Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The fastest electronic random number indicator equipment in the (North) West

I have some Premium Bonds. I have had them since January 2005. With average luck, I thought as I sent off my £100 cheque, I will eventually* win as much as I'd get with a savings account. Under closer scrutiny, however, this thought looks not so much like justified optimism, as a fundamental misunderstanding of probability, finance, luck and the functioning of government-backed bonds. I have never won.

In a way, though, some of my original reasoning stands. As well as the slightly dubious claim above, I can retrieve my £100 in case of financial crisis, although in practice I have always preferred to test the outer limits of my overdraft rather than give them up because there is part of my brain leaping about shouting "I could win a million pounds! A MILLION! HA!"

At the beginning of every month I get a little inward skip of anticipation, thinking that any day now someone could turn up with The Big Cheque. Whether they actually bring a 6ft cardboard cheque to the door I neither know nor care - in my imagination a man from the 1950s turns up with The Big Cheque and we both awkwardly try to manoeuvre it round the recycling boxes, front door, cat etc while I jump about a bit with an inner feeling of vindication. I'm not even sure it's the money I'm excited about - The Big Cheque has achieved mythic status in my mind which months and (potentially, let's face it) years without winning ANYTHING AT ALL can't dent.

Mr Listingslightly does not think it is healthy to dwell on this. He does not have Premium Bonds. He understands maths. I fear he may be right.

This is kind of cheating, but here's a link to thisismoney.co.uk's list about Premium Bonds. I was going to do a "reasons why it's good to hang on to them" type list, but I think it's covered by the leaping-about-million-quid-Big-Cheque thing above. Also, imaginatively anticipating, spending, donating and investing The Big Cheque is a much nicer insomnia diversion than paranoic medical self-diagnosis or thinking about work. I should mention that I have profited indirectly from ERNIE's munificence, as my Grandma has sent me some £ in the post when she has won. So there you are, a happy ending after all.

* If "eventually" means "in an infinite amount of time" then my argument may have been correct, I think. If I had an infinite amount of time I would study statistics, as I fear my knowledge is not what it should be.

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