Lucky for life

By Kris Ferrazza | Nov 19, 2020

Congratulate me, I may be a millionaire!

Or maybe not. Either way, I’m keeping close tabs on my husband.

Now don’t go jumping to conclusions, I haven’t caught him in any lies. He doesn’t stay out late or take private phone calls. He certainly hasn’t come home with lipstick on his collar.

But I am keeping an eye on the old boy. The reason is simple. Somebody hit the jackpot on a lottery ticket in Wiscasset last month. That’s right, around Oct. 28, someone scored $3.2 million after taking a chance in a convenience store.

So what does this have to do with me? Well, nobody has come forward to claim it yet.

For years, my husband has said if he ever won the lottery, he’d never tell a soul.

“I’d keep going to work every day and nobody would ever know,” he said.

This has his fingerprints all over it.

Believe me, if I hit the jackpot, I would do the exact opposite. I would collect the money, pose for the cameras with the biggest, cheesiest smile you ever saw, and spend every penny in record time.

Conspicuous consumption would be the name of my game. There would be vacations and vacation homes, stables full of horses and stable boys. I’d buy cars and clothes and jewelry and wine. My daughter Elizabeth and I would shop until we dropped and have spa days. I’d splurge on my family and friends, and give money to charity. I’d spend big and tip even bigger.

It would be fun, and it would be gone in a heartbeat.

But not my husband. He would bank it, he insists. Invest it for our future, and that of our only child. Bor-ing.

Naturally when I heard about the big hit over in Wiscasset, I had to think a minute. Had Tim worked south of the Sheepscot River lately? The answer was yes.

That’s when I put my detective skills to work. I watched his every move from morning to night. It wasn’t easy.

He’s an early riser, heading downstairs a bit after 4 a.m. some weekdays.

I like to sleep, but two can play that game. So as soon as I would hear him get up, I too would slide out of bed and into my slippers. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I’d try to see what he was up to.

He’s a wily one, I must admit. Usually I’d find him making coffee, packing his lunch and playing with the cat. Isn’t that just like him? Packing a cold lunch when he’s sitting on a cool $3.2 million? I wasn’t buying it.

Now before you say I’m being dramatic, I know for a fact he would make good on his pledge. He would take that lottery secret to his grave, I’m telling you, and put every last cent in a vault.

How do I know this?

Years ago, at his 40th birthday party, my sister gave him a phony winning scratch ticket. This was completely unbeknownst to me. It was a prank ticket and I think it was for $10,000 or more.

After his cake, he happily opened his birthday cards and accumulated quite a collection of cash, gift cards and scratch tickets. Once the spotlight was off him, he scratched a few of the tickets. Then, at one point, I saw him casually slide one of those tickets into his wallet.

“Hey, did you win?” my sister called from across the room.

He pretended not to hear her over the din in the restaurant.

“Tim!” she said again. “Did you get a winner?”

Again he demurred. He wasn’t talking.

Word spread fast that the ticket was a fake. Soon, everyone in the room knew the truth except the poor birthday boy.

My sister finally demanded to see the ticket. Then she had him read the fine print. The prize was to be redeemed at the North Pole. The Easter Bunny would pay out the winnings.

Tim was a good sport, but his actions that day proved he wasn’t bluffing. He would never tell a soul if he hit the jackpot. He would squirrel that money away, never to be touched by my grubby hands, that’s for sure.

According to my research, lottery winnings in Maine are subject to 5% state tax and 24% federal tax. I guess $3.2 million doesn’t go as far as I thought.

That means if he cleared around $2 million on his Wiscasset jackpot and we split it (after all, half of what’s his is mine) that’s a million apiece.

What am I supposed to do with a measly million dollars? That won’t buy many vacation homes.

Sleep-deprived and out of patience, I finally came right out and asked if he was the secret winner of the Wiscasset jackpot. He snorted and flatly denied it. Just as I expected. What else could he say?

Then I lowered the boom. I told him the Maine State Lottery requires the name, prize and hometown of each winner to be made public. I’d know soon enough if our ship came in, and there was nothing he could do about it. He snorted again.

“Do you really think I’d pick it up myself?” he said. “I’d send a lawyer, or put it in a trust.”

Well played, Timothy, my million-dollar man.

And the beat goes on.

Kris Ferrazza is a former reporter, assistant editor, copy editor and columnist with the Courier newspapers. She lives in Waldoboro.

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