I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

June 4, 2014 by  

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Unless you are a direct descendant of Rip Van Winkle, you know that my hometown of Detroit is mired in the largest-ever municipal bankruptcy. As a crack financial journalist, I monitor the situation intensely, in case the city suddenly remembers it left a check for $18 billion in an old raincoat at the dry cleaners.

Which is why, in the fifth hour of a hearing where the judge was actually correcting the grammar of a 406-page legal filing, I had these two thoughts:

1. I must’ve been getting popcorn during this part of “All the President’s Men;”

2. I am definitely getting into the office lottery pool this week.

Admittedly, state lotteries constitute an unfair and unconscionable tax on people who usually can’t afford it and certainly didn’t take statistics. Nonetheless, during 2012 Americans spent $78 billion on state lotteries and, since they can’t win, it must be for some other reason. So I’ve created O’Connor’s Lotto-Psycho Index, a system that measures your likelihood of buying lottery tickets based on important life factors.

Your financial situation

A. I could always use a few more bucks.

B. Those Visa people are getting cranky.

C. My entire emergency fund consists of two grocery bags of returnable beer cans. It’s also my retirement fund.

Your relationships

A. My spouse is a true soul-mate who anticipates my every whim, respects me as a person, supports my life goals and is hotter than Georgia asphalt in July.

B. If my spouse leaves disgusting hairs in the sink once more this state will need to extend the handgun waiting period by a decade. Other than that, our marriage is solid as long as the mail carrier keeps bringing the Victoria’s Secret catalog.

C. When my spouse is home, I spend my time crying in the downstairs bathroom with a smartphone, a hidden bottle of gin and a copy of Psychology Today.

Your career

A. I enjoy my job, my work is fulfilling, my coworkers are amazing and supportive and my boss is likely to be canonized.

B. If I ever thought about my job I’d probably hate it, but at least my boss and coworkers aren’t total morons all the time.

C. My job is futile, soul-sucking and pointless, the boss is a demon and I suspect that all my coworkers are evil mutant space aliens.

Your jackpot goals

A. Pay off the bills, take a long weekend in the Wisconsin Dells and donate the rest, but keep enough to spend the rest of your life eradicating whooping cough.

B. Buy a new house, new cars and a cruise and use the rest to pursue your dream of becoming a professional bowler.

C. Get the family silver out of hock, your spouse out of jail and finally move back in to the motel from your car. Then quit temping and return to your chosen line of work as a professional Al Gore impersonator.


Mostly “A” — Life is good. When the Powerball hits a couple hundred million, you buy tickets for a laugh.

Mostly “B” — Caught on the downside of a changing economy, you always contribute $10 to the weekly office lottery pool.

Mostly “C” — Return just two more beer cans, champ, and you’re in it to win it.

(Brian J. O’Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at or visit

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