You might be familiar with my work: 3, 8, 19, 33, 48, 79. Okay, that’s a little obscure. 2, 4, 44, 45, 68, 82 — with a bonus of 14! That one’s a classic, in some households. Fine, fine, I’ll just tell you what it says on my business card: John Hansen, Florida State Lottery and Gaming Commission, Senior Copywriter.
Most people think that the Lotto drawing is random, but if you think the state of Florida can risk leaving those balls to a former Hooters waitress in a hand-me-down gown, then you have some grave misconceptions about fate and chance, and probably Keno and horse racing, too.
I was just a thwarted novelist who applied to a copywriting job. I started out in scratchers, in Titling, but my literary flourishes were rarely appreciated. “O Fortuna,” “Thirty Pieces of Silver,” “Pandora’s Box-O-Cash,” — all shot down. It was a massive relief when I was moved to the Prose Department. I would create the copy and truly, the games themselves. When you scraped away those tiny shards of silver, you saw three eights OR four balloon symbols, you won the amount displayed to the left. That was all me.
After I’d authored a particularly successful run of cards (my copy was so confusingly worded that winners rarely understood their good fortune, and the tickets resulted in a higher profit than forecast), the board caught notice and decided I could be tasked with a higher purpose. I think that they saw my potential and my divine muse. I was tapped for The Drawing.
And it’s the most creatively fulfilling job I’ve ever had. I answer to no one, and the stories I produce reverberate through the generations. I consider myself a poet. The twist of an expected sixty-two, the beautiful syncopation of a forty-five following a forty-four, the winking irony of a lucky seven. I get inspiration from everything I see – from three flowers in a bouquet to forty-seven babies in a nursery. I find that special magic in the sugary sweetness of a dozen donuts, in the leatherish sheen of a stranger’s Magic Eightball jacket, in the unbridled passion of a couple in the act of reciprocal oral love. I write the numbers.
My predecessor left this position for a staff-writing job on CBS’s NUM13ERS, but I don’t think I’ll be searching for work for a while. I have found my legacy, my medium, my muse. The way my writing is remembered is funny – not by fans and admirers or even by my regular readers, but by a select and forever-altered few. How many writers can say that?
Photo by/CC anthony1732 on Flickr