Bateman: You can’t win if you don’t play

By Oliver Bateman

Times are tough all over for you young folks. Word has it that there will be only one… Times are tough all over for you young folks. Word has it that there will be only one available job when you graduate from college, so working is out of the question. Sponging off Ma and Pa might be an option, but that’s not something any swinging single would want to do. Fame could work if you’re as awful as that fat, sassy girl on that MTV reality show, but she’s one of a kind and you probably aren’t. It appears we’ve exhausted every possibility save one: the lottery.

The lottery is a can’t-miss proposition. Introduced into our state in 1972 as a quick and painless way of getting poor people to give their money to faceless bureaucrats, this legal numbers racket has created almost as many millionaires as the Carolina Bobcats. Unlike the Carolina Bobcats, though, the lottery doesn’t demand a 42-inch vertical leap or a textbook jumpshot in exchange for such princely wages. It requires only that you pick the best numbers, which is a snap if you know your lottery strategies as well as we do.

See, many people think the lottery is just a game of chance. The numbers are randomly selected, they say, and there’s no way to beat the system. Well, there’s a name for those people: losers. Not only can you beat the system, you can beat it frequently. A master lotteryman can walk out of his apartment or townhouse, stroll down to the corner grocery, buy a ticket and count on five or six years of guaranteed income. It’s just that simple.

“How do I become a master lotteryman?” you ask. Friend, it’s more facile than growing a goatee or turning your baseball cap backward. First, get a handful of your favorite numbers — we happen to like 1, 7, 9, 3 and 2 — and draw them close to your heart. If you need help picking favorite numbers, opt for powerful ones like your grandfather’s dog’s birthday or the combined weight of the contestants on “American Idol.” It’s good to have favorite numbers because they carry a lot more luck. Since the lottery was designed for players with average or below-average luck, extra luck might put you over the top.

Next, develop a feel for the stores in your neighborhood that sell lottery tickets. It’s all about location, location, location in this game. Some stores are real cold and never sell a winner. Others sell nothing but winners. These places are called “hot shops” or “hot boxes” in lotteryman lexicon and are where you want to go when you need fast cash.

You’re also going to need plenty of intuition  — “court vision” to put it in terms that a Carolina Bobcats hoopster could grasp. You can cultivate this intuition by reading lottery winners’ stories, which are available on the state’s lottery website. One woman won big by playing the lottery during a week when her hands itched, so that’s something you could try. Another fellow got so nervous about playing that he had his wife buy the winning ticket. This one will probably be a bit tougher if you’re a confirmed bachelor, but we think it would work just fine if you substitute your mom for your wife.

Finally, you need to think about what you’re going to do with all of your winnings. The usual crowd of do-gooders and try-harders will put the arm on you to give that money to conceptual artists, buskers, documentary filmmakers or some other distressed, dispossessed group. Far be it from us to tell you how to spend your pesos, but the most recent statistics show that the lottery is one of the safest investments you can make. Plus, you’ve already won once, so your odds of winning again are bound to have increased. Winning the lotto is like riding a bicycle: It’s a skill you never forget and always treasure.

Oliver Bateman is the co-founder and president of the Moustache Club of America, which is a website of some kind. He and a bunch of other sad sacks produce and direct the stories on there. Go to if you want to check out their extra tasty-crispy swimsuit edition.