A magnifying glass is a winner

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Patsy Pridgen


By Patsy Pridgen
Life Columnist

Sunday, January 14, 2018

I enjoyed reading the recent Telegram story about Marion Nellum, the local woman who won $1 million on a $10 Big Money Super Ticket she bought at the EP Mart on Benvenue Road.

I like that somebody from Rocky Mount purchased a winning lottery ticket in a store I’ve patronized. And I like that Ms. Nellum can now go on that cross-country train trip she’s been wanting to take.

But the part of her story that particularly delighted me was in the last paragraph. Ms. Nellum said she had to take the winning ticket home and “get the magnifying glass to make sure I was reading it right.”

I may not have won a million-dollar jackpot like this lady, but she and I are kindred spirits. I, too, have been known to depend on a magnifying glass. Oh, I have prescription glasses and contact lenses and those inexpensive “readers” you buy at the drugstore. But when I really, really don’t want to make a mistake, like reading a winning lottery ticket (I wish!), I get out my trusty magnifying glass.

I keep it in my top left desk drawer with my last printed copy of the telephone book. Helping me verify phone numbers and addresses is one of its main uses. I know I can find a lot of this information on the computer these days, but I’m old school and can grab the phone book and the magnifying glass and find my former neighbor’s street number before I can fire up a search engine. The Christmas card envelope is addressed in a jiffy. Although I’ve been told the post office doesn’t care, I also use the magnifying glass to be sure I put the stamp on right side up. I don’t want the American flag upside down.

The magnifying glass comes in handy to double-check amounts due. Several years ago, my florist sent me a second bill asking for another 25 cents, less than the cost of the stamp used to send the request. Evidently, I had misread what I owed her. I stopped by to pay the quarter in person, apologizing for the error. The owner was also apologetic for bothering me over such a trifling amount, but her comments left me feeling I got some unthinking assistant in trouble for inefficient collecting. Since then, unless the amount due is in a large font, I whip out the magnifying glass to be sure my check matches my bill.

I use the magnifying glass for various other tasks. It gives me a better chance of deciphering people’s handwriting. Enlarged scribbled letters become more distinct, and I can perhaps make out an “e” from a “c.” I examine splinters, broken links in necklace chains, and microscopic directions on bottles.

“Grandma, why do you have a magnifying glass?” asked a plundering grandchild who, blessed with the perfect vision of youth, can spot an ant on the other side of the room. He was busy examining the enlarged back of his hand.

“I may have to verify the winning numbers of a lottery ticket someday,” I tell him.