golden dollar signs

Did You Catch Lottery Fever?

I did. When the Mega Millions jackpot climbed over one billion dollars, I pulled two one-dollar bills out of my wallet, fed them into the machine, and tucked that ticket into my…let’s just say a safe place. (I won’t divulge the details. I may stash another ticket there in the future.)

Did I win? Of course not. You’ve seen the odds. I didn’t even match ONE number. I was not hit by lightning either. You might consider that a win. (Although staying indoors during thunderstorms skews that statistic in my favor.)

Watching the Numbers

Even though I don’t buy lottery tickets every week, I do glance at the electronic signboard. As the numbers grow to three digits, my latent lottery virus activates. When the prize exceeds two hundred million, I itch to get in on the action. When the pay-off reaches the record levels of October 23, 2018, (I’m not kidding-check out the press release)  I break into a cold sweat and forget the odds are stacked against me.

What would I do with all that cash?

That is the question that spikes my fever. Common sense and frugal thoughts flee into Willy Wonka’s land of pure imagination.

  • I could buy a private jet and hire a pilot. (I’d visit my family or go on vacation whenever I wanted-no waiting in security lines, no airport layovers.)
  • I could hire a personal staff. (I’d have a stylist, a hairdresser, a personal trainer, a chef, an editorial staff, as well as media consultants and tech experts.)
  • I could become a philanthropist and support worthy causes. (Everyone says this, but I mean it. I really, really do. However, I reserve the right to determine which causes are worthy.)
  • I would never worry about money again. (Wishful thinking?)

Media coverage flames my fantasies

Daily news footage features long lines of people waiting to buy tickets. Advice is given about how to safeguard newfound riches. Interviews showcase ordinary folks with extraordinary dreams.

Some media stories during the recent lottery craziness included:

I don’t have a strong enough immune system to withstand all that hype and inevitably I catch the viral delusion.

The winner could be ME.

The next thing I know, I’m in front of the lottery machine with dollar bills clutched in my hand. (Actually, I didn’t clutch them. I smoothed them so the machine wouldn’t spit them back out.)

Aren’t big dreams worth a few dollars?

Others may recognize and respect the infinitesimal odds and spend their two dollars with more wisdom. I guess I could’ve added mine to a piggy bank or bought a candy bar. However, when I splurge on my jackpot-winning dream, I transform into Scrooge McDuck and spend a few days swimming in my imaginary vault of gold coins. That’s worth a couple bucks to me.

Is my lottery fantasy any different from my publishing dream? Those odds can’t be that great either. (Hey, I’ve been watching my blog stats, at this rate I’ll likely win the lottery before I hit the bestseller list.) I’ve heard it said that the top ten percent of the authors pull in ninety percent of book sales. I don’t let that grim statistic stop me from writing.

The inevitable dream-crushing day arrives

On October 23, someone in South Carolina ended up with a lot of money. (I wanted to write MY money, but I guess I didn’t pick the winning numbers.)

In total, there were 15,750,013 winning tickets Tuesday night in addition to the jackpot winner. In this 26-draw jackpot run, beginning with the July 27 drawing there were more than 50.2 million winning tickets at all prize levels, including 85 worth $1 million or more and the jackpot winner.

As I said I didn’t claim any of those prizes, so my lottery fever has gone into remission. Even though I still wish I’d won, (don’t you?) this article in The Seattle Times consoled me (a little).

I don’t buy lottery tickets weekly or even monthly. My infection only seems to flare up when prize amounts soar. As lottery fever goes, I must have caught a fairly mild case. (I might play more often if-even occasionally-I won back my two dollars.) So until the next huge jackpot, I will likely remain symptom and ticket free. But when it does, you can bet I’ll be back in line.

What would you do if you won the lottery? Share in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Did You Catch Lottery Fever?”

  1. I think we all dream of winning it big. A full-time editor is high on my list. (And yes, I already have her picked out. I have a marketing person all lined up, too.) But after that…I think my dreams begin to fade. I’d move closer to the beach, but probably not into a huge mansion. I would want a cleaning staff and someone to bring me food. Then I’d sit on my deck and write while looking at the ocean. I might stop doing the really hard website coding that I do, but I’m not even sure about that. I actually enjoy the insanity.
    Your publication dream is much more attainable than winning the lottery. Will you hit the NYT list? That can be a bit harder. And believe me…everyone’s stats start out just where yours are now.
    A few years ago, I thought more seriously about what I’d do if I won a ton of money. Then I thought, “what can I do to have that now?” I have forgiven myself for not being the best housekeeper, and my family seems content with the current disaster level. We don’t have a chef, but we have an instant pot. And in a pinch, my husband is an amazing cook. I help small causes when I can (ever buy a sheep for someone?). And I work while looking out my window into a field. When I need the ocean, I take my phone down to the beach and work there for a bit.
    It’s not a billion dollars, but I find it helps me.
    Some days, I look at Sisterhood and wish my sales numbers were better, but then I think about people who have never finished even one, and I feel a tiny bit better.
    Sadly, I haven’t finished my latest novel…but I am making headway on the evil coding projects!

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