Saturday, August 20, 2016
I buy a Powerball ticket every week, unless I forget. I know the odds of winning the jackpot are about 292 million to 1, but I also know if I don’t buy a ticket, the odds are even higher. I also buy a Hoosier Lotto ticket while I’m at the counter. The odds of winning the jackpot on that one are only 12 million to 1, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my $2.00 quite as much.
Last week when I stopped to get my tickets, the cashier accidently printed off a Mega Millions ticket instead of a Lotto ticket. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are about 176 million to 1, so I thought about telling the clerk about his mistake and exchanging for the ticket with better odds, but then I thought about how bad I’d feel if he had to buy the mistake himself, and about how much worse I would feel if he would have won with that ticket. Especially if both of mine lost. Which they did.
Sometimes things don’t work out, but I figure most of the time we ought to ask for what we want, and get what we ask for. I usually don’t complain if I order my eggs over medium and they come out over easy. But if I order a hamburger and it comes out fish, I’ll probably point that out to the server. And I’ll probably take a little more time and make sure they understand what I want the next time I stop in.
In my younger days, Mom and Dad used to load all of us kids in the car occasionally and take us down to Miller’s Dairy in Cambridge City for an ice cream cone. It was the only place in the area where I could get my favorite, pistachio ice cream. Unfortunately for me in my younger days, I also had a difficult time pronouncing pistachio. Even if I practiced saying pistachio all the way from Millville to Cambridge City, I invariably butchered the pronunciation when I ordered, much to the delight of the ice cream dipper, my brothers and sisters, and everybody in line behind me. I eventually decided it was easier to just order strawberry.
This November, voters get a chance to order the type of government they want. And a lot of people aren’t too happy about what’s on the regular menu. I’ve heard a lot of people say they are voting for a presidential candidate they don’t like in order to make sure a candidate they like less doesn’t win. I guess that’s one way to look at it, but to me it sounds a lot like eating a fish sandwich when you could have had a hamburger. Or strawberry ice cream when you really wanted pistachio.
I certainly understand the disappointment people are feeling with the choices the two old parties are offering this year. I’ve felt that way for a long time. I’m also happy that there is a third option, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. He hasn’t received as much attention as the other two, but if he does, I think most folks will find the other two a little harder to swallow.
Admittedly, it’s not what most people are used to, but if you want to ask for a constitutionally limited government, you’re going to have to order off the menu.
Whether you call it Independence Day or simply the 4th of July, it’s a day most Americans acknowledge and celebrate. When I was a kid at Millville, we looked forward to the fireworks that were launched at Memorial Park in New Castle. We seldom got to go to the park, but we discovered that if we watched out of the attic window on the west side of the house, we could at least see the rockets that made it past the tree line. I found out in later years there were also some ground displays involved in the show, but Dad never mentioned those to us, so we didn’t know we were missing anything.
It was a little more exciting whenever I got together with my old buddy Stinky Wilmont around the 4th. Stinky’s Uncle Wilmer lived in Tennessee, and sometimes when he came up for a visit he would bring a trunk load of firecrackers with him. Firecrackers weren’t legal in Indiana back then, unless you had a permit and were putting on a show for everybody at Memorial Park or someplace like that. Later on I think you could buy them in Indiana if you promised you wouldn’t light them here, but I think a lot of people forgot what they had promised when they got home and it got dark.
Anyway, Stinky always had some little firecrackers called Black Cats with the fuses all woven together, and sometimes we took them apart so we could light them one at a time and make them last all night. You could also light them all at once, and it made a lot of noise, and everybody hollered and ran away, but it didn’t last very long that way. He also had some bigger firecrackers called Cherry Bombs and M-80s, but I didn’t like them as much because they were awfully loud, and Uncle Wilmer was missing part of two fingers.
I think you can buy a lot of different types of firecrackers in Indiana now, at least that is what it sounds like over at the neighbors. I kind of lost interest in them as I got older, and since we switched to Daylight Savings Time I’m usually asleep before it gets dark enough to appreciate them anyway.
I did think it was kind of ironic that we celebrated our freedom with items our government told us we couldn’t have. And I guess I’m glad I’ll be able to buy them in Indiana if I want to, and that I won’t have to make up a story about where I’m going to set them off.
Even though we’re allowed to buy firecrackers now, there are a lot of things we’re not allowed to buy. I was informed the other day at the county fair that I couldn’t buy raw milk. I learned if I wanted raw milk, I had to buy part interest in a cow. Then I could pay someone to feed her and milk her, and put the milk in a jar, and I could have a gallon a week. If I wanted more than that, I would have to buy more of the cow. I thought it would be a lot simpler if the government would just let me buy the milk in the first place, but that’s not how the government works.
It all reminded me once again how difficult it is to name three things that our government doesn’t tax or regulate, and it made me wonder if maybe I ought to buy a few firecrackers while I still can, and before the government changes its mind again.
It’s all well and good that we get to celebrate our freedoms on the 4th, but we might want to spend a little more time protecting those we still have, and maybe reclaiming some of those we don’t.