Pay A Dollar, Get To Dream. Lotto madness is here…
I’ve never played lotto before today. I heard that the Mega Million Jackpot was up to an astounding 540M, and since I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), I was inclined to purchase a ticket.
My younger sister and I actually discussed buying tickets on the train ride into Manhattan this morning. News reporters kept reminding me of the record-breaking potential winnings while I got ready, and so the jackpot was fresh on my mind.
We had some extra time to kill before our meetings so I suggested we stop by a card store in Penn and pick up two tickets. The line was out of the door, with a “Lotto Line Starts Here” sign, and ticket buyers nodded at each other after they made their purchases. I could tell by their hesitancy or lack of “playing knowledge” that most of these people were in the same boat as me; they had never played lotto before but decided that today was the day to give fate a shot.
We all looked at each other smiling, feeling pretty foolish for buying into something that we have basically NO chance at winning, but we’re mostly hopeful.
According to the Mega Million website, the odds of winning are about 1 in 176 million.
People in Starbucks were even comparing their numbers. Mega Million was everywhere.
My sister and I sat down and gazed at the two sets of numbers on the tickets. Playing on fate’s power completely, we decided to let the machine choose our numbers.
Then we started doing what I assume everyone in the country who bought a ticket did; we started discussing what we would do with our winnings. I’d repay my parents for my college education (and then some) and my sister would break into hysterics and probably pass out. Then we thought; would we choose to remain anonymous? You always here these stories of lotto winners going broke because everyone and their mother comes out of the woodwork looking for a handout or an investment, so we decide our financial advisor better be pretty damn good.
How much would we give each family member, how much are they deserving of? A million each? Ten million each? Or does one aunt get nothing because she told one of us off at the dinner table on Christmas? Decisions, decisions.
We talk living situations, work choices, charities and trips around the world. We dream about what we would do if we had the amount of money that gave us the power to make choices solely based on our wants, not our fears or responsibilities.
In that ten-minute discussion I found out more about myself and what my life plan should be, than during the span of 22 years that make up my life. I thought freely, without inhibition. What if? What then? The things important to me becoming clear, the people I value shining through, and those I should probably eliminate or jobs I should quit, slipping to the sidelines. All this insight for just $1.
Now I glance down at my phone and read that the winnings have jumped to a historic $640M, and therefore I’ve got some more dreaming and planning to do.
Do I cash out for an immediate $462M before taxes, or do I take annual payments for 26 years of $24M before taxes?
The funniest part of this whole thing is that we all know we aren’t going to win, but we don’t want to believe it. The few hours of allowed delusion does us well.
So go ahead, buy your ticket. Raise that historic amount even higher. It’s really the only chance you have of making all your dreams come true in a society where hopes, dreams and wants are controlled by money. You’re not going to win, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, right?