I do not know which human trait I find more fascinating, hope or greed. Needless to say, with the Megamillions jackpot now well over one-half a billion dollars; I have witnessed the entire spectrum of my fellow man’s psyche. Before we go any further, no, this is not an armchair judgment of the human condition! Having just bought my fair share of lottery tickets; I am no longer an observer, but instead I am officially part of the condition. It is now safe to check “fair disclosure” off of my pre-blog posting to-do list!
The expected media frenzy around this record-breaking lottery payout has inundated us all. This morning, as I went through my early morning ritual, the national news program on the television ran at least fifteen minutes of Megamillions news stories. For a moment I had to entertain the thought that perhaps there were no newsworthy events anywhere in the world last night.
Risking the possibility that I might end up being late for work; I sat on the edge of the bed, transfixed by the large television screen. There were the segments that reminded us just how random the lottery is and how we have a better chance of a house landing on us then we do winning. Inevitably we were subjected to the stories of past winners who are now living on the streets, victims of poor investments and scams. Finally, in totally predictable network fashion, we were treated to a variety of “man-on-the-streets” clips where the subject was thoroughly convinced that they were going to be the winner.
It was the last segment of the news that was still on my mind as I bounced down the stairs to the kitchen. Pouring a fresh cup of coffee and taking a moment to pay homage to my faithful hound dog; I looked out the sliding door window to take in a magnificent sunrise. It was going to be another beautiful day, especially for the fortunate soul who won the Megamillions jackpot later in the day. Maybe it would even be me!
There are a million tickets for the lottery being sold every hour. That calculates out to almost 300 tickets per second! Apparently the $540 million jackpot has everybody willing to risk a few dollars. I am always amazed that the public is willing to gamble $1 when the jackpot gets so large, but would not do so if the payout was say a measly $20 million. I am hard pressed to believe that none of us would accept that lesser amount!
I am captivated by all of the individuals out there who have a system for picking the winning numbers. Combinations of important life dates make up some formulas, while the mathematically inclined are looking at how many times each number has been historically drawn. Some of us who prefer more sophisticated science simply rely on the “Quick Pick!” A lottery is the epitome of randomized chance; yet almost all of us discover an instant faith when the payoff is so huge! We actually become believers in our own destiny. Some of us even acknowledge that a higher power might be at play!
Finally, I am enthralled by the plans that the “sure winners” have already made for their winnings! This morning I heard a steelworker state that he would pay off the mortgages for each of his siblings. An older southern woman pledged to pay for all of her dozen or so grandchildren’s college educations. Then there was the cosmopolitan young lady who intended set up a charitable trust and spend all of her time volunteering for global causes! Amazingly enough, it appears that nobody is going to bankroll their millions, purchase their own private island, and live a glorious life of self-imposed ignorant bliss!
There is more than one guaranteed winner in tonight’s Megamillions lottery drawing. You may find yourself agreeing that such a large jackpot means more tickets purchased; and more tickets bought increases the odds of several winners. That logical argument is true, but I propose that there could be millions of winners tonight!
Take a moment to think about what you would do with $540 million; that is, after hiring a good attorney and an honest accountant. The recurring theme that I am seeing is a sense of doing good. Everyone has pledged to do their part for charity, take care of their families, and live a life filled with new-found security. In short, the very best to be found in humanity has miraculously emerged!
I promised to reveal who the winner in tonight’s Megamillions lottery will be, and I do not want to disappoint. All across our vast country tonight, millions will watch in eager anticipation only to find out that their prophetic six numbers were not called out. For a moment they will know the pain of sheer disappointment. But it will be those who hang onto their well intentions that will be the true winners.
Sure, a half-billion dollars goes a long way towards improving our world, family, and friends. But so too does the $5 check to a worthy charity, helping out a relative with their yard work, and taking a good friend to coffee for no reason whatsoever. Those individuals who clutch onto the “do good in the world” mentality will be the true winners tonight.
Bought your Megamillions ticket yet? I can think of 540 million immediate reasons to do so. Better yet, I can think of one long-term reason to do so as well!