Wednesday, January 13th: Judgment Day. Every man, woman, and man-child is gathered around an HDTV, watching a channel they probably don’t have in HD, counting down the minutes until 9:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time.) Earlier in the week, people that never played the lottery before were rushing to convenient stores. They’re clutching their tickets, hoping that the machine spat out lucky numbers, or they’ve played the same numbers they always do, optimistically hoping that tonight the numbers will match what their mind has been telling them for years. Most have already planned their lives out, from how they’ll walk out of their job to their first purchase to their generated response when estranged relatives spontaneously visit. Some have decided to give their money away, something that’s easy to do when you don’t actually have the money. Some, smartly, will get a lawyer and an accountant, and systematically dissipate from their old existence.
There’s a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning big. 1.3 Billion dollars big. 1/20th the net worth of one of the Walton children, and whoever wins tomorrow night will be equally as deserving.
But before leaving your old life and buying that yacht or that beach house or that Lambo, you got to rid yourself of your old debts, of course. School loans, mortgage, car payments. Some people probably think that they would be able to continue their normal life, just 800 million dollars richer. Every person that entered your life will expect something. You don’t think you could have done this all on your own, someone with no concept of the word ‘lottery’ might say, trying not to explicitly say “Money, please.”
I will be playing tomorrow. I never play the lottery. I will buy several numbers and go to work, daydreaming about my new life as an instant billionaire (excluding taxes). My thoughts will shift between elation and apprehension, ecstatic about what I could do with that kind of money and apprehensive if I actually did win it. If I did win, I would pay my student loans first. As for giving money, I would commit to giving to immediate family, and even that will likely get messy.
Tomorrow, someone’s life will be simultaneously lifted and ruined. Someone will essentially become a superhero. Tomorrow, America will tune out the world around them, only to be reprogrammed by a guy in a tuxedo with a slow jazz background.
Author’s Note: For posterity, the winning numbers will be 6-16-25-31-44. The Powerball will be 9.