They call it the North Carolina Education Lottery, and I must say, it is true to its name.

They call it the North Carolina Education Lottery, and I must say, it is true to its name. I sure did get an education this weekend.

I will admit that I am not a big lottery player. As a matter of fact, I had never played the lottery in North Carolina.

However, with the Powerball jackpot growing and growing, I finally gave in and decided to purchase a lottery ticket on Saturday.

The decision was somewhat in the spur of the moment. My wife and I were deciding what we should do about dinner Saturday night. We thought of eating out. I suggested we buy a lottery ticket instead. Ain’t I the romantic?

The first thing we had to do was come up with numbers to pick. My wife and I approached this like Isaac Newton working on a gravity experiment.

We looked at birthdays and anniversary dates, but if you look only upon those, you’re leaving out every number more than 31. We even called my mother for help. After all, when you need help, who better to ask than mom?

In the end, we settled on our five numbers and our Powerball selection.

We stopped at the convenience store at Carolina Pines on our way home. We walked in, and I told the cashier I wanted to play the lottery but had never done so. She did a good job explaining the procedures, and we went about making our selections. Since there are five games on one ticket, we decided to go for broke — in a manner of speaking — and plucked down $10 to play all five games.

We randomly selected numbers for the other four games, and secure in our selections, we began thinking about the possibilities of winning.

How could we not? We’d be looking at a $590 million prize.

We talked of beach houses and travel. We talked of quitting jobs and moving to Hawaii. We talked of charitable contributions and things we’d buy.

Our daughter got home about 10:30 p.m. after a dinner with friends and we mentioned to her that we had just 30 minutes before we were millionaires.

So as the time for the 11 p.m. drawing approached, I retrieved our numbers. The announcer gave one of those sarcastic "good luck" comments, and we were off.

The first number is 22.

Bingo! We are on our way. We have a 22.

By the time the numbers of 10 and 13 followed, we knew our fortunes had taken a turn for the worst. Of the 30 numbers we played in our five games, we matched just one, the first one, 22.

Yep, that’s quite an education.

Turns out, someone in Florida won the jackpot, and I’ve stopped thinking about beach houses in Hawaii, if only for a few minutes.

Still, we spent 10 bucks on the chance to win $590 million. It provided us a few minutes of fun and the chance to dream about the future. And, that’s not such a bad thing.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at