I go to 7-Eleven almost daily, and the register’s typically crowded with people buying lottery tickets. I’ve never done so, and the one time I was tempted to—there was a pot so large I could have bought the Reader and given everybody raises—I was baffled.

This is a truly bizarre subculture. The official guide to the games begins: “WARNING! The following dances are designed solely for performance while in the grip of “Oh-my-gosh-I-just-won-the-Lottery” euphoria. Do not attempt otherwise.” The instructions for each game are then given in the form of an Arthur Murray-type graphic. Odds are given below in a chart that I suspect makes people’s eyes glaze over rather than absorb the fact that, e.g., the chances of winning the 200,000,000 Million Cash Spectacular instant game are 1 in 3.46 million. The site doesn’t say “If you win”—it’s “When you win.” So I confess I wince inwardly when I see someone, to all appearances impoverished, avidly forking over the cash.