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Monday Musings: Life is a Lottery – Break out the Chicken Bones

So the 8,750 people who signed up for tickets for Michael Jackson’s funeral will know who they are now. Hopefully they’ve lined up their significant other, are packed and ready for their flight, train ride, bus journey or cross country drive. Of course now they’re on ebay and someone is bound to make a packet out of this, perhaps not least hot dog and ice cream vendors who will be descending on the route to the Staples Centre on Tuesday, or the hawkers selling Jackson memorablia – “My obsessed friends went to the Michael Jackson funeral and all they brought me back was this lousy t-shirt and swine flu”.

Life is a lottery huh? Or in this case death is a lottery.

Which makes me think about fate, and then I slap myself about the head a bit because the next step is astrology, tarot and chicken bones.

My initial musing on this was how horrific it was to use something as traditionally closed as a funeral for publicity or potentially to generate cash (because lets face it, a lot of people are making money out of this), but I sort of look like it as a form of controlled pilgrimage; not that limiting the numbers is going to stop millions from attending.

We’ve always had choices in our lives, but when did the element of chance become so prevalent? Competitions aren’t even competitions any more – “No purchase necessary” – but they’re everywhere. Consumables, periodicals, websites all dangling the promise of free things by clicking on links or calling/texting numbers. Which is all fine, but where are the difficult questions that are set to test you, rather than the crapfest which is the multiple choice question:

Q: Which famous musician died last week?

A) Michael Jackson
B) Jichael Mackson

Of course making these harder would inevitably lead to less people taking part, which may end up meaning less publicity or less profit from those premium numbers (we won’t get into the TV voting cash cows in this episode folks). All adds to the sense of dumbing down really and the continual proliferation of something for nothing. Are people’s dreams being stoked or their lives being subdued? Giving someone the chance to see off their idol is one thing, dangling the hope of alleged wealth and a life of leisure is another.

In the meantime, hopefully sense will prevail and Tuesday’s event goes off without incident or injury.

I wouldn’t bet on it though.

Published inThe Smorgasbord