Home > Culture > Lotto Fever- Lobster Everyday and an Island (But I’ll Give Most to Charity)

Lotto Fever- Lobster Everyday and an Island (But I’ll Give Most to Charity)


Someone please explain to me why everybody plays the lottery when it reaches half a billion dollars- but no one really cares when it’s, say, at $70 million.

So you’re going about your life and if you’re a regular, normal, ‘ol person and you’ve got just enough for rent or a mortgage, groceries, cable TV, and maybe a vacation or two if you’re lucky- how much difference is there really between $600 million and “just” $70 million?

Are you kidding? I’d consider $10K to be a gift from heaven. Hell, most people would be thrilled to find a $5 bill on the street.

The psychology in connection to all this is rather interesting. Suddenly, co-workers who get along just great, but who are now pooling their money together to buy a couple dozen tickets, start thinking like lawyers and certified public accountants. “Well, if Jane Doe put in $5 but Mary Jane only put in $2, clearly, Jane’s share of the mega-million lottery would be 2 and half times as much- an extra $60 million for a mere $3 more in initial investment- Hey that’s not fair!”

My girlfriend, who actually borrowed $5 from me to buy a handful of tickets, insisted that if lightening strikes at our particular Seven-Eleven in Pentagon City, she should get a larger share because her family is bigger. I disagreed somewhat vehemently to this approach. Don’t make me hire a lawyer, honey.

Then there’s all the math that’s being thrown out there. You could buy $170 million worth of lottery tickets, for example, and in picking every possible number, you would be guaranteed to win nearly $300 million after taxes. Except it would take you 28 years to actually mark all 170 million game tickets. I saw this in two different newspaper articles…in the same paper! And it was not helpful.

And the time people spend thinking about things like:

“Well am I going to take it all in one lump sum or split it up into 26 annual payments?”
“Which continent will I visit first, Europe or Asia?”
“I wonder how much an island costs?”
“This means I could eat lobster every single day.”
“I would give almost all, half, some, a little bit to charity.”

There will, of course, be millions of very, very disappointed people this weekend. The TV news guy will be announcing that a collection of 20 workers at a plastics factory in Medford, Oregon managed to win it all and we’ll all be going- “Medford, friggin’, Oregon??? Figures. Stuff like this never happens here in River City, dammit.”

And then the next day all 20 employees from Medford, Oregon will be sitting there at the press conference with the gigantic cardboard check behind them, flashing those toothy grins we all want to wipe off their faces.

There will be the story of the one incredibly cheap, thrifty worker who decided not to join his colleagues in shelling out a few bucks and misses out on the whole thing. Most of them will leave their jobs at the plastics factory in a matter of hours, except for one really wholesome, goodie-two-shoes guy who doesn’t want to be changed by the whole experience and decides he’ll stay at the factory.

Five years later will come the newspaper articles that report all 20 workers from the plastics factory in Medford, Oregon managed to go broke.

So good luck to you all. If the winner happens to be a friend or a family member, I remind you now that a mere 1/600th of your winnings will be more than enough to take care of me and my progeny for the rest of our lives and we will be extremely appreciative and will certainly have a place for you in our hearts until the end of time, ‘ol buddy, ‘ol pal.

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