“No, I don’t play that game,” says the woman
in front of me at the supermarket checkout line.
I tell the cashier that I do, and she hands me
two cards for their sweepstakes, one for me
and one for the woman who declined.
The top prize is a million bucks, but so far
I haven’t won anything, despite bringing dozens
of them home in the last two months.
The first card nets me nothing - no prize,
which is no surprise. I tear the second one open,
folding down the side tabs to make it easier
to rip the perforations, then pulling it apart
so it opens like a booklet. The left side is
a fifty-cent coupon - no big deal. The right side has,
as usual, four little game pieces that I must also
tear apart and paste to a game board that looks like
a Monopoly game, to see if any combination of them
wins a prize. And they do.
I don't know if this is the card that would have gone
to the woman in front of me, but I would like
to thank her for not playing, and thank the store too,
for this wonderful gift. I'm the proud winner
of a gift certificate to the supermarket.
It's not the grand prize, but it gives me a sense
of accomplishment. After all these weeks of playing,
after all the pieces I’ve collected and glued to the board,
after all those shopping trips and thousands of dollars’
worth of groceries, I have finally, finally, won –