Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Interview with "Gus The Groundhog"




Interview with a Groundhog

Pennsylvania Lottery
Instants Launch - Gus
“Interview with a groundhog”
As recorded -- January 28, 2004

Interviewer
Well, I’m here today with a very special guest. What an honor. It’s a pleasure to have you with us, Gus.
Gus
Thanks. I’m happy to be here. The doughnuts are a really nice touch.

Interviewer
So, you’re the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania. I’ve just got to ask, who is the “real Gus?”

Gus
Oh, I’m just a regular guy. You know, I climb out of my burrow one leg at a time like all the other groundhogs.

Interviewer
But tell us a little about yourself.

Gus
Oh, where do I begin? You could say I’m average height – a foot and a half tall on a good day (straightening up) – and maybe a little over my ideal weight. Anyhow, I come from a big family; 27 brothers and sisters, a few hundred cousins. We’re spread out all over the state. Yeah, the holidays are pretty fun, I must say.


Interviewer
Of course. So, Gus, how did the Pennsylvania Lottery choose you to be the face of their instant scratch-off games?

Gus
Well, look at this face. Just kidding.

Interviewer
Uh huh.

Gus
Seriously, it all comes down to one thing.

Interviewer
What’s that?

Gus
Scratching.

Interviewer
Really?

Gus
Oh yeah. (scratching, he does his scratching thing). I love it. And I can’t help it. I’m just good at it. You could say it’s a gift.

Interviewer
This is all because of scratching?

Gus
Oh yeah. Those Pennsylvania Lottery instant game tickets. It feels good. There are new games every month and I’ve just gotta scratch ‘em, y’know? Of course, it’d be a little easier with an opposable thumb, but whatever. And then there’s the chance I could win some cash. Who doesn’t like cash?

Interviewer
But how did the Pennsylvania Lottery find you?

Gus
It’s the funniest thing. I was standing in line waiting to pick up a pizza, right? Next thing I know, I’m surrounded by all these lights and people and cameras and stuff. I guess the camera loves me.

Interviewer
Naturally.

Gus
But you know, I didn’t set out to become famous, or even second most famous. I mean, I’m not into that sunglasses and autograph thing, I’m not what you’d call a ‘stagehog.’ Heck, I don’t really even like tv cameras – nothing personal – the camera adds five pounds, you know.

Interviewer
Oh, I know.

Gus
It isn’t about the glory. It’s about the love of the game. That’s why I want to tell the whole world to ‘keep on scratchin.”

Interviewer
I see. But how will you do that?

Gus
Well, get this, I’ll go to places all over Pennsylvania. From Plumsteadville to Claysville. All the villes, for that matter. Burghs, towns and cities, too. I’ll play the games. I’ll make some friends. It’s a dream come true. All because of the good things the lottery does. How perfect is that?

Interviewer
Yes, of course. Now, Gus, everyone knows the Pennsylvania Lottery benefits older Pennsylvanians. Every day. But what does that mean to you?

Gus
Oh, it’s simple, really. It’s about helping older people in our state. (aside, waving) Hi, Mom. She’s probably watching, y’know?

Interviewer
Uh yes, hello. But back to the lottery.

Gus
Oh yeah. That’s the really cool part, my friend. Last year alone the Pennsylvania Lottery generated over eight hundred million dollars for programs that help the older people of Pennsylvania. That’s a lot of help for hundreds of thousands of people. With prescription drugs. With hot meals. With transportation. With property tax and rent rebates. With hundreds of senior centers across the state. Did I mention the hot meals? Oh I love that part.


Interviewer
Yes, I believe you covered that. And that’s quite an extensive list.


Gus
There’s more. Oh, I could go on and on.

Interviewer
Well, we’re beginning to run short of time, so let me ask you this, Gus: Are we going to see more of you?


Gus
Keep those doughnuts right here, and yeah, you’ll see lots more of me.

Interviewer
Seriously.


Gus
Well, I’ll be on t.v. and radio and billboards. In fact, my agent says you’ll even see my smiling face in more than seven thousand stores in Pennsylvania. Like this – whatdya think?


Interviewer
You’ve got an agent?

Gus
No, but I thought it sounded good.


Interviewer
Ah ha. Okay, Gus. Sadly, our time is up. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Gus
Oh yeah. Keep on scratchin.’
.
___________________________________
.
(Interview transcript found on the Pennsylvania Lottery Website)
.
I have a point here.
.
Gus is cute and adorable, and he loves his mother, and all--he lavishes her with gifts on Mothers' Day--and I love playing the lottery (as evidenced by my losing ticket).
.
But Gus is a spokesanimal for state-run gambling, his campaign paid for with my tax dollars.
.
I have nothing against state-run lotteries and such, but, on the other hand, it's kind of hypocritical to limit gambling in the private sector.
.
In response to Jay Westerdal's post "Online Gambling Ads: What a Crime," I responded as follows:
.
What a stinkin’ rotten double standard. So that’s why my gambling domains don’t do that well. I have noticed that no gambling ads appear on those Google searches.
.
Every single day, on TV ads, Gus the groundhog pushes the Pennsylvania Lottery. He even has his own Christmas "wrap" song.
.
So, then, it’s okay for states to run lotteries and numbers games, but if a private citizen gets caught, he or she pays huge fines and even faces jail time.
.
My late grandfather was a bootlegger and bookie, and I used accompany him on his “bet runs” and go to the race track with him–I loved it! Even though I’m not much of a gambler (well, maybe a little), I still love the smells and the sights of a race track. He never gambled himself and gave up drinking in 1935, but he sure made some nice side money. As far as I know, he never got caught. He had no ethical ambiguity about being involved in a gambling business, either. He felt it was his right.
.
I think it’s outrageous how the government moralizes about the evils of gambling but has its dirty lobbied hand in the thick of it.
.
My opinion: if someone wants to gamble his/her life savings away, drink until they die of alcohol poisoning, and smoke until their lungs turn black and atrophy, that should be their choice.
.
The government should stay out of it.
.
My late bootlegging, bookie grandfather would have loved Gus--he always had a soft spot for animals, real and imaginary. In fact, he had a soft spot for just about everything.
.
However, he was not beyond breaking a few laws here and there, especially stupid laws that seek out to legislate human behavior.
.
Ms Domainer

2 comments:

  1. State Run Lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd think by now that Gus would be the most-famous groundhog IN Pennsylvania!

    Punxsutawney who? ;-)

    ReplyDelete

Word verification has been enabled to circumvent spammers, not to censor bona fide posts. ;=)

I welcome your comments!

Ms Domainer

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