Around the bend: Dream leads to big lottery ‘jackpot’

Guess what: I won the lottery.
I never thought it would happen to me. I don’t win at games of chance. I’m not one of those charmed people who spend $50 a week on scratch tickets and score a $1,500 jackpot every decade or so. I just don’t have that kind of luck.
I’m amazed I actually won. But what’s even more incredible is that I knew it was going to happen. The numbers came to me in a dream.
Seriously. In a dream, I saw the sequence 9, 7, 1, 3. A person with a better memory than me would have known if the combination represented a familiar phone number or PIN, or the last four digits of their Social Security number. I don’t have that kind of photographic recall, however. So I treated the dream as a sign that I should play the Vermont Pick 4 lottery.
I know nothing about buying lottery tickets so I had to ask the clerk at the local store how the Pick 4 works. Taking my dollar, she gave me an in-depth explanation: “You pick four numbers.”
Ah. So not only is the lottery “good, clean fun,” it’s also surprisingly simple.
In the hours leading up to that evening’s drawing, clutching my practically guaranteed winning ticket, I anticipated what would happen next. It wasn’t about the money. It was more about the change that would occur in my worldview if a dream actually foretold a winning lottery combination. What forces were at work?
I tossed around a few possible explanations: First, it could be a coincidence, though this was unlikely. In my experience, a coincidence is when you tell your child’s teacher you can’t bake cookies for the class party because you are too sick, and then later that day, when you are out playing Frisbee at the rec park, she shows up to walk her dog.
Maybe it was God, blessing me not with health, compassion or wisdom, but with something better: money. If not God, then maybe fate. Maybe my destiny was to make other people feel inferior simply through having gobs of cash to lord over them.
My last guess was superhero abilities. Perhaps my brain, due to genetic mutation or eating foods high in antioxidants — and I have been hitting the blueberry smoothies pretty hard lately — had developed the ability to predict the future. After 42 years of not even being able to predict the quickest line at the supermarket, this would be a late but welcome surprise.
As the minutes ticked down to the drawing, however, I realized it didn’t matter how I had gained this power. As long as I could get money, not through hard work and perseverance but simply by having random integers pop into my head, I didn’t care about the details.
And then came the drawing. As I had expected, four magical digits came up: 8, 7, 5, 2.
I had won!
Now, astute readers may note that the sequence “8, 7, 5, 2” is not, technically, “9, 7, 1, 3.” True. But according to Vermont Lottery rules, picking one number in the correct position — in this case the 7 — still entitles you to prize money.
And it never would have happened without my dream.
The lottery is only the beginning. I now know my subconscious holds the key to great things.
Right after I go on a brief shopping spree, I am totally going to work on harnessing my precognitive abilities for making the world a better place. My dreams could help me predict terrorist attacks or warn mankind of imminent natural disasters. Or maybe even pick a Super Bowl winner.
For now, however, I’m dealing with the immediate effects of my Pick 4 triumph. I’ve heard lottery winners sometimes get caught up in the money, lose sight of their priorities and end up financially and spiritually bankrupt.
I won’t let that happen to me. I know exactly what matters in life. I can’t currently remember what it is because at the moment I’m seeing big green dollar signs everywhere, but I’m sure it will come to me. It’s family or inner peace. Or maybe love. Whatever.
First, however, I need to take care of some technical details. My jackpot — before taxes — comes to $2.50. I’m still deciding whether to take it in a lump sum or installments.

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