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TAKE THREE / Three Views of the Southland | AL MARTINEZ

What I'll Do With the Money

September 12, 1997|AL MARTINEZ

I have just been informed by the Publisher's Clearing House that I am on a short list to win $3.5 million. I've got a good feeling about this.

The letter from Dorothy Addeo, contest manager for the Clearing House, said, "In just a few short weeks we are scheduled to announce MR. AL MARTINEZ is the winner of the 1997 THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR SUPERPRIZE!"

Well, yes, as the letter does go on to explain, my winning is conditional upon the selection of my number in October, but I'm still excited. Writers excite easily.

"Just think what that would be like!" Dorothy continues. I feel I can call her by her first name due to the intimacy of our association. "You answering the door to discover the PCH Prize Patrol standing there with a gigantic check, flowers, champagne--and with video cameras running to capture forever the most exciting time of your life!"

I can see it now: I am stretched out on the couch in my underwear watching "Seinfeld" reruns and the doorbell rings. My wife Cinelli is running between the kitchen and her desk simultaneously cooking, paying bills, feeding the cat and outlining a novel.

"Will somebody get the door!" I shout.

Since we are the only two people in the house there is no doubt in her mind to whom I am referring.

"You get it," she says. "I'm up to my kazoo in work!"

"What's your kazoo?"

"Just answer the door, Martinez!"

I grumble, detach myself from the couch and open the door. A large group of people rush forward bellowing "Surprise!" Strobe lights flash, arc lights glare, a woman throws herself at me, chaos reigns.

I slam the door screaming, "Run for your life, it's the paparazzi!"


But it's not them at all; it's Dorothy Addeo and her gang with an oversize check for THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS! What a day it will be.

Dorothy's letter also contains the opportunity for me to subscribe to several magazines and to join a club that will send me a different ceramic songbird each month. Depicted in an accompanying illustration is a bird that goes "whoit-whoit-whoit-chee-chee-chee." I can also purchase a teapot in the shape of a shingled "hometown cottage" for only $8.48. Very, uh, unusual.

I hate disappointing Dorothy and I certainly don't want to lessen my chance of winning all that money but I don't need more magazines in the house and the other things just don't interest me. Anyhow, I probably already have a ceramic songbird somewhere that goes "whoit-whoit-whoit-chee-chee-chee. . . ."

"You really think you're going to win, don't you?" Cinelli said as I filled in the form that accompanied the notification. "You've got about as much chance of winning that as you have of winning the Nobel Prize for Taking Out the Garbage, which you manage never to do."

She's right, but if there were a Nobel Prize for Escaping Hard Physical Work I'd win that hands-down.

"Ladies and gentleman," the chairman of the Nobel Prize Commission would announce in Oslo, "it is my pleasure to award the Prize in Indolence to MR. AL MARTINEZ, the laziest, most shiftless ne'er-do-well in the known world!" I'd send the dog to fetch the prize. A nice touch.


Cinelli believes that my chances of winning THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS!, never outstanding, were lessened because I didn't order anything from the Publisher's Clearing House. But while nothing in Dorothy's letter says NO PURCHASE NECESSARY! neither does it say YOU'VE GOT TO BUY SOMETHING TO WIN!

A list of past winners accompanies her note. P. DiNardo from Worthington PA was a big winner. So was L. Eddings from Springfield MA and R. Stickel from Madison Hts. VA. Why not A. Martinez from good old L.A. CA?

I'm already thinking how I'll spend the money. I'll hire someone to exercise for me five days a week. I'll have Wolfgang Puck cater my breakfast. I'll send flowers to the grave of an old woman I accidentally knocked down in Rome when we were both rushing for the same taxi. I have always regretted having left her lying on the pavement in the rain.

"Suppose," Cinelli said, leaning in close to me, "you don't win?"

"If J. Stone from Oviedo FL can win," I replied, "so can I."

She kissed me and whispered, "You haven't got the chance of a dewdrop in hell."

We all have daydreams. I used to have erotic fantasies, but I've pretty much outgrown those, except for the one that involves a bald Demi Moore doing one-armed push-ups. Mostly I dream of a life of ease. I'll dictate my memoirs. I'll sit under a tree with a bottle of fine red wine. I'll meander up a trail. I'll putter.

But if I don't win the THREE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS! it will be just another dream that didn't come true. I'll take it with a grin, go on working and tell Dorothy Addeo to KEEP HER UGLY DAMNED TEAPOT and suggest what she also might do with her STUPID WHOIT-CHEEING SONGBIRD!

Al Martinez can be reached online at

I'm already thinking how I'll spend the money. I'll hire someone to exercise for me five days a week. I'll have Wolfgang Puck cater my breakfast.

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