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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Inspiration and the Lottery

I have to credit Squatlo for this inspiration. Normally I don't do that, no matter how good the idea or the odds of getting caught and publicly embarrassed. I don't know where he found it, but it was the first time I saw it.
Once in a while I will buy a lottery ticket, or "stupidity tax," for the sole purpose of having a great daydream or fantasy for a couple of days about what I would do with all that money. Mostly the fun ways to give it away. I mean, seriously, how much does it take to have all you need and most of what you want? So what do you do with the rest? Park shiny new cars in your friends' driveways? Permanently fund the local animal shelter? Make sure the local food shelf never runs low and the homeless shelter never runs out of heat or blankets?

Usually, there is plenty to do all that, but now the amount is getting up into the territory where you could help the Gates Foundation eradicate disease on a worldwide basis or see to it that everyone on the planet has clean water to drink. The possibilities are endless. The TV news people tell you how many yachts or private jets you could own or mansions with swimming pools (cement ponds if you are from rural America) you could live in all at the same time while dropping in to visit your friends in your private helicopter. Heck, you could probably pay Donald Trump enough to get him to shut up! That in itself could earn you the respect of tens of millions of Americans.

Seeing as how this is America with our second amendment an all, you could start a gun ownership charity for all those who can't afford to buy guns on their own. Everyone could have the handgun of their choice and an assault weapon with 10,000 rounds of their favorite ammunition. I would set these up in our inner cities and poor rural areas so that everyone could protect themselves from the tyranny of the government or any uppity neighbors that got on their nerves. Yup, the things you could do with enough money.

Then the next drawing comes, the inevitable disappointment comes with it, and your dreams blow away like a bubble.


Or maybe more like the Hindenburg if you were really expecting to win this time. 
That is why it is best not to take this all too seriously. The odds of 292 million to 1 are pretty long. In poker betting on pulling the fifth card to an inside straight is 7 to 1 and is considered a poor bet. No, your odds are the equivalent of getting struck by lightening while walking down the street in a blizzard dressed in shorts and flip flops while singing the second verse of  the Star Spangled Banner while visiting Honolulu. Or worse.

Maybe it would be better to try a different way of getting "free" money. How about a research project to determine whether or not money can buy happiness and just how much it would take to see if it does. Starting a gofundme or kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this very important research is a distinct possibility. Sure, it may take a bit of chutzpah to put it out there as a sincere and genuine project, but think of the benefits to mankind. We would finally be able to prove or disprove the notion that money can't buy happiness. For a five dollar donation I could send the results upon completion of the research. For a twenty dollar donation I would print out an official looking certificate stating the results. Of course, if I can't raise enough to find an answer the "investors" will be out of luck, but that is venture capitalism for you. You win some, but mostly you lose.

They say the next Powerball drawing will be worth around a billion dollars. Will I waste another 2 dollars in the effort to make someone else rich? It's too early to tell.
 


26 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

No matter how impossibly long the odds are, it remains equally true that you CANNOT win if you don't have a ticket. So buy one (one only!) and dream on!

anne marie in philly said...

I don't buy into this hype, but spouse does. one ticket. meh.

Pixel Peeper said...

Hahaha...one of my relatives posted that same image (How to Read Your Losing Powerball Ticket) on Facebook this morning.

I have to admit we bought a ticket. It's kind of fun to dream about quitting my job and buying a condo in the places where my two older sons live with their families. And one condo in Munich, just for visits to Germany. But then? You're right...how many cameras could one possibly use?

Shammickite said...

The whole concept of that much money is completely beyond my understanding. Here in Canada we have numerous lotteries but never with a humungous jackpot like that! I bought one lottery ticket 2 years ago and didn't win so that's it for me, can't afford to waste any more of my hard earned pension money.... but wait a minnit.... the jackpot has gone up... well, maybe.... ummm... Ok I'm off to the corner store with my money.

Janie Junebug said...

I've never purchased a lottery ticket. I call the lottery "the poor people's tax." Someone gave me two scratch-off tickets for Christmas one year. She had to show me what to do with them. The great thing about having all that money would be giving it away.

Love,
Janie

jenny_o said...

I'm not at all sure I'd want to win. I've heard so many stories about people who were hounded by strangers for handouts - it would drive me crazy to say no but also drive me crazy that people would be so brazen. And stories about people who blew it all and ended up worse off than before they won. Games of chance are not for me!

Jono said...

Debra, From a mathematical standpoint the odds of winning are essentially the same whether you buy one or not.

anne marie, Well, someone has to contribute to get those jackpots up there. Two dollars a couple of times a year is no big deal, but a twenty dollar a week habit could be noticeable.

Pixel Peeper, How many cameras? One in each hand and a couple around your neck and then your Sherpa can carry quite a few, too.

Shammickite, A couple of bucks once in a while really doesn't seem like much to throw away.

Janie, A couple of guys at work do the scratch off thing. I have no idea how they work, either.

jenny_o, I am pretty sure winning the lottery has a curse attached. It would be such a dramatic change that adapting may be nearly impossible. That's why giving it all away would seem like a solution, albeit a complicated one, might save one from total ruin.

Agi Tater said...

It's fun to dream. And probably worth a couple of bucks on occasion.

Bill the Butcher said...

What you should do is invent the submarine Nautilus and go on a 20000 league cruise under the sea. Remember what Captain Nemo said to Professor Arronax ? "(I am)(i)mmensely wealthy, sir. I could, without missing it, pay the national debt of France."

Don't know how many read Verne these days, though.

Sioux said...

Yeah, but eventually someone is going to win... (said someone who has only bought one lottery ticket in her life)

Elephant's Child said...

As usual, I am with jenny_o. I don't want it. I don't know what I would do with a humungous amount of money and it would worry me. Since I don't buy tickets, this is one problem I will not face.
Mind you, paying the Donald to be quiet (and a few of his cousins over here) would be money well spent. Very well spent.

Gia said...

It's a billion dollars - you gotta play that! I need to figure out where they even sell tickets near me. (Hate going to stores. So lazy.)

Jono said...

Agi, It really only has some entertainment value for some people. Reality makes it an impossible dream.

Bill, Mr. Verne had a wonderful and entertaining look at the possibilities along with memorable characters. I honestly don't know if he is still popular, but he should be.

Sioux, Somebody is definitely not you or me.

EC, There are better ways to spend the money you are not using to pay the stupidity tax.

Gia, Save your energy and money for something worthwhile, like a cup of coffee.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Amusing, realistic break-down of the numbers. I also like your term "stupidity tax." But hey, everyone buying a ticket pays a stupidity tax, and a few of those stupid people do win. Might as well keep buying tickets so that the other stupid people can stay stupid and get filthy rich in the process. Right?

Jono said...

Robyn, Your ability to cut through to assess the situation with your flawless thought processes never fails to enlighten me. Right!

Donna Banta said...

Good luck!! - Baby needs new shoes...

Diane Henders said...

Ha! "How to read your losing Powerball ticket" - that was good for a laugh! Being Canajen, the best chance we get is a paltry 50 million or so - hardly worth the trouble of buying a ticket, right?

I don't scoff too loudly at the lottery, though - the tickets make great Christmas gifts. I enclose a couple of lottery tickets along with my employees' bonus cheques, with a note: "One of these may be worth more than the other..." ;-)

Gorilla Bananas said...

So they let the pot increase to one billion instead of having 100 people win 10 million bucks? There must be a lot of greedy people out there! How much do think it would cost to hire someone to follow you around every day kissing your ass? I think you could probably afford it with 10 million dollars.

Jono said...

Donna, That's what I always say when I'm shooting craps in the alley with the boys.

Diane, I'm pretty sure I could squeak by with 50 million if I were careful. The truth is that I buy lottery tickets at the rate of about one every three years. I won $4 once.

GB, They might actually generate more ticket sales if they did that, but in this "I've got mine so screw you" culture I live in it may not happen. Sharing and caring is socialist and we can't have that.

Shammickite said...

Well, the results are in, I guess you're not the lucky winner?

Jono said...

Shammickite, I was just about to click "buy" on tickets to New Zealand when I got the bad news. It would have been a lovely vacation.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Yes, assault rifles for all! And to celebrate, we should all gather in tight quarters and fire up into the air jovially.

The Blog Fodder said...

How much of it will be left after tax? If you win in Canada it is tax free at least. I used to buy the odd 649 ticket when the jackpot was $20 million. Anything under that wasn't worth the hassle.

Riot Kitty said...

A friend of mine used to head up the lottery commission here. In that position, he was quoted as saying, "If you don't buy a ticket, your odds are about the same as winning a jackpot as if you had bought a ticket."

Jono said...

ABFTS, Then we can finalize our joining with the rest of the third world.

Blog Fodder, Heck, I'd be deliriously happy if I got $100!

Riot Kitty, The fact that someone does win once in a while doesn't change the odds at all. Winning is somewhere between extremely impossible to insanely impossible.

Sharon said...

I won 1000 Norwegian kroner once from a lottery ticket I got for free haha