anybody. Thank God for small favors.
I went to work. Cut fish, dressed fish, cooked fish. F-U-C-K the fryers.
I went to the liquor store and bought a fifth of dark rum and we got blasted.
I don’t think about it too much anymore. And when I do, it’s not nearly so painful.
As far as Sharon went, it didn’t phase her. That’s kind of how she is. She experienced a blissful peace for a few minutes, then like the wind it was gone.
Back to reality.
We both were grateful that we had each other and our dog kids with whom to share those few moments of ultimate security.