Last year during a Mega Millions drawing, I bought my first (and probably last) lottery ticket ever. I’m not much of a gambler, for what I believe are good reasons:
- Any money I have I like to keep in my pocket
- I have terrible luck. Yes I believe in luck, I’m genetically programmed that way (partial-Irish heritage).
You can tell by my day job and indifferent way of dressing I did not win the Mega Millions that year. I haven’t played since then, and I don’t really intend to play in the future.
However, my husband and I occasionally ask each other what we would do if either of us won the lottery – it’s one of our favorite hypothetical games.
[Other typical questions of the hypothetical game: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? If you could be one animal other than a human, what would you be? If I died first, would you remarry? These questions keep a marriage fresh, especially when your answers change as often as mine do.]*
So the other night, he posed the lottery question again. My answer was “Save it all. No, invest it so it would become more money…then…do some good things with it.” Clearly I’m trying to be impressive here in a wishing-for-more-wishes and being-philanthropic manner – a real answer would have first included a new car, new house, new furniture, and a tour of the Mediterranean. In my defense, he did ask the question while I was in the middle of a strenuous workout, so clearly I wasn’t focused.
Mike always has a smarter answer to this hypothetical question than I do.
“I’d make some safe investments, create and stick to a budget so if anything were to happen I could live off the interest. Then I’d take care of our families.”
Damn. That’s what I was going to say.
I paused the workout video and we speculated about how it would change our lives and the lives of those around us, how it would affect our careers. I won’t go into too much detail here about his other answers – I’d hate to give away our master plan to take control of world finance and eventually buy a fútbol stadium in Portugal – but I have no qualms discussing my solo hypothetical lottery ambitions.
Mike: “Would you still work?”
Natalie: “Yea! Only, I’d just write and paint full-time, and do community theatre part-time. So this may-or-may-not include getting paid.”
Mike: “So, no, then?”
[Just kidding, he didn't say that. Although I was half expecting it.]
Mike has often said he wouldn’t want to win the lottery because of how it can ruin people’s lives: friendships lost, poor financial planning, bankruptcy, greed, envy, suicide.
Either he’s a better person than I am, or I am just more optimistic that we will be smart with our hypothetical lottery money. None of this frittering it away on jets and yachts and expensive cosmetic surgeries. I’d like to think I’d still be me – except with more books. In fact, a library of books.
My very own library.
What would you do with your hypothetical lottery winnings? And no bullshit answers, like “do good things with it” – you can be real with me. Tell me if you want to buy a Tardis or a wax statue of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. I don’t judge.
*Current answers to above hypothetical questions: San Francisco, unicorn, no. Answers subject to change without notice.