You Could Be a Winner, or Could You?

I could be a winner, you don’t know. I have to admit I caught a little Mega Millions hysteria last week and it was not caught and fixed by my Bieber Fever shot or my Manning Mania inoculation. I never know when things are going to jump up and bite me, but last week I started hearing about the Mega Millions and it reignited my lottery fantasy where I marry Vince Vaughn and have four more children, because apparently my eggs are being protected in a time machine, and we live happily ever after.

I do not buy lottery tickets. I just don’t. I’m sure I have once or twice when it gets on my radar and the hysteria happens, but I’m not what you’d call a regular buyer. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought a lottery ticket. Someone once said, Lottery is an idiot tax. I think I heard it from Adam Carolla, but it’s verified by the other 1583859 people who are blogging about the lottery.

My problem is I get obsessive about things, which is also why I’m not good in Vegas. I keep feeling like the next one is going to be the really big one and then the next one and then the next one. I start to sweat and my heart starts racing and I end up with no money. So yes, I could be that idiot standing at the counter buying one scratch-off after another hoping to hit the big one. And you don’t. I mean, obviously someone has to win, right? And that was my thinking last Friday as I took $2 out of the money I find in the dryer and went to the gas station to buy a Mega Millions ticket.

Then this happened:

Me: Hello. How much is a Mega Millions ticket?


Me: No, I’m sorry, how much to buy one?

Him: You’re an idiot that doesn’t deserve to win.

The last part went a little different, but he told me it was either $2 or $1, but didn’t explain the difference and so I gave him my two linty dollars and he gave me one quick pick. I don’t even know the difference between the $1 and $2, and I probably could have bought two of the $1 and it would have been a winner. I don’t even know. And obviously I wasn’t the winner, or was I?

No, I wasn’t. Although I wouldn’t want to tell people. There was a story out not long ago about a couple who wanted to be kept anonymous and the state wouldn’t let them so they declined the lottery money instead of revealing their names. Brilliant. And it depends on the state you’re in whether you have to disclose your name or not. And you only have to see one “How the Lottery Changed My Life” to know you don’t want people to know you won the lottery, right?

I won money once. Yeah, I did. A substantial amount of money. Okay, it was $1,000 in like 1992 and I won the song of the day on the country station here. It was completely a fluke and I’d never want to hear it again because I was a dud. I was at work and there was no yelling or screaming even though it was a lot of money for me. I’m sure I had planned to spend it on something really cool like my rent or electric, but I could have paid my rent three times over for that amount in 1992. I’m telling you, that was a lot of money for me.

So, the minute…nay, the second I told people I won, everyone had a story about how they needed that money. No one was really happy for me. And the WORST was the monkey, who I was just dating at the time, he actually came up with an imaginary surgery that his son needed and he needed $400 to pay for. He was so good, he came up with that on the fly. Well, of course, I had that money, and oh my gosh, I’m an idiot that let him borrow it, except borrowing would have indicated some kind of intent to pay it back. Yeah, not so much. A couple of weeks later I asked the monkey’s mom how the surgery had gone, and she had no idea what I was talking about. RED FLAG!

So there I was with $600, which still isn’t bad and I let someone else borrow $100 although they paid me back, but I didn’t even want to tell people I’d come into any kind of money after that. So take that and multiply it by millions. How many requests would you get to pay off someone’s house or a medical emergency or some other sob story you couldn’t turn down? And what kind of obligation would you be under to help people after you won $640 million or whatever it is after taxes and you split it with two other people?

The girls were freaking out that I bought that ticket. They didn’t want to win, but I think it’s just because Hurley was so cursed after he won. (LOST reference) What, am I going to turn it down? No, but how do you keep yourself grounded with that kind of money? In my previous lottery fantasy where I marry Vince Vaughn (what? that sounds grounded), I take 33% of it and set up a trust or charity where people apply and money is given based on need and a committee of people, sort of like a scholarship. That sounds fair.

And even though I lost our house, I could never imagine asking someone who just won the lottery for money. I was given too much change at a McDonald’s in Kansas a few years back and that extra $16 haunted me so much I had to put it in a red bucket to make things right. And I know someone, actually two people, real people, who’ve won the lottery so I’m probably out of the statistical pool of winners anyway. But somebody has to win, right?


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