Wednesday 20 July 2011


Last night when I sat down to write the blog I saw the word “Dreams” where there should have been a blank page. I had no memory of putting it at the top of the page, but I must have at some point during the day. The way that I work is that throughout the day make notes on napkins, newspapers or little notebooks of things that I think would be interesting for me to write about. Hopefully it is interesting for people to read as well. It took most of the day today, but I finally remembered why I had written “Dreams”.

Not too long ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with some friends and we overheard a couple at an adjacent table talking about that week’s lottery. The prize was around 40,000,000 give or take a million or two, which is nothing to sneeze at. They were talking about how they would spend it. The guy said he would buy a cherry red corvette which he saw in a movie or a TV show and had always wanted. His female companion said that she would buy a nice car for sure, but the first thing she would do is to toss all of her clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe. Oh, and a shoe store!

This started us on what we would each do if we won the lottery. Mostly it was the same things that we had now, but bigger and better. Bigger house, better car, nicer clothes, help out the kids and of course give to needy causes.

It would be nice to be able to help out causes that you are unable to at the present time and give really cool gifts to friends and relatives. The lottery win is the dream of the masses now. I am waiting to win a lottery right now, and earlier tonight I didn’t win a dream home or a car or a $100,000. Here’s hoping!

Why I wrote down “Dreams” yesterday wasn’t about the lottery, but about what life was like before lotteries existed in this country. The only lottery that I knew about back in the day was the Irish Sweepstakes which was sort of, kind of, perhaps, technically illegal. Everyone bought tickets, and if you were drawn you would get a horse in a race and if your horse won you were living on easy street. The prizes were tiny compared to today’s massive payouts, but enough to make you very happy. My mom had her ticket drawn and for a week or two visions of sugar plums danced in our heads. Her horse was scratched, so she only received $1000, but that was still a nice bit of tax free cash.

Other than that lottery there really wasn’t any other comparable game of chance (luck). What then did people dream about? We would dream that a rich uncle that we had never heard of would die and leave us his considerable fortune. We would dream about getting some money together and opening up a restaurant, garage, and shoe store and generally make a living doing what we loved or knew best.

There were dreams about writing a book and having it become a best seller.

Perhaps you might invent something like “white out” correction fluid for typists. Bette Nesmith Graham invented that because she was a bad typist and made a lot of mistakes. She eventually sold her company (she was fired from her job for a spelling mistake) for 47.5 million. Her son was Mike Nesmith of the Monkees.

Most of the dreams were really quite doable back then, unlike today’s dreams of the big lottery win. Your chance of winning the 6/49 is about 1 in 14,000,000, which is possible, but barely. The dreams of yesteryear were so much more realistic because a lot of the dreams were based on you getting off of your fat ass and actually doing something. I think that we have lost ourselves in the easy money of the lotto. Personally, I will probably still keep buying tickets but I am also going to get off of my fat ass and try to do something.

Wish me luck...


  1. Good story about our dreams and wishes. I have a friend that did win a million dollars from the old and first Canadian lottery "The Olympic Lottery " with proceeds to help fund the Montreal Games in the 70's. Well today he is just your average joe as his EX wife burned through it at local bars outside of Winnipeg playing VLT's. He thought she was working evening and he found out when his cheques for taxes and utilties bounced. Sad but true OUCH! B

  2. That's worse than never winning the lottery. I hope he got a new wife.I don't think I could ever forgive someone that did that. I am getting mad at Louise already, just in case...