While Hank uses a cane around the house, he opts for a wheelchair when we go out. One recent stifling day, I’d tucked a bottle of Diet Coke into the pouch on the back of the chair so we could stay hydrated. I’d given up on staying cool.

The bottle wasn’t quite empty when we got home so before I put the chair away, I retrieved the soda. It had wiggled its way to the bottom of the pouch so I had to reach in to pull it out.

As I did, I felt something: an envelope tucked deep into the recesses of the pouch. Extracting it, I discovered it was still sealed but wrinkly, as if it had gotten wet, then dried.

Curious, I opened it — and found a Christmas card. But that wasn’t all. There was also a “$50,000 (U.S.) Grant” lottery scratch ticket that teased “Win up to 10 times.”

Now I’ve played the Lottery enough to know that, typically, prizes must be claimed within a year or they are forfeited. Beyond the fact that this ticket was clearly weathered, the fine print showed the game was from 2012.

And therein was my dilemma: Should I scratch the ticket to see if I’d “won,” knowing full well I couldn’t. Or, should I just toss it and move on.

The choice was easy. I’m a journalist. I was born nosy. It’s not my nature Not To Know Things. So I grabbed a dime and — for better or worse — began to scratch.

Because the ticket was so old, it didn’t scratch easily. But I was able to discern the two “winning numbers” I needed to match: a 1 and an 8. There was also a star-shaped symbol that would automatically win the dollar amount specified there.

Working from left to right, I scraped away the coating; there were no matches in the first seven numbers revealed. Then I got to the eighth … it was a Star.

I scratched below it to see the amount. I’d “won” $1.

Never have I been so happy not to win a lot of money. But I wasn’t finished. There were two final spaces to scratch, both on the most damaged part of the ticket. Would they hold much larger sums not so easily shrugged off?

Taking a deep breath, I picked up my dime to find out.

Yet try as I might, I couldn’t decipher either of the last two numbers. If anything, my scratching had made them disappear. I had no clue what they were.

Suddenly, all I could think of was a story I read long ago, the one that frustratingly concludes “Which came out of the opened door — the lady, or the tiger?”

Except with this luck of the draw, I was perfectly happy not to know the ending.