You’re not playing Mega Millions? What’s the matter with you?

You’re not playing Mega Millions? What’s the matter with you?

Yeah, yeah. I know. We’ve all heard the odds. Your chances of winning the $550 million dollar jackpot (or whatever it's up to right now) is the same as getting a seat on the westbound number 80 Irving Park bus at 3pm on a school day.

But someone’s got to win.

Is there anyone out there who isn’t, at the very least, in love with the idea of dreaming about having all that money? Would you be one of those people that immediately walks into work and tells the boss to go to hell? Or would you be one of those winners who insists on continuing in your job to keep things “normal?” Would you come forward immediately and take interviews, relishing the instant fame and your fifteen minutes? Or would you contact an attorney and set up a trust, or whatever it is that they do, where you don’t have to show your face, just quietly collect your dough? What would you buy? Where would you go?

What would winning that kind of money mean to you? Would you feel relief? Joy? Fear? Would you take care of all the people in your life that you don’t feel you can care for now? Would you give millions to the Greater Chicago Food Depository? (I would.) If I won 550 million, I would commit opulent and anonymous random acts of kindness as often as possible, like sending college tuition money to a family with a smart kid whom I know could use it. Or tucking fifty-grand into an envelope and sliding it through the window of a beat-up old car. I would walk into every K-Mart I could find at Christmas time, heck at any time, and start paying off lay-aways. The new athletic field for my daughter's school? Done.

So if you want, go ahead and be one of those people who says, “If you wasted your money playing the Mega Millions, it was just the same as flushing your money down the toilet.” I think you’re no fun at all. I played Mega Millions. Five times. Yeah, maybe tonight at 11:01, I’ll find out I’m out five-dollars. But what fun I’ve had dreaming about it all day today. And you know if you didn’t play the game, then you can never win the game. Like I said, eventually, someone has to win the game.


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