Legend: After being tricked into believing he’s won the lottery, a man makes startling admissions prior to walking out on those closest to him.
[Collected on the Internet, 1996]
A couple goes out to a restaurant. The woman calls the waiter aside and says, “My boyfriend’s bound to ask
you what numbers won the lottery. These are the numbers he bet on. Will you tell him they won?” The waiter agrees. Sure enough, the boyfriend asks which numbers won. “Okay,” says the waiter, “we’ve got a telly in the kitchen; I’ll go and find out.” He tells the boyfriend his numbers won.
Calmly, the man puts his car keys on the table and says to the woman: “The car and the house are yours. I’m shagging your sister.”
Somehow, they tell him he hasn’t really won. He walks out and hasn’t been seen since.
[Bangkok Post, 1999]
It seems the boss at the Melbourne office had a habit of playing practical jokes, so his staff decided to turn the tables. When he went to the rest room, they searched his wallet and found his lottery ticket. They wrote down his numbers, called over a waitress and asked for her help.
She came back half an hour later and asked if anyone wanted to know the night’s Lotto numbers, then proceeded to read them out and write them down.
The boss casually pulled out his ticket and studied it. He grew silent for a moment, then stood up on a chair and shouted: “I just want to let you all know something. I’ve been having an affair with my secretary for months. I don’t like any of you, and I have hated working for this company. You can all go to hell, because I’ve just won a boatload of money, and I’m leaving.”
End of job. End of marriage. End of story.
Origins: What would you do if you won the lottery? Would it change who you are? Would it cause you to perhaps reveal who you really are?
Tales like these play on our fear of not really knowing what lurks in the hearts of our nearest and dearest. While those people we think we know like the backs of
our hands are likely just the very folks we always thought them to be, the possibility exists that they’ve been keeping vital secrets locked safely away, getting up to
all sorts of mayhem when we’re not around or even concealing their true feelings from us.
Yet it’s not just a lurking suspicion that we may be bedding down or daily rubbing elbows with a ruthless stranger that drives this legend; we also fear being abandoned by the ones we have placed our faith in. The idea that if circumstances in their lives were suddenly and greatly improved we’d be cast aside in a chicken minute underpins these tales of smiling, trustworthy masks suddenly ripped off once the money (supposedly) hits the table. In most tellings where the man walks out on the woman he swore to love, honor, and protect, it’s not enough that he announce his intention to divorce his wife; he also feels compelled to reveal that he’s been cheating on her for these many years. (Always with her sister, too; that detail makes him all the slimier.) In the versions featuring a tricked work colleague, it’s not enough that he walk out on his job after telling his
Barbara “whole lotto shaking” Mikkelson
Originally published: 23 January 2000
Last updated: 12 January 2016