Almost Magical

David Gartland

THE OTHER DAY, WHEN my son and I were out on our daily trash pickup walk, I found a $5 bill. No one was around, so I didn’t know who dropped it. It was just lying there.

I picked it up and put it in my wallet with all my other “pocket money.” This is money I use whenever credit cards aren’t allowed. The $5 bill slipped in next to the other $5 bills. I continued walking. The beauty of walking is it allows you to think. Since you aren’t driving, you don’t need to focus and instead your mind can just drift.

When I’m mowing my lawn, I’m also just walking, occasionally stopping to turn around. This becomes a great time to think about whatever. The blood is circulating but my brain is not being used for any great purpose. I come up with some of my best ideas during such walking sessions.

During this particular trash pickup walk, I started to think of using my newly found $5 for something special. My first thought was to buy a $3 scratch-off ticket that has the possibility of paying $5,000 a month for life. I’d cash the winning ticket under our local first-aid squad’s name, so the squad could get guaranteed funding.

Then I thought the New Jersey Lotto would need an individual’s name and Social Security number for tax purposes. In that case, I’d redeem the ticket in my name, and then donate the money every month to our first-aid squad since I found the $5 near its building.

Now that I had an investment strategy, off I went to our local ShopRite grocery store to buy my scratch-off. One problem: The scratch-off I purchased wasn’t the grand-prize-winning ticket. It was a winning ticket, however. It paid $10 on a $3 purchase. Good return.

As you’ll have noticed, I didn’t spend the entire $5 on the scratch-off. Maybe this was a bad move. Did I need to spend the entire amount to get the full effect of this magical $5? If I used the remaining $2 to buy a multi-million-dollar Powerball ticket, I could fulfill my charitable donation with the Powerball jackpot.

So, I bought the Powerball ticket with the remaining $2. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the jackpot, nor anything else for that matter. Still, I had my winning $3 scratch-off, which I took to ShopRite to collect. I asked for one $10 bill and put it in my pocket, where it is today. When they win a small lottery prize, many people feel compelled to let the money ride and buy another Lotto ticket or scratch-off to try and make a killing. I don’t.

It was fun to think that this particular $5 bill I found might be different from all the others. Maybe it was: It did give me one of my biggest payouts compared to all the other lotto tickets and scratch-offs I’ve bought over the years.

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