Friday, March 30, 2012

One-Tenth of 640 Million Dollars

I do not believe in gambling. If I'm going to spend perfectly good disposable income on something, it had better be useful, chocolate, or at least shiny. Playing the lotto is basically pinning all your hopes and dreams on an expensive piece of future trash. The one time I went to Vegas as an adult, I spent all of about five minutes gambling before the flashing lights and ringing bells grew old and I skipped off to Chippendale's with my massive eiffel tower margarita in hand. I did buy one lotto ticket once on my 18th birthday just as a rite of passage. I didn't win anything and never bothered since.

But since the jackpot in California is so ridiculously big right now, this was the first time that I was ever seriously tempted. The following thoughts started floating around my over-worked and underpaid mind: "Hey, someone's gotta win it. Why not me? " and "You can't win if you don't play!" These obsessive mantras quickly replaced the usual fleeting logical conclusions, "One chance in a bazillion," "Waste your money on more tangible objects" and "The lotto is a tax on folks who can't do math" (that last one I stole from my former drama/computer/track/improv teacher''s Facebook. Thanks Walters!)

I started to fantasize about what I would do with all that money. Even if you tax the bejeezus out of a shit-load of money, you still have a shit-load of money. That is just irrefutable. Suddenly, I became one of those people I used to pity and deride for spending their last dollar on a lotto ticket. What you're really paying for with that dollar is a dream, temporary though it may be. The dream that all your problems will suddenly go away because you finally have a fat bank account. Sure, there is a documented Curse of the Lotto Winner, and they say "Mo' money, mo' problems." But I would gladly trade my problems for that of a ridiculously wealthy person's. Any takers?

With this in mind, I jumped on the bandwagon and put in not just one, but TWO whole dollars of my hard-earned money into my office lotto pool. I think mostly because they caught me when I was hungry and running late, so I was feeling especially vulnerable to the lure of large sums of money. When I got home and checked Facebook, I saw I was not alone. Clearly, the draw of $640 million dollars has caused thousands of rational people who wouldn't normally buy into this crap to increase the odds of winning even more. But again I say, someone has to win it eventually. Why not me?

So let's say I win my share of a bajillion dollars. Everyone always wants to know the first thing you're going to do with it. A new car? A yacht? A private island? For me, the first thing would be to pay off my student loans in one big lump and attach a picture of me flipping them off for screwing me over so bad the past few years. Practical and yet uber-satisfying at the same time. The next thing I'd do is pay off my parents' debt. Hell, I'm rich enough I could take care of everyone I know so that they only have to worry about paying their living expenses. There is nothing worse than being in debt. I suppose that's not exactly true. Leprosy might be worse. Having to spend an entire five minutes with Kristin Stewart and not being able to punch her in the face could also be a contender. But still, debt sucks.

After everyone was free and clear, I'd do the whole nice car, nice house, around the world vacation including a long stay in Vegas in the fanciest suite with a private party of Chippendale's dancers just for me and my 80 closest friends, thing. But I'd never let go of Stan (even though he died on my three times last week). Because I know where I come from.

Now that this blog is winding down to an end, I would like to pose an ethical dilemma that always seems to pop up in these hypothetical situations. Say you win one-tenth of $640 million dollars. Do you go to work the next day?

I'm honestly not sure.

I think they've done the drawing already, but I haven't checked if I won yet. I should do that...

So it occurs to me that I don't actually know how this works. I have three of the numbers, but they're not on the same line. What happens if you win one number? And does it have to be in the same place as the drawing? Or can you just have the same numbers? I'm assuming I didn't win anything, but I'm still confused. Oh well. It was fun to dream about being debt free while it lasted!

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