OK, I have a confession to make: I actually bought a Powerball Lottery ticket a few days ago. I mean, the payout was gonna be over $700 Million. So I’m a fucking hypocrite alright! Like Walt Whitman once wrote: “I am large- I contain multitudes. Do I contradict myself, very well, I contradict myself.”
I know, I know, I tend to rant about not lusting after material things on this blog, but there’s also a side of me that’s just inherently lazy. “By GOD”, I thought, “if I won $700 Million, I wouldn’t have to work again ever!” Now that’s an appealing thought right there. “What else could I do with all that dough?”, I continued to muse, “travel the world, help out my mom, pay the ransom for all those Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram… Gosh, even run for President. Look out Mr. Trump- I’m coming for you in 2020!”
Sure, a few weekends of wearing bespoke suits, showing up like a baller in my Ferrari to some trendy club, bottle service in the VIP room with a couple Victoria’s Secret models at my beck and call. I won’t lie, it would be fun to experience it just a few times in my life. Just to act like a complete douchebag and everyone still kisses your ass. I’ve always wanted to be an arrogant dick!
But the travel would appeal to me the most. There wouldn’t be any country I wouldn’t have the funds and the TIME to visit. Hell, I could even fly 1st Class to any destination I wanted. No listening to screaming babies for 10 hours, complementary champagne, plenty of leg room on those oh so comfy looking lazyboy recliners. There’s even a polyester drawstring curtain to separate you from the unwashed hoi polloi!
Once comfortably ensconced in Dubai after my refreshing flight across the Atlantic, I could purchase my own mini island right next to David Beckham. Then, on to Dim Sum overlooking the skyline in Hong Kong, camel rides around the Pyramids of Egypt, endangered White Rhino hunting in Tanzania- the world would truly become my oyster. And that stuffed rhino head sure would look nifty mounted up on the walls of my Scottish hunting lodge.
Of course I didn’t win, but there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming is there?
Honestly, I think if I really did win the lottery, after the initial excitement of showing up to work in my bathrobe and giving my boss the middle finger, I’d probably get bored real quick. I mean, I’m an active person- I always need something to do. While the rest of my poor friends are still out working, I’d just be at home. There’d be no one to hang out with. What’s the point of having all these fun experiences if you have no one to share them with, right? Sounds like a lonely existence really.
Plus, traveling all the time would get tiring. I think the longest continuous backpacking trip I ever did was for four months (South America). This was seeing a new town, getting on a bus all night, staying in a noisy hostel and then doing it all over again a few days later. By the end of my trip, I was frazzled. I’d seen a lot, but don’t think I’d do it again. Rather than burning the candle at both ends trying to see everything, I’d rather stay in one city or country at this point. And again, I’d probably just miss my family, friends and cozy apartment- at least for a little while.
Then there’s these real life examples of Lottery Winners who let all that cash get the best of them:
- Billie Bob Harrell, Jr.: $31 million. Texas, 1997. As of 1999: Committed suicide in the wake of incessant requests for money from friends and family. “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
- William Bud Post: $16.2 million, Pennsylvania. 1988. In 1989: Brother hires a contract murderer to kill him and his sixth wife. Landlady sued for portion of the jackpot. Convicted of assault for firing a gun at a debt collector. Declared bankruptcy. Dead in 2006.
- Evelyn Adams: $5.4 million (won TWICE 1985, 1986). As of 2001: Poor and living in a trailer. Gave away and gambled most of her fortune.
- Suzanne Mullins: $4.2 million. Virginia, 1993. As of 2004: No assets left.
- Shefik Tallmadge: $6.7 million. Arizona, 1988. As of 2005: Declared bankruptcy.
- Thomas Strong: $3 million. Texas,1993. As of 2006: Died in a shoot-out with police.
- Victoria Zell: $11 million. 2001, Minnesota. As of 2006: Broke. Serving seven year sentence for vehicular manslaughter.
- Karen Cohen: $1 million. Illinois, 1984. As of 2000: Filed for bankruptcy. As of 2006: Sentenced to 22 months for lying to federal bankruptcy court.
- Jeffrey Dampier: $20 million. Illinois, 1996. As of 2006: Kidnapped and murdered by own sister-in-law.
- Ed Gildein: $8.8 million. Texas, 1993. As of 2003: Dead. Wife saddled with his debts. As of 2005: Wife sued by her own daughter who claimed that she was taking money from a trust fund and squandering cash in Las Vegas.
- Willie Hurt: $3.1 million. Michigan, 1989. As of 1991: Addicted to cocaine. Divorced. Broke. Indicted for murder.
- Michael Klingebiel: $2 million. As of 1998 sued by own mother claiming he failed to share the jackpot with her.
- Janite Lee: $18 million. 1993, Missouri. As of 2001: Filed for bankruptcy with $700 in assets.
Or how about this fine upstanding young chap? Dude used to snort cocaine through the casing of a solid gold pen, then he ended up living homeless in the forest. The harder they come…
Michael Carroll, 30, dubbed the 'lotto lout' after he squandered a £10million win, says he 'loves it' at his new job at a biscuit factory in Elgin, Morayshire
Seems like winning the Powerball isn’t all it’s cracked up to be I guess. Perhaps there’s something about complete and total freedom and an absence of limits in a consequence free environment that leaves us a humans slightly unhinged. Even the best of us would probably lose our sense of reality- or at the very least our family members end up trying to sue, kidnap or kill us. Let’s put that “blood is thicker than water” canard to rest.
So, what can we conclude from today’s post and my own pitiful confession of superficial weakness? Try to be satisfied with what you have, right? Or maybe: Be careful what you wish for. As some of these examples have shown, money certainly doesn’t buy you happiness. Though daydreaming about it just might…