Jack wrote this in May, 2005:
There’s an ongoing thread on the lottery discussion site, though maybeso it ends and begins again the way the head of a snake on a Hopi tablet pursues the tail, or poor old YinYang has to always go back to the place it began.
The thread is a carnival, a celebration of what the posters would do if they won the lottery. I’ve been thinking about that a bit, wondering what I might be wise enough to do or not do. Wondering what some of my best friends, as well as what some fascinating strangers I’ve never met might do.
Anyway, I think I know what I’d do. Naturally what I’d do would be jammed to the gullet with wisdom, good tastes, subdued good manners, though probably lacking in ostentation. Therefore, unworthy of sharing here on the blog, where I feel the responsibility to entertain and edify in equal parts.
So, let me discuss discerning tastes a bit. How good tastes have been demonstrated by close friends and associates.
When I was in the cabin waiting for the catastrophe of Y2k a jellicle cat of a certain size wandered in and hung around making a nuisance of himself to the other cats, but yearning for fulfillment as a barn cat. I always welcome cats if there’s room for them in my organizational chart. Particularly jellicle cats.
This one came to be known as Xerox. (Most of my adult life there’s been a place for a Mehitabel, a Hydrox, a Xerox, and a few other names. When there’s an opening in one of the names and a new animal arrives, it gets the empty name. When this one came there was an opening for a Xerox. Simple enough.)
Anyway, Xerox was a good cat. He caught a lot of mice, never succeeded in becoming an indoor cat, and dodged coyotes, owls and hawks for the duration of his tenure. He was holding himself back for better things.
After Y2k didn’t happen for most people, after it became obvious that I’d made an error in judgement that would require me to move back to town, Xerox naturally came with me. It was there in Grants, NM, while he stalked vermin along a ditch bank that Xerox had his moment of glory. A pair of bald eagles flew along that ditch a couple of times a day doing roughly the same thing Xerox was doing. Not many days passed before the male made a dive from a hundred feet and ended Xerox’s hunting days until the next life.
That, my friends, is discerning tastes. That is going out in high style for any cat, being killed by a great bald eagle.
On the other hand:
Naiad. Littermate to the current Hydrox, never cared much for Xerox, never paused to indulge in a moment of awe, respect for the discerning tastes of Xerox. She has her own methods of discernment, of demonstrating her breeding:
A couple of days ago she brought this to the front porch, placed it at my feet for my examination. It’s a rare bird in the US, particularly this far north. It’s a Streak-backed Oriole, usually found in Mexico, but sometimes in Arizona. This one can be found lying on a box in the carport in northern New Mexico. Haven’t arrived at a proper disposal approach. Anything I that comes to mind seems inadequate or inappropriate.
Anyway, I’m reasonably certain if Naiad won the jackpot her main ambition would be to kill an American Bald Eagle, preferably a male, and drop it at my feet on the porch.
There’s a man in Mullinville, Kansas, I’m betting has the most votes in all Christendom in favor of him not winning any lottery. His place borders the highway. Here’s an example of the kinds of things he’d most likely do a LOT more of if he won the jackpot:
It goes on for most of a mile, cartoon characters of plate steel. Everyone would probably as soon he sticks with the resources available to him now, as opposed to a sudden and unexpected means of acquiring a forest of shiny metal.
I have exquisite tastes, myself, and I can’t tell you how glad it makes me to see along any fence line, the least display of good tastes.