McIvers — The small Newfoundland community of McIvers has been left with no reason to go on after a Chase the Ace winner finally emerged Sunday night.
The game, which continues to enthrall old people all over the Maritimes, is the biggest financial boon to McIvers and had become the sole reason residents got out of bed each morning. A Flat Bay family took home $725,913 and the organizers of the event managed to net $1 million, but the rest of the community got little more than a sinking feeling of disillusionment and extreme withdrawal.
“It’s like I was floating on cloud nine for 50 long weeks, and now I’m rudderless and totally spent,” said Chase the Ace player Lorna McKinley-Wright. “It’s not unlike the emptiness you get deep inside after Christmas and New Year’s is all over and you’ve got nothing but months of winter before there’s anything resembling hope.”
“I still don’t even fully understand what Chase the Ace is, but I do know that I need to play it again. Like, right now! Give it to me!” enthused 22-year-old Will Drost.
“It’s like the feeling you get on Sunday night after an awesome weekend, when you know a crappy work-week is just on the horizon… but multiply that by, like, a thousand,” said gambler Fran Killam.
“I’d compare it more to a drug crash — it’s like we were all doing heroin for weeks and now we have to clean up and quit cold-turkey,” said local man Brenton Goodine. “Chase the Ace is probably more addictive than smack, though.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself,” said McIvers native Donny Oliver. “I mean, what can you do? Are there self-help books out there for Chase the Ace comedowns? ‘Depression for Dummies’? I guess I can keep buying pull-tabs and scratch tickets, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”
McIvers doctors and medical professionals have already seen their waiting rooms fill with lotto-junkies requesting antidepressants, stimulants — whatever. “These people are nervous, anxious, they’re scratching at their arms and they can’t maintain eye contact,” said Dr. Reginald B. Wyatt. “They’re all complaining of aches and pains in their bones, of vomiting and sweating profusely out of sheer exhaustion. I warned them when this all got started of how Chase the Ace can tear a community apart, but no one listened. Well, now they’re paying for it.”
Wyatt said support groups are available to help residents deal with their all-consuming sense of despairing anticlimax. “It’s an acute letdown that nobody should have to go through alone. Life here is bleak enough without the overwhelming and deflating sense of loss the community is undergoing en masse.”
Volunteers have set up an anonymous post-Chase the Ace hotline that players can call toll-free, 24/7. Dial 1-800-ACE-CHASE for help.