let the balls fall where they may
(Originally posted 1/22/2019. A story about our country grinding to a halt seems appropriate.)
For those of you unfamiliar with the Powerball lottery, Powerball is a multi-state lottery run in all but eight US states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is a non-profit, government-benefit association and is responsible for security standards and inspections of lottery vendor sites.
It was the first lottery game to use two drums to draw winners. One drum is used for the white balls and one for the red ball which gives the Powerball Lottery its name. The white balls pop out one at a time followed by the red ball.
Winners are drawn on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:59 PM Eastern Time through drawings conducted at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee.
The winning numbers are shown live on television, and announced on the Powerball website, in newspapers, and online.
People who decide to play select five numbers from 1 to 69 for the white balls then select one number from 1 to 26 for the red Powerball. Each attempt costs $2. Chances of guessing every number correctly are 1 in 292,201,338.
People love(d) their Powerball.
But Wednesday February 17, 2021 the Powerball drawing ended life as we know it.
Here’s why; “It’s America’s favorite jackpot game! Get ready everybody, tonight jackpot is an estimated 535 million dollars. I hope you have your Powerball tickets, let’s see how you did….”
“First number down is 6.
After that we’ve got 5. Next number is 4.”
The smiling young man didn’t see it until the next number.
He saw it and everyone else saw he saw it and they saw it and they all held their breath.
“Now for your winning Powerball number and it is… 1”
There was usually more for him to say but he didn’t say it.
The winning numbers sat at the bottom of the screen: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Three viewers immediately jumped to their deaths.
Before you assume that this immediately sparked the apocalypse let me stop you there. People aren’t that dumb. They assumed there was a problem with the machines that shoot out the balls or they assumed that it was a practical joke or they assumed that someone at the lottery had rigged the machines.
In the week that followed it was proved that the machines were in perfect working order, nobody was playing a joke and nobody had tampered with the machines in any way. The Powerball folks even trotted out several experts in the field of mathematics to say that 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, in that order, was just as likely to occur as any other six numbers in any other order.
This sparked the apocalypse.
The religious type felt this must mean something and flocked to churches. Agnostics felt this must mean something and flocked to churches and farmers markets. Atheists felt this must mean something and flocked to planetariums and Starbucks. Fans of the movie The Matrix felt this must mean something and flocked to science fiction conventions. Fans of The Truman Show flocked to their therapists. Birds continued to flock…. as expected.
The point being that nobody was flocking to work.
Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah were the last hit as they didn’t have Powerball… but eventually their evening news brought them the story and they started not flocking to work as well.
Next came the English-speaking countries and eventually everyone else around the world. Even the countries where people were used to not flocking to work because they were too busy starving.
For those of you who always thought that the end would involve a great deal more fire and chaos what makes you think that this little scenario didn’t eventually involve heaping helpings of both?
It would be convenient to tell you that someone actually won that fateful night, having picked 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 as their numbers, and therefore allow me to describe some whimsical individual, but nobody had. The next night, however, 7% of all tickets purchased reflected those same digits but, however whimsical it might have been to tell you those numbers appeared again, no drawing was held due to possibility, however slim, of those numbers coming up again.
The folks at Powerball were afraid of the consequences. In the end, the very end I mean, it didn’t matter. Those consequences came anyway.
Really try and imagine each and every consequence and how things ended.