Why I Can’t Win Powerball
Yep, I thought about it. I even fantasized about what I would do. I imagined dreaming about lilacs in a field or polka-dotted rainbows instead of the email I forgot to send before I left work. I considered how nice it might be not to wake up on Saturday morning at 4:30 , jump in a panic from the bed, and hop into a shower that hasn’t gotten warm yet before realizing that I had, indeed, already worked my five days in a row. I smiled when I thought about how wonderful life could be without living check-to-check, wondering how I will have enough money to get my oil changed and my brakes fixed after I pay the tuition that keeps my kids half-way competitive in this increasingly high-tech 21st century society.
But when I put my key into the ignition and turned toward home, intent to stop by a gas station to purchase my Powerball ticket, I began to consider what life would really be like if I actually won that $550 million.
Everybody and his mama would know that I had won. Smiling that dumb grin with that big check in hand as the featured human interest story on every local newscast would surely invite a host of past associates and distant relatives into a conversation I never hoped to have. I don’t even remember borrowing that dollar from you to buy a Pop-Tart from the school vending machine when we were in the 9th grade, but apparently, you do, and you hope to capitalize on it, with interest, from my winnings. Or you’re my mother’s third cousin twice removed and are on hard times and really need just the smallest bit of help to get back on your feet, and my winnings could make all your problems go away just like that (you snap your fingers to show how easy it would be). I’d have to move, drop off the grid completely, and sacrifice most familiar contacts because a) people couldn’t handle being my friend or relative without getting money from me (even though they handled it just fine before), or b) people would let some minute detail about my life make it into casual conversation with someone I don’t know, and I’d be kidnapped from my driveway and held for ransom in a smelly, damp basement across town with nothing but an old mop bucket and newspaper for toileting.
Then there are the sickos who I never even met who will decide to sue me over nonsense like browsing too long in the frozen food aisle or sitting in the booth at Red Lobster (yes, I still crave those cheddar biscuits even though I’m rich) too casually. Of course, they know who I am because, again, I’ve been on every news channel and even some basic cable channels. Some idiot at the local court couldn’t just tear up the complaints, so I have to spend part of my winnings fighting ridiculous cases. The judges for a few cases may have mercy on me, but some others are jealous of my financial windfall or bored by the humdrum existence of a low level judge and decide to let the cases linger on, costing me more money.
Oh, let’s not forget the kids. See, everyone will know that I am a newly minted multimillionaire, and my kids will be rich by relation. Some kid or another will spill the beans, and now I’ll be stuck trying to rationalize to them why buying a motorized scooter or medieval sword (a request from the Pirate, obviously) is not appropriate for people under4 feet tall. Or it might be even worse. The playground fights or social ostracizing or fake friends that come along with money would just break my heart. Or worse yet, the heroin addiction in the 7th grade or Lamborghini crash into the back of a parked police car at 16 would cost a fortune to clean up.
I bypass the last gas-station before turning onto my block. “My life isn’t so bad,” I muse as I pull into the garage. I walk into the house, seeing the mud the dog dragged into the kitchen, seeing the clothes that still need to be washed spilling out of the hamper, seeing the mural the kids decided to draw on their bedroom wall with my lipstick and permanent markers.
“All I need is a good ten million dollar jackpot!”