Sunday, January 17, 2016

A billion reasons

For one, brief incorrigible moment, I lost sight of myself:

I thought I had a chance to win $1.5 billion in last week's Powerball lottery.

Well, I did have a chance. Just like you: It was one in almost 300 million. In truth, I'd have better odds of getting struck by lightning while waving my 5-iron over my head in a thunderstorm than winning the jackpot (those lightning strike odds are one in 700,000 by the way. Who figures this stuff out anyhow?)

I haven't played a lottery in years, mostly because the odds are so oppressive as to be ridiculous. When the North Carolina Education Lottery began in 2006, I spent $2 a week for a couple of weeks for scratch-off tickets. I think I broke even. I ended up spending $10, and won $10. I quickly lost interest and stopped playing after that.

Prior to moving to North Carolina in 1976, I played a few times in the Pennsylvania lottery when I lived in that state. Occasionally, I'd purchase a lottery ticket if I had some loose change in my pocket. But it hardly seemed worth it to spend one buck to win two, and that was on a good day.

So I quit. And I quit in North Carolina, too. My lottery career was over.

Until last week.

In reality, I wasn't planning to play this time, either. But my wife came home from work one afternoon with a lottery slip she got from a colleague, and just like that, we were back in the game.

We filled out our numbers —7, 21, 27, 30, and 52, with 4 as the Powerball.

Then something weird happened.

I started thinking about what I would do with all that money.

Really. I sat in front of the TV ignoring what was on the screen while my brain was whirring away like a runamuck calculator. Let's see. After taxes, I should have something like $600 or $700 million left. I'd give a million to the church; a million to each of my brothers and Kim's brother; perhaps a million for cancer research. Maybe I'd buy my favorite music group, Underhill Rose, a new touring vehicle, like a Suburban or something, with a $5,000 gas card. I'd pay off our outstanding bills. I'd renovate our house...

Oh, wait. How can I do all of this anonymously? I don't want unending phone calls or emails or strangers knocking on my door asking me for money. Damn, I'm going to have to move away...

"We could move to the Caribbean and eat Beanee Weenies," said Kim. Moving to the Caribbean and eating Beanee Weenies is her solution to most of any adversity we might face, and there are times when I think she might have a point. Until hurricane season, at least.

I was trying to work my way around this reveal issue when it came back to me that, hey Bozo, you're not going to win the lottery. Don't worry about it.

And as things turned out, the odds were correct. We didn't even come close to winning.

Looks like Beanee Weenies tonight.

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