Abstract: Usually, when I was with my 3 children, I would narrate some amusing tall tales I encountered. That would set them thinking. It is the thinking process that I believe would make them more matured in handling real life situation. Oftentimes, they would give some insightful answers to some ridiculous questions.
It was a cold December evening in New York City (NYC). It snowed quite heavily the previous night, with at least two feet of snow in my area. How pristine the city looked when street garbage, cigarette butts & the pavement firth and junk usually seen everywhere were all blanketed by snow!
We were to meet at a Chinese restaurant at Flushing, Queens. The 3 kids were studying in NYC then. On the way to the restaurant, I spotted a shop signage: New York Mega Lottery, $450 million.
That was a biggie! It also gave me an idea on what to talk to the kids tonight.
My reverie to being a super multimillionaire overnight with a $2 ticket was broken up when they arrived.
Half way through our Chinese dinner, I said, “My old friend told me that he might invest in our diamond, jade, gemstones and jewellery business.”
Suddenly they were all ears. They looked at me expectantly. They knew that our business currently was strapped of cash. They were standing on tables at restaurants on weekends, or working part time in some gem lab as diamond graders on their university’s off days to make ends meet.
Perhaps finally I might land a big fish.
“He was my previous apartment mate when I studied at GIA a couple of years back. He is still a waiter at a Chinese restaurant at Mott St.” I continued.
Initially, their hope was like a balloon flying up, up and away, billowed by a zephyr up-breeze. It suddenly deflated and plunged to earth. They were staring at me now.
Still with an air of nonchalance, I continued to bait them, “He told me that he has been putting some money as investment into buying lottery tickets. He asked me to pray for him, so that he might hit the New York Mega Jackpot. He will dish out at least 20% of his winnings to fund my business.”
Their eyes were gleaming like well-polished daggers, now. This old man must have gone off his bonkers to believe a crap like that.
But I was not deterred, “What do you think?”
They were good kids. To humour the old man, they would give some merciful answers.
“Dad” Marilyna, my eldest daughter said. “Buying a lottery ticket is not an investment. It is gambling! Further, you might as well pray for yourself to make a strike instead of praying for him.”
William was seated next to Marilyna. He was the mathematician. He could quickly tally up a grocery list of purchased items mentally without the aid of a calculator. He had the genes of my mother in mental maths. She was nicknamed as the Walking Abacus back in Guangzhou in her younger days.
“There are 64 numbers in the Mega Lottery. You have to pick 5 correctly. Plus, you have to pick the right Gold Mega Ball from 1 – 25. The probability of picking up all 6 numbers correctly comes to a few hundred million in one.” William said. “It’s day dreaming.”
When it was Calvin’s turn to give his opinion, I was surprised. He was in a pensive mood. He appeared to be pondering deeply. Surely, such ludicrous question did not warrant any serious attention at all.
“Your old friend was giving away something which he does not have it. Probably he never will get it. There are millions of people buying the lottery. One ticket might just get the right combination.” He paused awhile.
“Say, he really hit the Jack Pot by some heavenly luck. Shit happens. Then what?” It was a contradictory statement. He was referring to some ‘shit’ posters often seen by the pavement walk in NYC.
Calvin then went about his argument.
“We have heard an anecdote you told us some time ago. An Old Sufi’s Tale. (Read here) Even when his prayer was answered by his God, he would find justification not to make good his promise.
One can be generous in his imagination when it comes to giving to charity or helping a friend. If by chance of 1 in many hundreds of million, he does hit the jack pot, I think he will disappear.”
Three insightful answers to a foolish question I posed. But Calvin’s answer took the cake.
It would also be timely to tell them an anecdote. That was really the main idea for that night’s conversation. One could learn about the reality of life in a brief story line of an anecdote.
That would be the story soon for an upcoming post …“When You Have It, You Won’t Give It Away.”