I guess when you’re playing with other people’s gambling money, you can be a little looser than the folks at a typical interstate agency.
We’re talking about the Multi-State Lottery Association, a nonprofit group owned and operated by its 37-state member lotteries. This is the association that runs, among other things, Powerball, the biggest lottery game in the nation.
Stodgy they ain’t.
If you’re interested in playing but don’t know how things work, you may end up on a webpage that offers answers to the most common questions: http://bit.ly/powerhumor.
At which point you will collect, if not prize money, at least several laughs.
Sample: “Do Powerball tickets expire?”
Answer: “Yes, the universe is decaying and nothing lasts forever.”
The author also had fun with the most important question of all. “Is there a secret to improve your chance of winning Powerball?”
Answer: “Yes. There is a way to improve your chance of winning the dual-drum games (Powerball, Mega-Millions, Hot Lotto and Wild Card). But you have to promise to keep the secret. ...
“First, we need to cover some things that don’t work. Swinging a live chicken above your head while wishing for the future numbers does NOT work.
“There is no improvement to be had by swinging a dead chicken. Although I have not tested it, swinging a bucket of extra crispy is not likely to work either.
“We have had winners who played their fortune cookie numbers — on two occasions — but such things are just bound to happen sometimes. It is also no good to follow the alignment of the planets or the arrangement of tea leaves or any other such thing.
“Any of these ideas will win sometimes, but that is just chance working its magic.”
The suggestion for improving your odds is lengthy, but basically involves buying a lot more tickets. Cha-ching.
So who is the comedian? I have no idea. I sent an email to the group and nobody responded. I tried swinging one live and one dead chicken over my head but still didn’t get a response.
The agency isn’t exactly huge in terms of employees — it has nine of them — but you’d think one of them would check email occasionally.
Anyway, being the dogged investigative reporter that I am, I then ran a super-special Google search and discovered a phone number.
Well, this multistate agency doesn’t even have an answering machine. Or, if it does, it is set to kick in only after 22 rings.
Maybe the employees have been in hiding since 2015, when the guy who heads information security for the agency in Iowa was arrested and charged with illegally winning a multimillion dollar jackpot.
Which, of course, is not particularly funny unless you’re a huge fan of irony.
In Sunday’s column, I unknowingly repeated a misquote from a front-page story we printed last Wednesday.
The quote, used after a reference to racism and misogyny coming out of Washington, was, “And I’m not talking about Trump alone. I’m talking about the people who voted for him.”
I discovered the mistake when Bishop Joey Johnson sent me an email on Sunday, claiming he never said that.
He was correct. A reporter on a tight deadline referred to notes rather than listening to her recording.
What Johnson actually said was, “... I’m talking about America voting for him.”
Not that this changes the whole equation. Johnson did compare the upcoming Trump presidency to dealing with slavery, Reconstruction and the civil rights era. Even if you don’t like some of the people Trump is surrounding himself with, comparing his presidency to the biggest civil rights crises of the past 150 years — before he even takes office — seems more than a bit premature.
But, as I mentioned Sunday, we need to remember that the vast majority of that gathering — a gathering Johnson was instrumental in putting together — involved people of different backgrounds, skin colors and genders making a genuine effort to connect with people who are different from them.
They realize how important it is to try to reach across an enormous social abyss that grew far wider during 2016.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. To find his podcast, “Dyer Necessities,” go to www.ohio.com/dyer. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31