Behold, Age-Restricted Items in Vending Machines

We stepped off the plane in Minneapolis. Good Man looked around. “This looks like the airport in Denmark,” he said. Most of the employees at National were Latino. In Atlanta, African-American. In Minnesota, white.

“It’s true. Lots of Nordic blood here. Look!” I pointed to a vending machine, “You can buy iPods in a vending machine!”

“So strange,” said Good Man.

“Behold! Age-restricted items in vending machines!” I said, gesturing to a machine selling Minnesota scratch-off lottery tickets. “Give me five bucks.”

“What is this?”

I fed the money into the machine and looked for interesting looking cards. “You’ll see,” I said, punching “Fortune Cookie,” “Meat Raffle,” and “Heart of Gold.” I muttered to myself, “‘Meat Raffle,’ if that isn’t Minnesotan…”

I showed Good Man how to scratch off the tickets and match the numbers. We won $2 on Heart of Gold. 1:10 chance of that.

On Friday, on our trip to the Northern Shore, we traded in the ticket for another one. I was figuring we’d just play with the $5 we spent until we lost. No big deal. Just harmless fun.

We won another $2. (1:100 chance of getting two $2 winners in a row.)

On the way back to my parents’ house, we traded it in for another Heart of Gold ticket.

You get two winning numbers and scratch off ten more. If any of the ten numbers match either of the two winning numbers, you win the prize shown. My numbers were 5 and 24. I scratched of a 5. Oooh, $5! I uncovered a 24. Ooh! Another $5. I uncovered the entire card, which was covered in 5s and 24s for $5 each.

I showed the card to my mom, who had been teasing me about wasting money. She did the math.

I showed it to George. He did the math.

I showed it to Good Man.

I looked up the odds. 1:600 of winning $50. (1:60,000 chance of getting two $2 tickets and a $50 ticket. Someone correct me if my math is wrong.)

“OK,” I said to Good Man, “we’re done now.”

Saturday, after practicing driving for 90 minutes, we stopped at a gas station to hand control of the car over to Mom. Good Man cashed in the ticket.

“Oh, that’s a big winner, you know,” the attendant said.