I signed up for the direct debit automatic lottery entry a while ago.
Unfortunately I've always played the same set of numbers and long ago consigned this to memory. So in effect my playing the lottery is just a form of life insurance, because I know that if I tried to stop doing the damn thing those numbers would come up and it would be the one time I actually found out what the winning line was. Madness would ensue no doubt.
Doing the lottery automatically suits me down to the ground. I know I'm automatically covered and don't have to panic about getting to a newsagent on a Saturday or a Wednesday.
Except every so often a letter drops through the mailbox, completely lacking in any National Lottery symbols or iconography, which informs me once opened that I've won a prize on the lottery. The excitement builds until, sadly, inevitably I read down the page and realise that it's just a £10 win.
What they should do is put a big note at the top saying "Don't get excited, it's just a bloody tenner".
And this reminds me of the first ever lottery draw, where a group of us are in the pub watching Noel bleedin' Edwards reveal the numbers. Just prior to this we've all got our lines out and are watching and waiting.
All, that is, except my dear friend Mark. Mark has decided that it's stupid and the odds of winning are so ridiculously small that he just isn't going to bother.
All of this is fine. Until he decides to write down the numbers he would have picked on a beermat in front of him so he can join in with the rest of us. For a few moments he is blissfully unaware of what he's done, until our astonished faces start to register. It takes a few minutes of us all being amazed at his bravado before it sinks in what he's done. Suddenly it dawns on him - "What do I do if I've got the winning numbers? Oh My God. What if they come up?"
Ashen faced, he sits and waits until relieved and vindicated, he tears up the beermat along with the rest of us tearing up our real tickets.
Although, strangely enough, he didn't repeat the fake ticket beermat game again the following Saturday.