Author’s Note: My website was down for a week, which delayed this post. Welcome back, blog take six! 🙂
The recent record-breaking Powerball lottery—along with all of the discussions both online and off regarding what someone would do for or with a billion dollars—brought to my mind several thoughts and observations.
You can look at the event from the downside, in that the brisk ticket sales and media frenzy portrayed millions of Americans, and some neighboring Canadians, as collectively dissatisfied with their lives and somehow believing that an obscene amount of money would provide a cure for that.
Or perhaps, in a more positive light, it meant that people saw that influx of cash as a way to help their families, their communities, and their favorite causes in a big way.
It definitely captured a sort of endearing sense of optimism in that, despite the tremendous odds against winning, ticket buyers who might otherwise hold cynical outlooks on life still believed in possibilities—that their dollar had as much chance as everyone else’s to claim the golden ticket.
Facebook, of course, became riddled with “what would you do if…” discussions. I was somewhat bemused by the number of people who said they’d buy their own island if they won. Personally, I think that living on a small island would be a pain in the ass. I mean, every time you need groceries or prescription refills, you’d have to take a boat to the mainland, right? How about getting your mail? OK, you can have them brought to you, but still…
What about internet access? A life with no movies, no downloadable books, no seeing your friends and relatives and adorable cat videos online? Unh-uh, not me. I’ve grown terribly fond of having a world of information, news and entertainment at my fingertips.
Besides, I’m much too social a bring to seclude myself on an otherwise unpopulated chunk of land.
Then there were the inane surveys: what body part would you give up for big bucks, or what criminal, immoral or simply stupid act would you commit in order to become instantly, insanely rich? I found some of the responses, as well as the percentages of respondents who concurred, somewhat troubling to say the least. One local radio disc jockey who claimed he would give up a pinky finger made me think, though. I suppose I could live a full and complete (not to mention insanely rich) life without a baby toe. I’m only half kidding.
Yes, I admit I did purchase Powerball tickets myself, before one of the drawings, helping to push the jackpot over the billion dollar mark. I really don’t know why, as I never play other lotteries, only occasionally buy scratch off tickets, and don’t really like casinos all that much. Maybe I wanted to be a part of the news story, the historic jackpot. Maybe I liked toying with the idea of going to Ireland with my sister, buying that beach house for me and John, giving generously to small, struggling charities doing great things, and making sure that my siblings, nephews, nieces and close friends never had to worry about finances again.
But would I really want the weighty responsibility of managing that much money, had I won? I can’t imagine the impact such an enormous windfall would have on my life, my relationships. I can’t imagine that all of the impacts would be good.
Which I guess is a good thing. No, strike that—I know it is. It means I’m not so dissatisfied with my life as it is right now after all. I like most of it just fine, as a matter of fact. And the parts I’d like to change don’t require a billion dollars.
What a wonderful realization.
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