The Public Eye

printed 11/06/2020

Just when things look the darkest, and it appears there’ll be no sunrise tomorrow, something comes along to make you realize that good things can happen when you least expect them.

That’s right, I’m talking about the email I received from Prof. Mussa Juma Assad, chairman of the United Nations Board of Auditors, who informed me that my email address had been selected at random and that I am the “lucky winner” of a $10 million share of the annual U.N. Lotto.

Two things about that: first, I was unaware that the United Nations had a lottery, although it does explain how the U.N. pays for all those diplomats, when it seems that half of its members contribute anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of diddly-squat per annum to help pay for operations.

As I’ve always said, it’s better to contribute a little bit of nothing at all than a whole lot of nothing.

My second point is this: don’t you hate it when someone says, “Lucky winner?” Isn’t that redundant? In that respect, it’s like saying an “unfortunate fall from a 10-story building.”

What I mean to say is I can’t imagine anything good coming out of that circumstance, unless you dropped 10 stories but, lucky winner that you are, somehow managed to miss the ground.

As far as I know, that never happens. Just like you never hear anyone refer to an “unlucky winner” or even a “marginally lucky winner.”

This does not mean, of course, that these things don’t exist, depending on what it is that you’ve won.

For instance, were you to receive the announcement, “Congratulations, sdobson, you are the winner of a front row seat and backstage pass at our Annual Scabies Roundup and Rodeo! Call now to pick up your scratch-off ticket!”

That would be an unlucky winner,

A “marginally lucky winner,” meanwhile, would be, “Congratulations, sdobson, you are the winner of a the ‘Ronco Do-It-Yourself Home Colonoscopy Kit.’”

This has its upside and downside, as it were. First, there is a cost-savings involved, so that’s a positive. As for the rest, it wouldn’t be like winning the lottery, but it could be said your day’s prospects will be looking up.

One more thing: I get these lottery and similar emails all the time and have this advice for others who see the same thing.

The person who responds to these emails is an actual “unlucky winner” because these characters are stealing your information or worse.

The person who merely opens one of these emails without taking specific precautions, is a “marginally lucky winner,” because it’s still a risk, but nothing might come of it.

A “lucky winner,” however, is someone who sees just enough of the message in the email preview function to write about it when there’s nothing going on except a presidential election that he’d just as soon not get into.

In a way, being invited to be fleeced by Prof. Mussa Juma Assad turned me into a lucky winner after all.

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