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March 24, 1999

You May be a .....

Loser!

I found myself entertained when people would show up at the Tampa airport on their way to Clearwater to claim their prize winnings from Publishers Clearing house. I know is should have struck me as sad and pathetic, these poor people spending what little they had to chase a dream, but in the end I found it entertaining.

After all who of us couldn't relate to a tinge of hopefulness when receiving in the mail an envelope that gave every indication that we were on the verge of winning millions. Who could blame someone whom had not taken the time to read carefully a sentence that without a simple three-letter word "may" would mean a world of difference.

The old guy who flew into Tampa to claim his winnings said that he had won. The reporter pointed out the simple word to him but it left him unfazed. After all they had asked for his address, where he would like the money delivered and how he wanted his name spelled in the press releases, surely they would not have gone to all that trouble if it was merely a ruse.

But it was!

The envelope might just as well have read, "You may already be a ...loser!"

Would any of us pick up such an envelope or is the truth of its message already to well known?

Life is filled with journeys and promises. Life is also filled with announcements written in bold letters that proclaim something new and exciting. It is only the person who takes time to look at the announcement carefully who catches the three-letter word "may" in the message.

I have certainly had my share of journeys set out on after assurances of the prize at the end being a sure thing. But who sets out on such journeys to begin with?

Was the old man a winner before he landed in Tampa? He "may" have been if he had taken stock of all that life had afforded him thus far but that requires a second look something he had already failed to do when he misread the envelope.

We all lose a lot of the time. It is a lesson of life. But what most of us lose is not the so-called prizes that are left behind for someone else to claim for they were never ours to win or lose. What we lose is our ability to be thankful for what we have and in the end the definition of whether we "may" be a winner or loser rests entirely on our ability to read carefully the events of our daily life.

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