The odds are certainly against us. There is a greater chance of getting attacked by a shark (at the grocery store) than winning the lottery.
The guy running the convenient store laughed to himself as he doled out lottery tickets to a line of people. When I asked what was so funny, he shook his head and said, "It's always like this when the jackpot is high."
"Everyone turns their nose up at $50 million, but if it's really high, they'll be lining out the door," he said. "It's funny to me, like they only care if they can be billionaires, not millionaires."
I nodded, he had a point. Then we stood there looking at each other. And I slid $4 across the counter. "Two lotto tickets, please."
Lottery fever is spreading. The odds are certainly against us. There is a greater chance of getting attacked by a shark (at the grocery store) than winning the lottery. And I am one of those people who only buy a ticket when the jackpot is high enough to dominate the news. I'm not sure why, it's just fun to be a part of the excitement, I guess.
As my wife and I talked about the rising jackpot one night, my 6-year-old excitedly chimed in that she wanted to play the lotto, too. My wife informed her that she was too young to play.
"But it sounds like fun, I want to play," she pleaded.
I reached in my pocket, pulled out my ticket and handed it her. "There," I said. "You are officially playing the lottery."
She looked at the ticket and contorted her face. "This isn't fun," she sighed. She's used to the scratch off lottery tickets we sometimes get in our stockings at Christmas. She likes scratching them off and finding out if she won. What she doesn't realize it that all of those winners usually end up on my dresser indefinitely because I forget to cash them in.
"No, it's not fun," I replied. "It's basically like crumbling up $2 and throwing it in the trash can. ... Unless we win.
"The thrill of it is thinking about what you would do with all of that money," I added. "And that gives you a little escape."
She informed me that if she won, she'd probably buy one toy for her and one for her little sister. My 3-year-old pumped her fist.
When they asked what I would buy, I told them nothing too extravagant. "I'd just buy a motorcycle that fits in a truck which fits in a bigger truck that loads onto a bus which fits into a series of bigger and bigger boats that fit into a large airplane. Then, we'd fly that airplane to a private island made of candy. We'll call it Candy Island."
They liked this idea, "even though it's pretty silly."
When my neighbors asked what I'd do, I told them I'd smite my enemies. I don't really have enemies, but it was a funny thing to say. And aside from paying some bills, I don't know what I do with all that money. Probably give it all away, after I gold-plated everything first, of course.
But I bought a ticket anyway, I even filled out my own numbers, picking birthdays and other important dates. And I got none of the numbers correct.
Winning the lottery may solve some problems; but if you aren't happy now, then you probably won't be happy later. That's what is really important.
Though, the conversation and a little day dreaming is worth the $2.
Reach Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-580-8490. On Twitter: @DaveManley