In timeshare terms, the Lottery lives in your head in all that time you spend dreaming about what you’ll do with the money. The time you spend deciding which tickets to buy, and then buying them, scratching them, suffering the small disappointments, and the small seductive wins. The time you spend talking about it with friends, the time you spend defending each week’s purchase with yourself, or your spouse, or your skeptical kids. The time you spend thinking about how much money you have to devote to it this week. The time you spend checking the numbers, or watching the drawings on TV. The time you spend waiting for the numbers to be announced. Even the time you spend picking up your losing tickets and chucking them in the trash.
All of that time and money and mind, however small an amount you think it is, and however worthwhile an investment you believe each Lottery ticket purchase to be, is taken from you. Subtracted from you.
In the time you spend doing all this Lottery-related thinking, the Lottery OWNS you.
You could even argue that, in terms of the personal expense of giving over part of your mind to the Lottery, it’s better to lose than to win. Because a losing ticket just goes in the garbage, and you stop thinking about it. But a winning ticket has to be dealt with. You have to spend extra time and mind on it. Collecting your winnings, deciding what to do with them, talking happily with friends about the win, musing about the Big Win that you now know could really still happen, convincing yourself you should buy still more tickets.
All of these timeshares demand a little bit of your mind. A little bit of YOU. Which gives you less time – your mental access time – in which to BE you.
Maybe you’re still thinking this is a silly point? That after all, the coupons, the special deals, the free sandwiches, the Lottery, they’re just minor little parts of our society, our ordinary lives?
But the cumulative aggregate of time and mind you spend on such things, living as we do in the age of advertising and marketing, is significant.
In their hands.
My feeling is, if Subway wants 5 minutes a week of MY time and mind, they’re going to have to damned well offer more than 50 cents for it, and the privilege of carrying around that goddam card. (Which, considering the “free” sandwich is a complete farce, they aren’t really paying anyway.)
If the state government (partnered up with a Lottery company) wants a half hour of my mind-time and ten dollars of my money every week or so, they’re going to have to give me something real for it.
Because there’s only so much of me to go around, I want all of it, both my time and my mind, exclusively available for MY use. No “reward” – especially a phony one tinkered up by some bright young jackass in a corporate marketing department – is great enough to take that away from me.
For all the dreams and aspirations you want in life, for every accomplishment you hope to accomplish, for all the thinking you have yet to do and the understanding you hope to grow into as you get older, you have this one asset: your mind, and the time you invest in operating it.
Every coupon, voucher and special “deal” is nothing more than a fishing lure, a bright bit of fakery dangled in your face for this one purpose: To get you to think the things they want you to think. To own some part of your mind. To own some part of YOU.
For me, at least, the point isn’t that I don’t want a sandwich. The point is that I don’t want those people in my head.
There aren’t enough sandwiches in the world to get me to give ground on THAT.