I AM looking for a lost lottery ticket that should be on the coffee table. That’s where I left it. Normally the ticket would be safe in my wallet, but there are others in there from a work syndicate, and I separated them to avoid a muddle. And now I am in a muddle.
My wife glances up from her end of the sofa. “I’ve not moved it,” she says. “I never touch things like that.”
I’m not sure this is true, but carry on looking. And chuntering. This search takes me to two places where we keep newspapers, before they are handed on to our son to use as a guinea pig toilet or something. I return empty-handed and my wife glances up.
“Don’t know why you’re worrying,” she says.
Her implication is that since we never win anything, checking the numbers is a waste of time. Doesn’t she know that the Saturday syndicate just won a life-changing £25, split five ways; or is it six?
My chuntering takes me outside to the recycling box. I start to empty the box and find the lottery ticket hidden among leaflets and envelopes removed from the coffee table during a tidy-up.
I return indoors with the ticket in my teeth and chunter some more. My wife wonders out loud how the ticket ended up in the recycling. I wonder silently if she put it there; she is wondering silently if I put it there (don’t ask how I know – I just do).
Sometimes in this house when something domestic goes awry, my wife will say something like: “People keep putting that in the wrong place.” Whenever that happens I suspect, having had a quick look around the house, that I must be ‘people’. We did have people here once but they’re all grown up and off misplacing things all by themselves.
People keep… For some reason that line always brings to mind the old Louis Jordan song – Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens. Perhaps I should sing that when the matter comes up again.
The American band leader liked a good song title, but he wasn’t above contradicting himself. One of his numbers was called I Like ’Em Fat Like That while in another he declared The Chicks I Pick Are Slender and Tender. Make your mind up, Louis.
In case you are worrying, he was singing long before political correctness had even got its booties on.
Here’s another Louis Jordan title I like, although it’s not a personal manifesto or anything – What’s The Use of Getting Sober.
With the ticket in my hand, I sit at the laptop and check the results. Nothing doing with the numbers, so I check the raffle that nobody ever wins, and discover that I haven’t won it either. Once again, my wife was right with her pessimism/realism. Now the ticket can go back into the recycling, and along with it my plan to extend the back of the house and other still distant distractions.
We’ll probably never know which of us threw out the lottery ticket, but it doesn’t really matter now. After all, people keep doing things like that. And there Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens…