I want to confess that I’ve never played Powerball in my life. For one, the odds of winning is like a billion to one. Greater than catching a meteorite in my teeth shaped exactly like Evander Holyfield’s other ear, the precise moment that I jump off of the Freemont Bridge after receiving news that my 47 year old wife is pregnant. Sounds impossible… yep. Well, it’s not exactly utterly impossible. But it sounds pretty near as improbable as you can get. However, if I want to bask in an occasional fantasy about being really rich, I usually play “Win for Life.” The odds are much, much better. It’s like simultaneously getting bitten by a cobra and a rattlesnake while sleeping in my bed at home… almost a sure thing. And me being from Alabama, I have a very low fear for ultra-deadly venomous snakes… so I usually get a ticket once or twice a month. It’s practically a sure thing!
Today I read that the Powerball lottery has not had a winner. It’s the highest it’s been in a long time. Powerball has peaked at $425 million bucks. So I had to go out and buy one. I wasn’t at all interested at first, but on the way home from work, I stopped to get a Pepsi for my young bride. The Plaid Pantry guy said, “hey buddy, why aren’t you getting a lottery ticket?” I grunted, “impossible.” He replied in an unusually upbeat tone, “it only takes one ticket to win, you know.” I counted the bills in my wallet once again, “well, since you put it that way… I’ll take one.” He smiled as he rang it up, “that’s the spirit,” as if he was making some huge commission from the lottery sales.
Now, considering that this is the first time that I actually purchased a Powerball ticket, I have a lot of fantasy dreaming to catch up on. What would I buy first thing? What would I do for my kids? Which political or humanitarian charities would I donate to? I could go on and on for hours… that’s the fantasy that you buy with each ticket. A two dollar dream that lasts a whole week, or until the actual numbers come out.
After the first few days of dreaming, I eventually ask the wife, kids, and extended family what would you buy if “I gave you half of my lottery winnings.” Some of my friends and relatives clearly don’t share my fantasy about suddenly becoming rich. Nor have they thought much about what 200 million bucks would buy. My youngest son said he wants a new skate board. My wife wanted “a Summer house.” My dad said he’d simply “pay it on his bills as far as it would go.” Not all that ambitious.
There is yet one sad fact that I discovered about people while doing this simple fantasy poll. I ask people what they would do about work? About 99% of the people polled said that there was no question about whether they would quit. There was a nurse I had lunch with today that called me “just plain stupid” and “really weird.” But I actually like doing what I do. I said, “if I had won the lottery yesterday, I’d still be working as a nurse.” She looked back, “weird.” Just then my wife came in. The other nurse said, “well, lets see what the boss has to say.” She explained the previous conversation to Bonnie. My wife then said, “aren’t you tired of taking care of arrogant people. The 86 year old getting a penile implant for his 31 year old wife. How about the breast implants, or even the 17 year old coming in to get her third abortion. Tell me you’re not tired of that.” I thought a minute. “How about we go to Africa or Serbia and open a charity clinic to give free health care to those in need?” She smiled, “Now you’re talking. That’s a grand way to spend a fortune.”
Then I thought again… “But, in the mean time, I think that even if I win the lottery, I’d still continue to work here at my present job for a while until we decide where to go and get the proper international travel permits.” The other nurse said, “yep, that’s really stupid.”
I told her that as a recent multi-millionaire lottery winner, I think it would go something like this…
I’m sitting at my desk and our division director comes by and says, “Hey, I need you to go and cover this room and do this.”
I say, “do it yourself… fat boy.”
“… what? … yea, I’ve been drinking, whatcha gonna do about it?”
I can be fired and be the first person in history to be a millionaire lottery winner and draw unemployment benefits.
Big John made the front page!… Take that “National Enquirer”