Sunday, March 11, 2007


Last week, I chipped in with several of my co-workers to buy lottery tickets for the mega millions jackpot. We each gave five dollars in the hopes of the six of us procuring the winning number and splitting north of 250 million dollars before taxes. Guess what happened.

We won.

Three Dollars. And that was only on one of the days we bought tickets. We actually each spent five dollars on three separate days as the jackpot stayed in the multiple hundreds of millions all week long. In other words, it seemed worth it to risk 15 dollars and worth it to even recycle the three dollars we'd won into one final ticket this past Friday. I haven't checked the numbers over the weekend or heard from my co-workers but I like to think one of them would have called me if we were about to claim our massive prize.

It wasn't just us. A lot of people in my office bought lottery tickets this week. In groups. Solo. Bunches of tickets at once or just one lucky ticket bought on a hunch. The record-breaking potential lottery winnings galvanized the population and inspired people like myself who don't normally get in on the lottery to give it a whirl. Considering how much fun it was as a group to buy these tickets, I certainly don't question the impulse - no matter how improbable our odds were.

But why don't we do it more often? If 300 million gets us psyched to blow five dollars, how come 40 million doesn't get us down to the grocery store on the regular? Or even two million. I'd be cool with two million dollars. Even paid out over 26 years, I wouldn't kick two million out of bed.

The feeling at work was that 300 million made the experience finally worth it. 40 million? Nah. That's chump change. Put five bucks against an eight-digit prize? You're just throwing money away. Get me deep into nine digits? Maybe we can work something out. The more fantastic the possible outcome, the more seriously people took it. In my group, there was even a hesitation regarding the second ticket purchase when another person wanted to add her five bucks to our buying power. "But then if we win, we'll have to split the jackpot even further..." somebody grumbled. I didn't agree with the sentiment but I admired how realistic our chances had become and how considerate we were being of the outcome.

Another person in our group made the point that if there was ever a time to energize some good karma by sharing our experience, this was it. Excluding possible team members angers the gambling gods. And there were HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars at stake! We had to tread lightly. Just imagine if the person we excluded ended up hitting the jackpot on her own. We'd feel pretty darn foolish watching her collect our HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS. If it were a more pedestrian amount, say 40 million, excluding her would be no big deal. But with the kind of money at hand last week, it was better we could all lose together.


Anonymous dianne said...

Play the lottery? Not a bad idea from time to time, but you don't buy into the propaganda that X amount of the money goes into the school system, do you? They've tried that ploy in every state.

10:28 AM  

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