Jack wrote this in March, 2005:
I consider everything that happens to be metaphysical, but if I didn’t I’m not certain I’d think this was.
I don’t often get into Albuquerque, but one weekday a friend had to pick up a rental car. She asked me to take her into town to pick it up. I dropped her off at the rental car place, hung around to make certain the car was ready, and crossed under the freeway, intending to get on the northbound ramp. But I missed the turn.
It was summertime, hot in the truck, and I was feeling a bit weird. I’m 62 years old and have had the occasional dizzy spell, so I drove along thinking I’d find a place to go inside for a cold drink and a breather. I was feeling really strange and disoriented. Even though I knew the area, I was uncertain exactly where I was.
I came to a major intersection with a fast food joint on it…. Der Weinerschnitzel… hadn’t noticed it before in the area, but any port in a storm, thinks I. I parked and joined the line inside waiting to order.
The guy behind me, a gunzel looking fellow maybe 50, unexceptional in his looks, started talking to me while we waited. He said some things, I don’t recall what about, that piqued my interest. He was just passing through town, I know he said, had to pass some time.
I ordered a drink and sat down. When he got his order he came and sat down near me and we continued talking across a couple of tables until he got up and brought his food over to my table. Started talking about the lottery. I didn’t have much interest in the lottery. Bought a QP now and then, but otherwise it seemed a stupid waste of money.
The guy said he was a numerologist. I pretended dumb on the subject, though I’d read a good bit about it. Asked him a lot of questions, and his answers convinced me he was not only NOT a numerologist, but he didn’t know what a numerologist was. I had him pegged for a BS artist. But the conversation wasn’t costing anything and it was cool inside. I sipped and listened.
He said he travels all the time, playing lotteries state to state, makes a circuit. Said he makes his living that way. “Yeah, right!” I thinks silently. Said he studied the numbers constantly.
I plied him with a few questions for the sake of courtesy. It didn’t take a lot to keep him talking. The man was enthusiastic on the subject. Got out a pen and started writing things down on a napkin, making charts, showing me a few of the ways the numbers behave. Told me he’d been doing this for 12 years, never won a jackpot, but made a living off it anyway. Said he’d figured it out all by himself, when I asked if there were any books on the subject. I didn’t believe much about what he was saying, but I do believe in what Vonnegutt called, ‘dancing lessons from God’, …. letting unexpected experiences happen and riding along with them a while.
Anyway, the guy finished eating, left me with a handfull of napkins with drawings on them and a fairly vivid recollection of the conversation. I left, too, and when I drove away I discovered I didn’t know precisely where I was, still. I drove around a while until I saw a familiar cross street and headed home.
It was several months, those napkins sitting there wadded in view, before I got around to pulling up the lotteries and looking a bit to see whether there was anything to what I’d been told. There was. Just enough to get me looking at what the splinters he gave me implied.
Since then I’ve been spending 20 bucks a draw on the lotteries, usually PB. 10 tickets per draw, plus the multiplier. I’m still exploring the possibilities implied by what he told me, working every draw to learn more. But after about a year I’m not more than $50 down, probably closer to $30. And learning more every draw, thinking of more new ways to look at those numbers and understand the patterns, what it all means.
Someone here says on every post that if you don’t win a jackpot you’re just paying to play. For me, that’s been true so far, though at times I’ve been $100 or so up, other times almost that much down. But it seems to me he’s coming awfully close to being wrong.
I’d surely like to know who that guy was I met at Der Weinerschnitzel.