It’s about 5:30 pm as I write this. I just got home from work, stopping on the way for a couple of cans of cat food for Gracie. I did NOT stop at a convenience store to buy a PowerBall Lottery ticket. Very possibly, someone(s) who did may become fabulously wealthy in about 4 1/2-hours.

Sure, the prospect of winning $550 million dollars is a dream all of us could have but, I have my reasons for not doing so — unlike so many lined up at the Vermont Green Machines at this very moment, spending money they can’t afford to.

1. I make $11 bucks-an-hour and last January my employer cut-out all overtime. I have no “disposable income” after the rent and utilities and endless car repair bills (and gas) are paid for. Also, my employer just informed us that “due to the uncertain economic climate” there would be no Christmas bonus this year. As a general rule, I don’t waste money on long-shots. And, the lottery is a long-shot by any definition. See #2 immediately below . . .

2. More importantly, yes - as the N.Y. Lottery commercials used to say, “You have to be in it to win it” - but it’s a sucker’s game. Yeah, a billion PowerBall Lottery tickets have been sold in the past few days and it’s likely that there will be a winning one among them.

Want to know the odds of winning the jackpot? That it will be the ticket that you bought? You have a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of that.

Let’s put that into some perspective. Have you ever been struck by lightning? No? And yet, From National Geographic:

The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000.

Put another way, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning 250 (separate) times this year than winning the jackpot in tonight’s PowerBall Lottery drawing.

Take the two-bucks you would have spent on a ticket and buy your cat or dog a toy. Or - what the hell - hit my ‘tip-jar’ on the right sidebar. I’m a sure thing and I even provide great, weekly entertainment for you.