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Know what’s crazy, to not be insane

    Sunday, October 14, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- There’s a difference between a silly bet, and the addiction to gamble.

    A few bucks for a lottery ticket for a prize of half-a-billion dollars is money dropped like a snowflake into Hell. Winning would be an utter miracle.

    Betting on miracles is insane, as gambles are not for tiny bets, but where a troubled soul will pour everything they have on risk of losing it all.

    If a snowflake falls into a fire, bet on its evaporation.

    But who plays the lottery? Those who dream of a different life.

    Larry van der Bix is one of them.

    The character of my first novel -- “Hope for Change, but Settle for a Bailout” (2012) -- won a big prize not because he got lucky, but because indeed he doesn’t exist. Such a win is more likely to happen in a novel than reality itself.

    The book is the first this author finished, after failing five earlier books. It is not very good. And while the fundamentals improved, the only achievement of the 402 typed pages is that the diligence alone resulted in completion.

    I write this message not for belief in the greatness of a weak first novel, but as humor, of having followed the instruction of the fictional character. Buy three “Mega-Million.” Okay, did so. And when I see that I had already done so, and have the same ticket in hand, it reminded my of the absurdity of the character’s win, as his victory comes on the freak win with a second ticket, thinking the first was his win.

    Huh?

    When writing fiction, at some level, you toss an unlikely outcome to lay the foundation of the book, so the subject can be pursued, in this case the question of, “What happens if you win? Does it change your life?”

    Larry’s silly investment is nothing like his best friend -- Lori L Lewis, an athlete -- who makes her way to the Olympics. But each poses the question, and the determination of the athlete showed the value of hard work, while the lottery winner displays the absurdity of gaining no value from victory.

    Larry’s lesson, of play three “Mega-Millions” through his bizarre double-bet, makes this author feel like having made an error in buying a second ticket might be because it means something special.

    But the true lesson of life is that one is crazy to believe in that which is insane, and to not recognize it, and thus know what is crazy.

    Sadly, that is the aftereffect of the internet, for there is no credibility in much of what is spread, for anything can be mashed out for consumption.

    Is the opinion I wrote yesterday simply insane? Likely, for it splashes out the idea that a revolution -- or is it “counter-revolution” -- could be the outcome of a devestating election for Mr. Lincoln’s Grand Old Party.

    It is 99.9% likely that the concept is crazy and wrong. Add a lot more 9s behind the 99.9, and the smallest 1 percent is still impossible. That’s like the numbers of winning the lottery. Yet, people play it.

    What is the likely outcome of both a revolutionary concept and playing the lottery? That tomorrow -- or two months from now -- each will be dreams lost to reality, and leave the investment evaporated.

    This obscure novelist will likely remain nearly worthless to politics, and to fiction. The unlikely outcome of either is to become invaluable.

    “Hey, maybe Larry’s right?” would be an insane question.

    Maybe I’m a dreamer, but even throwing a few dollars in the lottery could pay off. The only way to win the game of life is to play.

    Oh, wait... right... Larry was fiction.









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Billy Orton is a novelist and historian living in Long Beach, California.