Alice-Azania Jarvis: Lottery ticket is a sound investment as I'm sure to win

In The Red
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The Independent Online

For the first time in my life, I've entered the lottery. This is most exciting; I'm entirely convinced I'll win. Even if I don't, I think this is probably it. From now on, I'm bound to become a perpetual ticket buyer, one of those people who hold up the corner shop queue, fiddling around with their colourful bits of paper and number combinations.

Speaking of which: why exactly are there so many bits of paper? It all seems terribly complicated, like some giant national sport that everyone gets but me. I suppose that's what it is, really. In my naiveté, all I asked for was a lottery ticket – but was confronted with a perplexing array of options: draw, scratch card, pull, lucky dip, national, euro-millions, Lotto, fundable, magic numbers... I went for the Lotto, which seemed the most straightforward, only to confront another agonising riddle: How to choose my numbers?

Is it best to pick them deliberately based on friends' and relatives' birthdays, important dates, telephone numbers? Or should you just close your eyes and pick at random? After several minutes' frantic (and futile) probability calculations I went for the random option. I guess I'll find out how sensible that was tonight.

It isn't, of course, terribly expensive to enter. Still, it's one of those costs I've always avoided on the basis that it's "money down the drain". Indeed, I've always thought it was vaguely exploitative: peddling dreams and all that, taking people's money in exchange for the implausible promise of riches. Of course, now that I've actually entered I've changed my opinion entirely. After all, I'm going to win. I'm convinced.

In truth, I'm not sure any of this would have come about were it not for the fact that I'm currently living a life of leisure (I'm on holiday, remember, "staycationing" in the UK). Suddenly it has dawned on me that, were I to hit the lottery jackpot, I could live like this every day – and not have to worry about the cost of amusing myself.

Incidentally, for those chomping at the bit to hear the verdict on my much-advertised trip to Cornwall, a little patience: that's for next week. Depending on what time you read this, I'll be sitting in a car somewhere on the road between London and Penzance.

In the meantime, I've been reacquainting myself with the delights of Tower Hamlets (swine flu capital of the world), spending most of my time studying the weather forecast and contemplating the inevitable wash-out next week. Another reason, surely, to play the lottery. After all, if you win, a Caribbean holiday is almost compulsory. So, fingers crossed!

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