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Banks for Nothing, Moneybags

By Jerry Zezima

If I ever won Powerball and survived the shock, a technical necessity since you can’t collect if you are legally dead, I still wouldn’t be in the money. That’s because my wife, a neat person, would inadvertently throw out the ticket or I, a messy person, would put the ticket somewhere in the house for safekeeping and never find it again.

But I am happy to report that my heart is still beating, albeit at a much faster rate, because I have just won 1 million euros in the Spanish Lotto Lottery and am eligible to win $1.3 billion in the year-end drawing of the Euro Millo Lottery.

The timing couldn’t have been better because approximately half an hour before receiving the good news via email, it took my bank exactly three seconds to reject my online application for a line of credit.

Stunned at the speed with which I was rejected, which was even faster than what I experienced on the dating scene before I met my wife, I called the bank’s 800 number and was connected to the “fulfillment department.”

After hearing a disembodied voice say that the call “may be monitored and/or recorded for quality assurance purposes,” I spoke with a “customer service specialist” named Tesshana.

“There is some delinquency on your credit,” she said.

“I used to be a juvenile delinquent,” I told her. “I’m all grown up now, but I’m still juvenile. Will you give me credit for that?”

“I’m afraid I can’t,” said Tesshana.

“The bank must have set the world record for fastest rejection,” I noted.

“It doesn’t take long at all,” Tesshana explained. “Thank you for being a valued client and have a good day.”

The rejection caused dejection until I got an email from Paul Schmiitz, award consulting director of the Spanish Lotto Lottery, informing me of my fabulous winnings.

I phoned him but got this recording: “Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and call again.”

So I sent him the following email:

Dear Mr. Schmiitz:

I’m Jerry Zezima, an internationally syndicated newspaper columnist whose work, I am proud to say, has no redeeming social value.

Because I had to take a vow of poverty when I went into journalism, and because I was just rejected for a bank loan, and because the price of beer has gone up during the pandemic, I was beside myself (my wife was in another room) with excitement to receive your email informing me that I have won 1 million euros in the Spanish Lotto Lottery.

If that weren’t generous enough (the mortgage is due, so it isn’t), I am eligible to participate in the Euro Millo Lottery’s year-end drawing for $1.3 billion. That’s a lot of beer money. I’m not sure I would take it all in one lump’s sum because it would only weigh down my pants and put me in a higher tax bracket.

Still, I am so excited about this windfall that I would like to write a column about you and the lottery. As proof of just how low journalistic standards have sunk, my columns run in papers around the world, so you would be getting lots of free publicity. After giving me all that money, it’s probably the only kind you could afford.

Thanks very much, Mr. Schmiitz. I await your reply (and the 1 million euros) with bated breath. In the meantime, I guess I should brush my teeth.


Jerry Zezima

P.S. Pay the phone bill. Your number is out of service.

I am shocked to say that I have not heard back. But the bank and the lottery can keep the money. As long as I have enough for beer, I’ll consider myself a rich man.

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which includes his hometown paper, the Stamford Advocate. His column is distributed by Tribune News Service of Chicago and has run in newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of four books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows Best and Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.

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