While issues of gun control, health care and ISIS continue to generate...
“Powerball is up to $1.4 billion!”
Yeah, I’ve heard. It’s pretty hard to read a newspaper or watch television or go on the Internet or have a conversation with another human being without hearing that...
“Powerball is up to $1.5 billion!”
Yup. I saw that, too. That number just keeps climbing, doesn’t it?
“If I win, I’m buying an island, and paying off all my friends’ mortgages and getting a plane and purchasing the Baltimore Orioles and...”
And, getting hit by a lightning bolt while riding an aardvark through a desert while holding a five-pound bag of yogurt-covered emeralds? Because, I’m guessing you have about the same odds.
Look, I get it. I honestly do. It’s fun to mentally transport ourselves to a new “reality,” filled with first-class travel, mansions and giant bags with dollar signs printed on the sides. We get to play that time-tested game of “what-if,” and that always beats another round of “what-is.” Plus, the size of the payout for this recent Powerball drawing is enough to literally impact the economy, depending on who wins it.
Think I’m blowing that out of proportion? What if someone bags that first-place prize and decides to put every last penny into revitilizing a downtrodden neighborhood in Chicago? It would instantly boost the caché of that neighborhood, drawing visitors from around the city, as well as offering another sight for tourists to visit. That could single-handedly improve the general economy of Chicago, while taking from other Midwest cities. Jobs would move. Families would go with those jobs. That leaves a mark.
Or, what if a super-evil genius takes it down? Dude could be sitting at home right now with a ray gun designed to wipe out the world’s water supply and he’s just $800 million away from acquiring that one final ingredient he needs to hold the nation hostage?
Or, “she.” The super-evil genius could definitely be a she. Laura Walter, I’m looking at you.
And, there I go, falling into the same game as everybody else, dreaming about what will happen with that winning lottery booty. It’s actually hard not to get swept up in Powerball Mania, isn’t it? We are inundated with reports concerning the winning prize for this insane drawing, and it’s just human nature to get caught up in it all.
Have you been in any stores recently that sell tickets? Every line has been just a bit longer as people who don’t normally participate in such things are now leaping in for a chance at generational money. I call it “generational” because, well, if you win, your family will be taken care of for generations if you handle it wisely.
And if you don’t handle it wisely...
Yes. Yes, you can burn through that money. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people tell me that they couldn’t spend that much money if they tried. Go ahead and buy that mansion. Buy out everybody’s mortgage that you know. Give a million bucks to all your friends and co-workers. Walk through a door at a Las Vegas casino when everybody on the planet knows you are the one that hit the generational Powerball.
And it might be a good idea to turn off your phones and remove yourself from the world of social media. That girl you had a crush on in first grade will pop up out of nowhere with a sob story, a business idea or the general hint of a chance of her leaving her family just to be by your side. The guy you sat down next to at a bar three years ago that filled your ear for two hours about how he was smarter than everybody else while he dribbled vodka down his shirt? Yeah, he’s calling, too. With a can’t-miss business proposition.
It will miss. Oh, it will miss spectacularly.
And what will you do when your sister or brother or cousin or neighbor calls you and asks for a loan? And all those charities you’re targeting with a big portion of that hit?
Call a financial adviser and a lawyer you trust immediately, if you win. If you don’t know anybody, interview a bunch one-by-one until you find the right person.
I truly hope someone local won this thing Wednesday night after our paper went to press. And, I hope it was me, in all honesty. It would be nice to see some of that Powerball money get spread throughout this community, and some of our local charitable organizations and churches get the help they need so they can help so many others.
But mostly I just hope it hit Wednesday night. I can’t take another three days of talking about Saturday’s drawing.