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#0020

I won $25,000 this morning. I took my roommate’s key to the mailbox while she was still sleeping and checked the mail, hoping for a letter from my faraway lover. But what I found instead changed my life.

There was a typical mailing from the local Nissan dealer, addressed to “Preferred Customer.”  It had a toy car key glued to it. Weird gimmick.

The paper thing also had three scratch-off circles, with a note below that read, “Reveal one gold coin, you lose. Reveal two, you lose. Reveal three, you win $25,000!”

So, like you, my first thought was, Nobody wins these things. I pulled the car key off the paper and scraped off each of the circles. Their gold coins matched. At first I didn’t care. They probably all match.

I turned the advertisement over and read the fine print. It said that chances of all the scratch-offs matching were 1:523821974823 or something ridiculous. And it started to sink in for me that I might have just won $25,000, or a new car. So I waited till the car dealership opened, and on my way to school stopped to claim my newfound fortune.

On the way there, I pictured all the things I’d do with the money. I could quit my stupid call center job. And I’d break my lease and move into a nice apartment by myself, no roommates. And have nice furniture instead of a crappy futon and a kid-sized bed. My new life tingled my imagination as I started seeing myself wearing Armani underwear and driving something shiny and fast.

So I pulled up to the dealership, and there are all the salesmen hanging out front. The chubbiest one heads over to me.

“How can we help you today, ma’am?” Chubs says.

“I think I might have won something.” I hand him the revealed gold coins.

He glances at it, takes it from me, and asks, “So what kind of vehicle are you looking for today?”

He must be stupid. He’s a testament to the “Equal Opportunity Employer” sticker in the establishment’s window.

“I have no money. That’s why I’m here.” I point at the paper thing he’s holding, with the winning gold coins glittering in the morning sunshine.

“Oh sure. Come on inside,” Chubs says, and holds the door open for me.

I come in and sit at his glass cubicle while he goes to “talk to the manager.” This makes me excited, because it sounds pretty legit.

Then I notice the couple waiting for a salesman in the cubicle next to me. They’ve got the same paper ad, with its exclamation points and all-American color scheme.

I lean over and whisper, “Did you guys’s coins match too?”

They’re old and they don’t hear me. But they won’t admit it. They nod and smile. “It sure is,” says the old man. “It’s a nice day out.”

Okay, whatever. I’m getting my money.

Chubs returns to me with two paper-ish things in his hand. One is an information sheet with blanks for him to fill out.

“So what kind of vehicle are you looking for? What do you have to trade? What’s that you’re driving? What’s your address?”

He bombards me with stupid questions, but he doesn’t look retarded. I’m beginning to realize who is mentally handicapped in this situation.

“Look, none of that matters. Did I win some money or not?” I’m straight to the point. He sent me the dagnabbed mailing. He intruded my home with his stupid fake car key and misleading scratch-off game.

“Well,” Chubs says, turning over one of his paper products. “You won a chance at $25,000.”

This is another scratch-off, and there are 30 circles, not three. The rules on the side say, “Reveal six coins and you win! (Note: No more than six circles must be revealed in order for card to be valid.)”

I grab the fake car key again and scratch off the first bubble. No coin. I lose.

“Aw, that’s too bad. But can I interest you in a fantastic deal for your trade-in?”

“It’s not even my car – it’s my parents’ car. Stop asking me that. The fine print said you win if you scratch three coins.” I am pouting now.

“You did! You won a chance at $25,000. Last week we had to pay out $25,000 to this guy in Richmond. He got really lucky.”

But I’m not a guy, and I’m not in Richmond, doofus. I hate you Chubs. I get up and leave. Chubs rushes to open the door for me.

“Here let me get that ––” but I’m already gone.

That’s what I get for believing in my dreams. And Lynchburg Nissan, you’re a bunch of buttheads. Stay out of my mailbox.

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