The Irish Sweepstakes

When I was a kid, now and again there was talk of distant relatives winning the Irish Sweepstakes. Nobody ever actually knew one of the lucky; it always was a cousin of an aunt’s in-laws who’d emigrated to Australia. I don’t remember anyone betting on it either, though the illegal lottery was Jersey City’s traditional cottage industry and my family’s business.

There was a scam where people would receive letters that they’d won the Irish Sweepstakes, but needed first to pay some sort of custom duty before receiving a check.

An imaginative local soul purchased a gizmo that allowed transmission over a nearby radio. His mother was using the vacuum cleaner while listening to her favorite shows. He announced from the next room, “We interrupt our broadcast for important news: Mrs. McGillicuddy of Jersey City has won the Irish Sweepstakes!” She then — vacuum still in hand — rushed to tell her son of fortune’s favorable turn. Seeing the microphone and his mirthful grin, an enraged Mrs. McGillicuddy proceeded to thrash him with the vacuum cleaner hose. Now incapacitated by fits of laughter, the apprentice to comedy was unable to make a retreat.

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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