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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

I won $5 today for saying “pebble.”

Every Thursday on my brother Stephen’s lottery livestream he asks a trivia question, and if you are the first one to answer correctly, he scratches off a special ticket for you. I got the answer right today so he scratched away and I got… a life-altering five bucks.

And a blog topic, which was the real win if you ask me.

He said I could buy a gallon of gas, which is currently true. It’s not always.

So I decided to have a little fun with it and think about what else I could do with my winnings. If I won a million, this would probably have been way more interesting, but tonight you get a five dollar blog.

What could I buy with five bucks…

A third of a movie ticket.

A small bottle of water at a festival.

A giant container of oats at Target, which, when combined with $45 of nuts will net me a decent bucket of granola.

In my quest to come up with ideas for five dollar items, I googled it, naturally. Top result: 30 gifts you can buy for under $5. Perfect!

The first items on the list? A $6 pair of bath gloves. Not sure when six became less than five, but if they can be singular and literally can mean figuratively, why can’t five be more than six?

I wonder if you can buy a brain cell for $5.

The bath gloves were followed several items later by cherry candies for $8.

I’ll take Stupid People And Stupid Headlines for $5, Alex.

With $5 I can leave a tip in a hat for someone playing violin on the street.

Can I buy anything at the farmers market? A cup of lemonade, freshly squeezed. One bar of goat’s milk soap or half a tray of cinnamon buns. Guess which one I’m going with?

I could buy one donut at Five Daughters bakery or two mint plants at Publix.

If I put it in the bank at the current interest rate, in 200 years I’ll have $5.10. Then I can go really crazy and buy a piece of bubblegum. Or maybe scrape one off the bottom of a subway bench and put a hat on the floor so people can put $5 in it.

You used to be able to say “buy a coffee” but you can barely do that anymore, especially if you want almond milk or soy milk or syrups or [insert whatever other thing they put in coffee these days]. Then again, I don’t like coffee so I just saved five dollars!

Five sheets of Bristol vellum paper. How is paper a dollar a slice? This is the paper they want me to use for my colored pencil course. I put a pad of it in my Amazon cart last night when I was collecting all the things for my new hobby, and it was less than half that price. By the time I got to checkout it was magically out of stock.

Saved another five dollars. Does that mean I have ten now?

I decided I will do just fine with my low rent poor people’s sketchbook.

I can buy a 50 count of marbles for five bucks. Maybe I could replace some that I lost buying dollar-per-page paper.

I could donate it the next time I’m checking out at the supermarket/movie theater/bakery/convenience store and they ask me if I want to donate five dollars to save [insert thing that someone is saving today.] Or I could donate one dollar and spend the other four on a cupcake.

I can buy five lemons or two avocados, half a can of deodorant or a third of a colored pencil. Seriously, individual colored pencils will run you anywhere from $15 to $20. I’m not planning to be the Picasso of colored pencils so I’ll stick to the cheap ones. If I win five more times I can buy a whole set of cheap ones.

I can buy 41 meals for a starving child in an underprivileged country, or a single cheeseburger and fries for myself at Burger King.

Five dollars plus an hour to sit on the couch writing will get me five dollars plus this blog.

In the end I decided to buy another $5 lottery ticket, otherwise known as donating it to the great state of New York.

In case you’re wondering, the trivia question was What does a male penguin give to a female penguin to try to win her over?

And the answer was a pebble. I bet it didn’t cost $5, either.

Photo: my winning ticket, five bucks on the triple pepper. For $5 I can buy a single red bell pepper.