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July 8, 1996

The GBHP School For Writers

Today we're going to discuss a very important subject: The narrative perspective. As an example, I will answer a question in first, second, and third person.

The Question: Hey, Greg, how was the weather during your recent vacation?

First Person: I thought it was pretty damn hot.

Second Person: You thought it was pretty damn hot.

Third Person: It was a hellish, oppressive heat, the kind that leeches a man's strength in rivulets of sweat, soaking and staining his shirt like the blood of a deep wound. As he wiped the moisture from his brow, he thought to himself, "hey, it's pretty damn hot."

Our next lesson - Why alliteration is normally not nice.

And The Winner Is...
Copyright 1996 - Greg Bulmash - All Rights Reserved

Saturday night the California 6/51 Lottery jackpot was 48 million dollars. That comes out to 2.4 million dollars per year (before taxes). And up until Saturday night, when I found out that the 2.4 million a year wasn't going to me, I already had the first year spent... in my imagination.

See, that's what the lottery is all about. My odds of winning are approximately 1 in 18 million. If every person (man, woman, and child) in California were to buy one ticket for each lotto drawing, some very simple calculations say it would take a mere 103,000 years before everyone had won once... assuming there was a winner every draw, no one won twice, the population remained the same, and we all lived that long. I'm not buying a chance to win. I'm renting a fantasy.

With the purchase of that lotto ticket comes the thought "hey, someone's gotta win and that someone could be me... you never know!" And with that thought comes the plans for how I will spend the money.

When I was younger and more naive, I would first think about how I'd share the money with my family and what I'd give to charity. For some reason I thought it would get God to look more favorably on me and be more inclined to let me win. After many heart-rending disappointments, I realized that such thinking of others wasn't helping, so now I'm just real selfish. I still don't win, but I have more imaginary money to spend.

I think about what I'll buy... A new house, new car, trip to Las Vegas in style. Maybe a month in Prague. Why Prague? I have no idea. It just sounds neat. I could come back and people would say "where have you been?"

"I've been in Prague!" I'd say. There would be a bunch of oohs and aahs, and then they'd ask "where's Prague?" People in the U.S. aren't really good at geography. In Los Angeles we can tell you how to get from Magic Mountain to Disneyland and give you alternate routes in case of traffic. But don't ask us to point either place out on a map. We'd have better luck throwing darts at a spinning globe.

But I digress. What I really should be talking about is how there won't be any columns after I finally win the lottery because I'll be so busy counting my money. And if I don't win next time... well, you can bet I'm going to quit when I do win. So if you're still reading my columns in 103,000 years, you better watch out, because I'll be due for that jackpot any day.

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