"What are you going to write about for tomorrow?" Leo Hochstetter asked.

"I don't know," I said. "After the first 30 years, it's not easy to find a new idea."

"I can give you an idea that's so old it may be new again," Leo said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Al Friendly thought it up 35 years ago," Leo said. "It's an idea for a lottery."

I groaned. "Leo," I said, "I hate to be the one to break the news to you, but we are already up to our bellybuttons in lotteries. We don't need another lottery."

Yes we do," Leo insisted. "This one is different. It's for government workers only. Each player puts up a day of annual leave. If he loses, he works one extra day without pay."

"And if he wins?"

"If he wins, he's in clover," Leo explained. "The grand prize would be 12,000 days, which is the equivalent of 50 years. Whoever won the grand prize would never have to work again. There could be several second prizes of 6,000 days each, with the winners getting 25-year vacations. Then you could also have 2,400-day prizes good for 10 years of loafing, all the way down to a lot of 3-month consolation prizes, which wouldn't be too hard to take, either. What do you think?"

I'll tell you what I think. I think it's a dead cinch the grandprize winner would be 69 years old - and probably in bad health, at that.