I Think I Won $10,000

I didn't play the lottery like everyone else did this weekend (I get too much anxiety), but due to lottery fever and today's April Fool's Day holiday, I find myself recalling a time my mom played a prank on me.

Many years ago on Christmas morning, my family and I were unwrapping the gifts in our stockings. Every year, we each get a couple of scratch-off lottery tickets and someone will win $10 or so, which works out to be a net loss. On this occasion, I scratched at a ticket with a penny, and found myself staring at three $10,000s, which if I read the instructions correctly, meant that I won that prize amount.

Normally, I double check a losing ticket before discarding it, but this time I had to double, triple, and even quadruple check that I had in fact won. Still unable to comprehend a prize of this size, I finally said to my family very plainly, "I think I won $10,000." My mom acted excited and tried to prod a bigger reaction from me, but I never changed my name. I just sat there, not sure what else to do.

Disappointed by my lackluster response, my mom admit that the ticket wasn't real. She had bought a phony winning ticket and was hoping to get a real rise from me. It's not that I didn't fall for the trick, just that I'm not excited enough about money to care one way or the other. My mom realized she should have tried to play this prank on someone a bit more materialistic. Heck, my sister probably would have spent half the cash before anyone could tell her it was a joke. Perhaps my mom's mistake was not giving me a few spiked eggnogs first. You'd be surprised how much I clap and cheer each time I win $5 at a Vegas blackjack table.

Fortunately for my mom, she had bought a second phony ticket, and decided to try again on my cousin. When he arrived a few hours later, he was unaware of the previous prank, and immediately screamed when scratching his "winning" ticket. "I won $10,000! I won 10,000!" My aunt didn't hesitate to verify his claims by looking at his ticket before screeching with glee. Meanwhile, my cousin's sister, who isn't normally affectionate with her brother, sprinted across the room to give him a hug and said "I love you, I love you!" Someone wanted a piece of that money…

It was quite a show. This time, the prank went a little too well, and it made for an awkward moment when my mom had to confess the ticket was fake. My aunt still refers to that incident as a "sick joke", but I think it was a perfectly great way to add tension to a family holiday.

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