And the Winner Is....A Loser

It's not easy being a winner and a loser at the same time. While this may appear to be an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, and Academy Award winner Tori Spelling -- okay, that's actually an impossibility -- it's more common than you think. Just this past week someone became a winner and loser when they didn't bother to cash in a Florida Lottery ticket worth $50 million within the allotted time and -- whoops! -- is now the proud owner of a very nice piece of white paper with pink printing, not even suitable for flogging themselves with should they discover it in the pocket of the jacket they wore during their vacation at Disneyland last March. And they thought the dog they had their picture taken with was Goofy.

Maybe they don't need the money. I hear there are people like that in the world though apparently they don't hang around the same Goodwill stores I do so I've never met them. Maybe the ticket accidentally went through the wash and wound up looking like a lint sculpture of a wad of chewing gum. If it did, they could try to sell it to the Museum of Modern Art or auction it off on eBay. After all, if people will buy a Hummel figurine of Nancy Kerrigan skating with a swollen knee they'll buy anything. The most likely scenario, though, is that they don't remember having bought the ticket in the first place, so they'll never know what they lost. This would be the best case since there's a good chance they wouldn't have the phone number of the suicide prevention hotline handy were they to discover the erstwhile winning ticket hiding under a pile of unpaid credit card bills.

We all like to think we're winners and don't want to consider that we may be losers, even if we can have the edge taken off by being both simultaneously. Trust me, it happens. Take the guy in Brazil who recently went into the hospital to be treated for an earache but -- whoops again! -- went home with a vasectomy by mistake. While he lost the ability to have children, he won a free operation, and if you've ever walked into a hospital and heard the meter start ticking you know it isn't cheap. Not only that, but I feel certain they treated his earache for free. At least I hope they did. I can't help but wonder, though, whether he has that worthless $50 million lottery ticket wadded up in his pants pocket since, according to a manager at the clinic, "He asked no questions when the doctor started preparations in the area." And yes, the area they were referring to wasn't his hospital room. Obviously the guy isn't the world's most observant person.

Lawyers in New Jersey are winners and losers now, thanks to a ruling by the state Supreme Court. The justices recently changed the ethics code for lawyers, which is an even better oxymoron than the ones I came up with. One of the things the court changed is that New Jersey lawyers can now bill you for the time they spend eating lunch as long as they think about your case, even if that thought was to compare the bologna in their sandwich to the bologna of your thinking that you'll ever see a penny of the settlement. Just kidding. Actually no self-respecting lawyer would be caught dead eating bologna for lunch. Unless it was made with Kobe beef. (NOTE: That's the hand-massaged beef from Japan, not the Los Angeles Laker whose beef is with a 19-year-old girl from Colorado.)

Okay. What the court really said was that New Jersey lawyers are now free to advertise on the Internet and other electronic media. The lawyers, of course, are ecstatic because they like anything that has the word free attached to it, as long as when translated into Latin it doesn't come out: pro bono. In this respect they're winners. The loser part is that the court said they can't use jingles or cartoons when they advertise. This is a shame because it means we're going to have to wait a while longer before we can hear the advertising jingle, "Rest your mind while we rest your case, with Jones, Fitzgerald, Jones and Pace" coming out of our radio speakers, not to mention seeing those cute little scamps, Larry Litigant and Sweet Sue, on TV commercials, web sites, Saturday morning cartoon spin-offs, and in Happy Meals.

Other people are winners and losers at the same time. Charlie Maher, who lost out as the bachelor of choice on The Bachelorette is now a correspondent for the TV show Extra, while Bob Guiney, also a loser on the show, won the slot as the bachelor on the next edition of The Bachelor. Don't worry, that sentence will make sense sometime tomorrow. Probably a bit after lunch.

Dan Knight, who won the first World Rubik's Game Championship in 20 years by solving the cube in an average of 20 seconds, isn't just a winner, he's also a loser -- he's obviously lost his mind, senses, and control of his life. Even George Bush is a winner and a loser. Just ask any Democrat. They'll remind you that he won the election while losing the popular vote, something they'll hold against him even longer than the Republicans will blame Clinton for everything that goes wrong in the world. If you can imagine that. And then there's Pauley Shore. He....well, okay, that's a bad example. You see, not everyone can be a winner and a loser. Some people just can't win.

More Mad Dog can be found online at: www.maddogproductions.com. His compilation of humorous travel columns, "If It's Such a Small World Then Why Have I Been Sitting on This Airplane For Twelve Hours?" is available from Xlibris Corporation. Email: md@maddogproductions.com

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