I know there’s a 1 in 176 million chance of winning today’s record-breaking Mega Millions lottery for $500 640 million, but there’s something about buying that ticket (or multiple tickets) that really makes you think it’s going to be you.
Naysayers are mostly talking about how the odds are impossibly against you. “You are not going to win the lottery. Your lucky numbers are not going to hit. Your quick pick is not going to be special winner. Your investment in lottery tickets is not going to pay off,” writes Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan. According to one stat, imagine you have a friend in Canada and put that friend’s name in a container with the names of everyone else in Canada. You have a 5 times greater chance of choosing your friend’s name than winning this lottery.
But while so many writers are talking about the crazies who think they can win big, fewer are talking about the camaraderie this brings to our city and others. Where I work, for example, everyone is bonding over our office pool. Even my FedEx delivery man said “of course” he bought his ticket, and added, “See you Monday. Or hopefully not.” As one of my friends tweeted, “Lotto talk is on par with weather talk this week.”
Actually winning an amount this big might not be so great anyway. Since this is a record-breaking sum, the winner or winners will no doubt be immediately thrust into the public eye. It is 2012, after all. They will have to abandon social media, hire security, and appoint the best economic advisers. For the rest of their lives, they will have to go into seclusion, forever wary of relationships with others who may just want a slice of the cake. Where’s the fun in that? Maybe the conversation this brings around the watercooler today really is the best part.
But when I do win – and I’m pretty confident that I will – I’ll move to the south of France and start dressing like mid-’90s Michael Jackson. So if I suddenly stop posting on here, you’ll know why.