Billion Dollar Blues

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Two weekends ago, someone finally one the Powerball lottery, which had climbed to the highest jackpot total in United States history, topping off at about $1.5 billion. Several people won, as a matter of fact, splitting the proceeds and putting an end to this round of dreams for millions more who played. The three big winners were from Florida, California, and Tennessee. It always seems to me that when someone wins a huge lottery pot, they’re someone who already has enough money, or they’re from a swamp or trailer park, but I digress. I rarely gamble in any fashion, and even more rarely purchase lottery tickets, but it was difficult to resist this time. Despite the odds against winning, all it took was a couple dollars thrown into the office pool and a shot in the dark to set the rest of my life.

I knew the probability of winning the jackpot was slimmer than a burger patty at a fast food joint (after cooking), but even when a historic event like this is not taking place, I frequently daydream about what I would do with such money, and what I would do if I never had to work again. That’s a concept that has drawn contention from some of the people around me when I talk about it, but nonetheless, if I had enough money to never work another day in my life, I would never work again. I’ve been told that I’d get bored (the world is very big, there’s no chance of that), or that I’d be dead in ten years because I’d just sit around (au contraire, I’d be living somewhere warm, and I’d be outside, living life with all those hours I’d reclaimed). There’s just simply nothing I would want to do that much to turn it into a job in the event that I didn’t HAVE to work.

I’ve joked with my cohorts from The Only Podcast That Matters about opening a toy shop (possibly with a brewery attached to it…and a taco truck in the parking lot), and that would all probably be a blast for a while. However, that would all mean having an itinerary, and that is something I would never want again. I’d want to come and go as I pleased. I wouldn’t want to have to be anywhere, at any specific time. I’ve heard many other people tell me that they would simply continue working, and that mentality is equally baffling to me as mine is to them. Why anyone would want to continue being someone’s hourly wage slave if they didn’t absolutely have to? To me, that is the definition of insanity. No amount of boredom, even if it did strike at some point, could ever make me want that.

As far as the money is concerned, it would be spread around. My family and I would have everything we’ve ever wanted. Friends would be taken care of. I would even pick a charity to which to donate. Much of it would be saved. I’ve always said that I didn’t need to be rich, so long as I had enough money to not have to worry about money, but as I’ve gotten older and have to keep toiling in the salt mines, I’d be fine with having more money than I could ever spend or truly know what to do with. With that, however, comes issues, I know. You have to stand there with the big, fake check and get your picture plastered in the newspaper (I get why the state wants that, but it sucks for the winner). People start coming out of the woodwork, asking for money. You probably don’t know what to actually do with that money, so you likely have to hire a lawyer and a financial advisor. Have you ever seen those shows about people who win tons of money and then terrible things start happening to them? As Dana Carvey said, as George Bush on Saturday Night Live, “it’s scary!” At the same time, that may all be a small price to pay for being able to do whatever you want for the rest of your life.

So, from now on, when a payday this big rolls around, I’ll have no problem tossing in a couple shekels. While the chance of winning the top prize is extremely low, you can bet that the three winners this time around were told by everyone around them that they’d never win either. Hey, someone even drew a $100,000 ticket from the gas station around the corner from my house. Two dollars and a dream? I’m down with that.

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