I happened to be in line Sunday at a convenience store, and the man and woman in line ahead of me were buying lottery tickets. She had ordered a Megamillions ticket, and when the clerk handed it to her, she said, “Is this all it’s good for?”
The clerk told her she could win a lot of money — many millions, I couldn’t quite understand what he said.
And she said, “If I had known this was all it was good for, I wouldn’t have bought it.”
I certainly don’t wish this nice lady any ill luck, but I imagine it didn’t matter how much the winnings would have been. She wasn’t going to be the winner.
And she probably knew that, as did millions of others who bought chances on the jackpot.
But that lottery ticket was buying her a chance to do some heavy-duty daydreaming.
I know the feeling. A few weeks ago, the Megamillions jackpot was nearly $500 million. The people in our office were drooling over that jackpot, and I have to admit I was, too. The people in the office pooled their money, and one went to buy lottery tickets. If one of the tickets had won the jackpot — or anything, for that matter — the money would have been divided among those who chipped in.
Eventually, some people somewhere in the eastern U.S. won the big pot, and that was that. But before we knew there had been a winner, I found myself wondering what I would have done with my share of all that money. That daydreaming was a bit of harmless fun. The $10 I put into the pot over two weeks’ time wasn’t doing any harm to our family, and I was able for a while to close my eyes and think about Mrs. Doud and I vacationing in the Mediterranean or in Sweden.
I merely shrugged when I learned we didn’t win.
But a day later, here came the office lottery lady and handed us each $8. We actually had won one of the low-level prizes. It wouldn’t buy very much, but we could chalk up a win. I’m still carrying that money around, saving it for something special. Maybe another lottery ticket.