Sometimes when I have an extra couple of bucks burning a hole in my pocket, I feel the urge to splurge on a little get-rich-quick scheme and buy a scratch ticket. The Massachusetts Lottery would go out of business if it depended upon me to support it, but I confess I did grab me a $10 holiday-themed ticket on Wednesday. Apparently, I was not alone.

The Massachusetts Lottery Commission says sales of scratch tickets for the eight weeks of its holiday sales period have totaled more than $570 million, which is an increase of about three percent over last year. Sales for November alone were up more than $26 million, or some five percent over last year. Another sign of a booming economy?

While I was standing in line at the service desk at Trucchi's waiting to purchase postage stamps, I decided to buy a scratch ticket when I got to the front of the line. Three of the four people in line ahead of me were making various lottery buys.

"Which one do you want?" asked the clerk.

"A lucky one," I replied. It wasn't lucky and I'm out 10 bucks. C'est la vie.

Some folks would spend the mortgage money on scratch tickets in hopes of hitting it big. Others, like me, are too wise – or too cheap – to depart with their hard-earned cash and are less likely to do so. Unless of course, I'm feeling lucky and feel the urge to splurge that extra 10 bucks on a chance to land on easy street. Fat chance. I never win.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with scratching that itch to get rich from time to time, just so long as you keep it sensible. My grandfather used to tell me "the best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your pocket." Thanks for the advice, Gramps. Much to his chagrin, though, Nana kept the lottery and church bingo games in business.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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