Opinion

I never knew riches were just a phone call away

By Dennis Minich

I thought very seriously about not working this week. After all, now that I am rich, I don’t have to worry about the now meaningless trivialities in life, like working, making money or paying bills. I never really considered myself lucky and never thought I would be rich, but both of those preconceptions went out the window with one simple call last Friday.

The day had actually started kind of crummy. My plan was to sleep in a little, but at 6:30 a.m., I was having a dream about something, but there was this obnoxious beeping in the background. It wasn’t like the beeping when the trash truck is backing up, it was the squealing, high-pitched beep that makes you want to run a sharpened pencil through your ear.

I eventually woke up and realized some kind of alarm was blasting in the house. After stumbling around through the dark, I finally determined it was not my smoke detector, but later realized it was a smoke detector in the basement. I made my way downstairs and saw no hint of fire, but did find that still soaked carpet applied to bare feet will wake a person up rather quickly. I took the old battery out of the smoke detector and tried to go back to bed, but sleep was restless at best.

When I finally got up, I turned on the television and pondered my breakfast options. The winner for the day was cold boiled eggs, leftover bacon and a raspberry filled pastry. I must explain at this point, I detest virtually all fruit-filled confections, but I saw this box of day-old delights on a grocery shelf and assuming they were cream filled I jumped at the bargain. When I bit into the first one that raspberry goo squirted out. I immediately checked the box and realized my error. At least the boiled eggs were good.

While not fully awake, I was at least fully fed and began my morning round of emails, text messages and phone messages. I was about half-way through my routine when the phone rang and my dreams came true. I answered the phone and a gentleman named David Williams greeted me and asked it I had received my letter last week from the Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I told him I had not, but he assured me everything was OK, he was calling to inform me that I had won the second-place prize, a cool $1.7 million and a new car.

He said it was pretty amazing and I assured him it just all seemed too good to be true. But he assured me everything was on the up-and-up and someone would be at my front door within the next 90 minutes with my check.

I was hoping it was one of those big suckers like you see on TV and the people with the flowers and balloons. He asked if I would be home for the next 90 minutes so they could come by. I realized I had a 10:30 a.m. meeting so I said I didn’t think that would work. After all, if I am going to be rich, I don’t want people to think I am suddenly stuck up and don’t keep appointments.

David sounded a tad disappointed, but told me not to despair. All I had to do was call John Lee (spelled L-E-E) at the phone number he gave me and I could reschedule a time. I have heard scams about area codes which are really pricey long-distance calls, so I didn’t want David Williams to think I was some kind of rube, so I asked where that phone number was answered. He told me Texas.

Knowing there would never be a scam out of Texas I thanked him and assured him I would call. He hung up without any good-bye formalities, but I assumed he just had to call the poor unfortunate third-place winner.

I think I made a mistake when I called the Texas number. I called on the company phone meaning the caller ID showed up as the newspaper and since it was from the paper, not from me, they probably assumed it was a prank call of some kind and didn’t answer. The funny thing was, my 10:30 a.m. meeting got cancelled, so I could have stayed home and got my money and car after all.

I am really not worried, since they still have my phone number and since they are eager to get the money in my hands, I am sure they will call me back later. I thought about calling David Williams back personally, but when I looked his phone number originated in Kingstown, Jamaica. I decided right then I didn’t need to call him.

When I get my cash the first thing, I am going to do it book a flight to Jamaica to lay in the sun and drink daiquiris. I will just take the time to go see him while I am in the area.

So that’s how my day went. After a tough start things shaped up nicely. In case my money comes this week and I start my vacation early, I will assure you all I won’t forget you and I will send you a postcard from the beach.

Or if you like, just drop me a note and I will give David Williams your phone number and tell him you might be interested in any unclaimed prizes. It would be the least I can do.

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Categories: Opinion