Punch Drunk: The Boozy Golden Ticket 

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Charlie Bucket is all grown up.

He’s 40-something with a prominent belly, wearing a Miami Dolphins jersey and driving a Dodge Ram. He works as a manager at an auto body shop. The whole owning a chocolate factory thing never really panned out because of the litany of ongoing lawsuits involving the previous owner. Turns out Ol’ Wonka had trouble keeping his willy under wraps, and one Oompa Loompa finally had seen enough.

Charlie’s dream of finding a golden ticket and transforming his life evaporated like so many fizzy lifting bubbles.

Or has it?

A new golden-ticket consumer promotion has emerged, and this one definitely isn’t for kids. Although for men like Charlie and me — men predisposed to drinking a case of Bud Light in one sitting — it’s like being a child all over again.

Budweiser has hidden 37,000 golden-colored cans of its flagship beer, Bud Light, in cases across the country. Finding one is the first step for one lucky inebriated soul to win free Super Bowl tickets for life.

Sure, 37,000 cans seems like a lot — until you realize that in 2012 Bud Light sold about 269 million cases of beer. So your chances aren’t great, but they’re not astronomical like winning the lottery or getting attacked by a shark.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as finding a gold can. Those who find one must take a picture with it and post it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or BudLight.com using the hashtags #SBTix4Life and #Sweeps. Each week, a single winner will be chosen to receive a pair of season tickets to an NFL team of his or her choice for 2017. A grand-prize winner will land Super Bowl tickets for life for the next 51 Super Bowls.

So again, your chances are slim to none, but so were Veruca Salt’s, and Mike Teevee’s, and Violet Beauregarde’s — and that didn’t stop those little brats from touring a creepy factory where a man with a predilection for candy and children held an entire race of orange people hostage, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

Augustus Gloop drank a lot of chocolate and then may or may not have died in a river of it, and you, sir or ma’am, will do the same thing, but with Bud Light.

Is Bud Light messing with people by offering up to 51 years of Super Bowl tickets knowing full well that there’s no way the drinker who wins will live that long? Probably, and that’s OK. If there’s anything hardy imbibers like me need on a regular basis, it’s false hope.

Those that don’t want to flood their bloodstream with the sweet golden lager can download a free gold can wrap from the company website and take a photo with it. But where’s the fun in that? I don’t download a citation for disorderly conduct when I want one of those. No way! I get out on the sidewalk and I earn it.

Young people these days don’t understand the value of a hard day’s drinking.

Now, how do Charlie Bucket, you and I go about finding one of these 37,000 gold cans? We could pull a Henry Salt and turn our prosperous nut factory into an around-the-clock party, in which our workers do nothing but rip open cases of Bud Light until they find a golden can, but that seems unrealistic, and frankly, I don’t even own a multinational legume conglomerate.

No, I think we’re just going to have to get lucky, and I’ve always found that the harder I work, the luckier I get. Or in this case, the harder I drink.

Like a forty-niner prospecting for gold in 1850s California, we must grow beards, wear silly hats and stop paying attention to basic hygiene needs. The empty cans alone will be enough to fill entire rooms of our houses, yet we will press on. We will drink Bud Lights on the seas and oceans, whatever the cost may be. We shall drink them on the beaches, we shall drink them on the landing grounds, we shall drink them in the fields and in the streets, we shall drink in the hills; we shall never surrender. Until one day, when we find that elusive golden can.

Only then, as we stagger about celebrating, as we sing in the streets, will we realize that we still have only a 1 in 37,000 chance to win Super Bowl tickets for life. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.

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