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Days 21 & 22: Numbers and Anecdotes

Friday night and Saturday were both lows. We were hopping. Deliveries were going bonkers. Dishes needed done. Prep was heavy. Low-ness was in tips. $40.50 Friday and $36.29 Saturday.

I’ve decided to refer to my big coworker as Merc. You say it like “murk”. You see, Merc is a Yu-Gi-Oh nerd. Self-proclaimed. As in, started a deck club in High School that thrives to this day. Angels sing and little pasty-white boys start to fawn when he walks in and throws down.

He was furious today. Total meltdown. Dropped pizzas. Ripped his pants. He was embarrassed and felt humiliated. Things were not going well. At one point he yelled, “I quit!” and headed toward the front. I got out of the way and kept busy.

He didn’t quit. A manager helped him out. He was morose after that. No more outbursts.

Merc is also a talker.

A couple of hours had passed from the outbursts. I was unleashing the Dishwasher on millions of unsuspecting bacteria and food chunks. He was making the next batch of deliciousness on the table behind me.

He mumbled.

“What’s that you say?” I asked. I raised my voice over the din of bacteria murder via Sea Monster.

“Oh, I think I’ll just drive my car till I run out of gas,” he said. His voice trailed off.

He sounded like Strong Sad. Dude kind of looks like Strong Sad.

“Oh yeah? Will you just wait till your car stops then smoke a cigarette and sit there a while?” I said. He perked up and smiled a little. Then the smile wilted.

“Yeah, just drive and drive, then start a new life wherever I end up.”

I thought for a moment. Then, it hit me.

“You could be a Yu-Gi-Oh mercenary,” I said.

He smiled for real this time. He furrowed his eyebrows.

“A what?” he said.

“You could be a Yu-Gi-Oh mercenary, traveling from town to town, offering your services to the highest bidder, laying waste to the-“

Someone called his name from the front of the store. The tone was urgent. He left me there with nothing but the perfect name for him. Merc. Short for mercenary.

I ended my day on that note. The fun I have at this job is only a fraction of what I experience in my professional pursuits. If only I could fit in what my full-time job adds to my life…

Here are some October stats.

Much like the government, I am reporting early to boost confidence. Also like the government, I will update the numbers later in order to tell the truth.


- As of 10/25, pizza income totaled $1,322.10 net.

- Fridays and Saturdays continue to be the most profitable per hour.

- As of 10/25, we had paid just a hair under $1,200 extra down on our debt. (Order of payoff is credit card, Mer’s student loans, Tony’s student loans.)

We were really hoping for $1,200 at least. That was the goal. We were so close.  But, life happens.

November is up next. Who knows what’s in store. It’s almost like the lottery, you know?

Ah, the lottery.

Here’s something you should take in, breathe deep, sleep on and repeat to yourself over and over:

The lottery is a tax on the poor.

And I quote…

Gambling is a tax on the poor and people who can't do math. Don't get mad at me for saying that. This is not a moral position; it is a mathematical, statistical fact. Studies show that the ZIP codes that spend four times what anyone else does on lottery tickets are those in lower-income parts of town. (here)

But wait, there’s more!

"But Dave, our state says the money is going to scholarships!" That may be partially true, but guess who's getting the scholarships statistically? Kids in middle-class and upper-class ZIP codes—so poor people are sending middle class kids to school. How stupid is that?

Pretty stupid, Dave. Pretty stupid. What’s that you say?

"But Dave, someone has to win!" Did you know the divorce rate among Lotto winners is four-fold the national average? Also, 65% of Lotto winners are bankrupt within 15 years. Scary, isn't it? I sure don't want that, and I bet you don't either.

Here is a link to a list of good articles on gambling from my church’s leadership’s perspective.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s bad. Don’t do it.

You can imagine how Amazewife and I feel about the lottery. It’s dumb. We won’t fund it. Ever. End of story.

Begin story. It’s about 6:30 PM today and I’m on North 144th getting gas. We have to go pick up Ruth from GSA camp in Nebraska City. I wheel the massive ‘burban around a bend, run over a Golf or Smartcar or something, and park at a pump.

I reach for my wallet.

“Sir?” I hear. It’s muffled. I roll down my window.

She was in her early twenties. She wore workout clothes. She was driving a white Volvo. No, a Lexus. I forget. Anyway, she speaks up.

“I am so sorry, but I actually prepaid at that pump and drove off. It was a total airhead move. Do you mind if we switch pumps?”

I look at the pump. LIFT NOZZLE AND SELECT FUEL GRADE. Sho’nuff. She wasn’t fibbing. Why would she?

“Of course not!”

I roll my window back up and pull around to a different pump.

“Seriously, total blonde moment. Sorry and thank you again!” she says.

“No sweat!”

I finished pumping the gas and pulled around so I could run in to grab a drink. I open my door and there is workout girl again. She had something in her hand.

“Thanks again. I really hope this pays off. You helped me out a ton.”

She hands me a piece of paper.

I look at it and laugh. I assured her again that it was no problem and wished her a good night.

I had been wondering what I would write about tonight. Now I knew.


So, here we are. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t ask for it. Circumstance just happened to throw something like this at me.

The odds of anything “miraculous” happening with this ticket are about one in 125 million. To put that into perspective, paraphrasing from here:

  • I am 66 times more likely to die from a snake bite.
  • I am 2,001 times more likely to die in the electric chair!
  • I am 2,201 times more likely to die from a hornet, wasp or bee sting.
  • I am 1,488,095 times more likely to die in a car wreck on the way home from the gas station where I was given the ticket.

I’m going to make myself vulnerable. I admit to thinking this: why me, and why now? It was a prayer. Would the same God that discourages gambling, most forms of debt and similar games of chance use them in a situation like mine? What a story it would make. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go polish my basement full of electric chairs.


Where the reference comes from…

…roe intense.


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