If you’re like a lot of us, you “sell” some of your mind-time to … lottery tickets. TV. Advertising jingles. Song lyrics. Politicians. Talking heads on Fox News. Preachers.
In each case, you let them into your head. And there’s a little bit less mind-stuff, mind-time, in which you can be you.
But again, just how serious is all this? After all, you also timeshare your mind with the influences of friends, loved ones, neighbors, kids. And as for family, you wouldn’t even have this mind without their early influence in gifting you with things like speech, culture and mannerisms.
The difference is this:
Some of the timesharing you’re subject to is parasitic. Far from being friends, loved ones, neighbors and kids, who demand something of you but who also share some large part of themselves and thereby enhance your life, a lot of these outer influences do nothing but promise you money. And, usually, fail to deliver. They take from you, but give nothing back.
The parasitic stuff gets into your head because it’s pushed there by insistent repetition. By lies. Seductive promises. Subliminal influences. Pervasive association. Manipulative propaganda techniques.
And it definitely has its own well-being in mind, rather than yours. The benefits go all one way. Subway does not want to give you a free sandwich. And in fact — get real! — they DON’T.
They raise the price on the sandwiches you buy, the sandwiches you must buy in order to get the deal, so that you pay in ten advance installments for the “free” sandwich … before you get it. AND so that you’re locked-in, or at least subtly influenced, to keep buying Subway sandwiches. You’re not going to quit going there when you’ve only got two more visits before you get the free sandwich, are you? The Subway Card in your wallet is a timeshare – part ownership – in your head.
Likewise, supermarkets do not give you lower prices on “specials” by actually lowering the price in such a way that they make less money. They produce the ILLUSION that certain prices are lower by raising the prices on everything else. (They raise the prices for everyone. Which means when you get a deal, or a “free” sandwich, it’s mostly paid for by other people.)
Meanwhile, by establishing a persistent presence in your head, a timeshare, they have you as a customer, pretty much for life.
And lottery tickets? Oh man, don’t get me started. I hate the Lottery more than I hate tobacco companies and miniature-dog breeders. Every time I pass by the lottery dispenser at the supermarket where I work, I see people lined up by the damned thing, and they might as well all be wearing shirts that say “Hi! Ask Me About My Pathetic Magical Dream of Money Being Showered On Me By Accident!”
The Lottery – the Stupidity Tax, the Hope Tax, the Idiots Who Can’t Do Math Tax – is our own government playing out a feral hunger on us, in a purified predator-prey relationship that returns, for most of us and for the billions we spend on it, nothing and less than nothing.
Meanwhile, it timeshares in people’s heads in its own little luxury condo on the shores of the If-Only Sea, overlooking beautiful When I Win the Lottery Bay, which is reached via the I’d Rather Do This Than Invest the Money and Time In My Own Efforts Turnpike, right off the Hey Look At Me I’m A Victim And I Don’t Even Know It exit.
Playing the Lottery is like paying an electric bill every month without getting any electricity in return, but you keep paying because you hear stories of people just like you winning free electricity for life.