There's an election for governor coming up soon in Massachusetts. The state's Supreme Court has cleared the way for gay and lesbian couples to marry. And sports fans are moping over the recent playoff elimination of the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox baseball team. But it's an old man whom nobody paid much attention to who has people REALLY talking in this northeast state.
Just about every day, Edward St. John, 83, would shuffle up to a convenience store in the little town of Blackstone. He'd rummage around in the trash barrel outside and pull out discarded tickets from the Massachusetts Lottery's instant game -- the kind where you scratch the coating off a card to see if you've matched the winning numbers.
Well, Mr. St. John found a winner, all right -- a $1 million-dollar winning card that someone threw away. Now, all over Massachusetts, you hear familiar sayings like, "One man's trash is another man's treasure," and "Finders keepers, losers weepers."
One weeper, for sure. It may or may not be the fellow who has hired a lawyer, claiming he bought the winning ticket and inadvertently threw it away. He'd be happy to talk with Mr. St. John about SPLITTING the million bucks, says the lawyer.
No way, say most folks who've been quoted on the matter. "If someone can't bother to check and double-check their ticket and then throw it away," said one woman, "then that is their loss." The State Lottery agrees. It says a lotto ticket is what's called a bearer instrument. Unless someone else has signed his name to it, the bearer gets the prize.
A reporter tracked Edward St. John to his humble apartment. "All I'm interested in," he said, "is getting over to Braintree. That's the town where really big lottery winners collect their really big money."