These are some facts about the United States half dollar. It’s worth fifty cents. It depicts the head of American President John F. Kennedy in profile. It is two times as heavy as the U.S. quarter, making it the heaviest U.S. coin currently minted. It’s also the instrument of choice for YouTube scratcher Donafello. Donafello has over twelve thousand YouTube subscribers. There’s a whole community of YouTubers doing the same kind of thing. SirSkratchNsmoke “Holy shit.” Texan Candy “Alright, seventy bucks!” Scratcher Heaven “K, I got my twenty bucks back.” To name a few. “What’s uppppp family?” Back to Donafello here. This is his last video since disappearing from the scratcher community without a trace. “It is Saturday morning, and” “it’s been a while, I think about a week now” “since I released a video.” We act as his eyes as he walks through his neighborhood and talks about his hopes for a big lottery win. “And I hope somebody finds that jackpot to change their life forever.” “And I hope we do here.” This is the ultimate VR experience: A full scale simulation of everyday life. “Let’s go ahead and get it started. Let’s see what the funky numbers are.” Days go on and SirSkratchNsmoke hopes for a break. “Twenty-ni—“ “Ah. I mistankenly scratched that.” Too much hope leads to freneticism and carelessness. “Fuck yes.” “Fuck yes, this is a fucking five-hundred dollar winner.” “It’s about fucking time.” Fuck yeah, baby. A big win. Days, months, years of loss result in an animalistic release. “…what the fuck I’m talking about.” “There it is.” “There it fucking is.” In “The Ecstasy of Communication,” Baudrillar— Hold on. Can I just take a break to look up the pronunciation of— Okay. Uh… “Bo-dree-ard” That sounds… That’s right, right? Uh, yeah. It’s probably right. (computer voice with French accent) “Baudrillard” Uhhllck. I can’t do that. Yeah, I’m just gonna go with “Bo-dree-ard.” In “The Ecstasy of Communication,” Baudrillard said that, “Today the scene and mirror no longer exist.” “Instead, there is a screen and network.” Yee-haw! In televised scratching, there is no room for self-reflection. In any destructive system, there are occasional moments of clarity. “I scratched a book, a whole book” “of twenty dollar Illinois lottery scratch cards.” “A whole book of Fabulous Fortunes, alright?” “My first time doing it.” “And let me tell you: it’s my last.” Bob Plachno tells his audience that it’s wasteful to spend $600 on a book of scratchers. “Well I’m just gonna tell you one thing:” “I got $395 back.” “I didn’t even get my money back.” “I got some of it back, but then I just put it back into other games.” “Alright? This is Bob Plachno signing out.” We look for traces of ourselves within the forces that control us. Texan Candy looks at Bubba, a stock photo used as a promotional tool for the Texas lottery, and sees her own cat. “And this is Bubba. He’s actually a cat from San Antonio.” “And he looks a lot like my Mr. Pepe.” “So, out of all the cats and the dogs on these tickets,” “I have a soft spot for that cutie.” A brief, sentimental refuge from the weight of labor. The creation and spread of immaterial labor comes at the expense of personal development. In this video, Richard Kelly plays the lotto in a car full of trash. “You ever just have those days when you can’t decide what you wanna eat” “and then you end up buying something you don’t even want it?” “Well, something like that. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t too great either.” How much does he win? Does he win anything at all? In here, the satisfaction is in the materiality. “Winning numbers: Five-five.” Watching him cleanly reveal each number with a sharp knife, a universal joy. “Thirty-five.” To engage in this ritual is to aestheticize shared economic plights. I wanted to participate, so I created my own video. I used a quarter. I didn’t make money, but I broke even. It really got the blood flowing.