I was working at the Columbia Missourian that night. I took a quick look at the numbers before going out on a reporting assignment. But I saw only the most recent birth dates picked, and the lottery was still ongoing.

Pressed for time, I went to my assignment thinking I must have been in an earlier set of numbers. By the time I got back and filed my story, all the numbers were in. I started reading down the dates and by the time I had scanned through a couple hundred of them and got closer to the end, I remember thinking I must have read over mine.

It wasn’t until I got to the end, third from the bottom, that I found it. I stared at the number in disbelief, then tremendous relief. I knew at that moment that I would be working at a newspaper when I graduated, not awaiting a call-up. Yes, there was a party that night! If I had been as lucky in lotteries since then, I would be a wealthy man.