Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Playing the odds

We are a lottery-buying household.

Yes, yes, gambling is the devil's work.

Your odds of winning the big jackpot are less than the likelihood of being struck by lightening whilst fending off a shark attack.

It's a tax on stupidity.

Buying a lottery ticket is the gateway drug to a crippling gambling addiction that sees you sell your house to the Hells Angels, pawn your baby off to the white slavers and gut your husband for his valuable kidneys.

And yet...

If you don't buy a ticket, you will never win.

Every week, when we plonk down our $3, one part of me wrestles with the whole thing. My husband and I have three decades worth of education between us... Is this our ignorant, uninformed dark side coming through?

And yet...

If you don't buy a ticket you will never win.

There are pleasures to be gained just from buying a ticket. At first, I spent a lot of enjoyable time fantasizing about what I'd do if we won. We don't want a lot. Quite honestly, we'd be happy with 300K. We'd pay off the mortgage and our other debts and have a bit of breathing room. I don't need to dramatically quit my job or anything. I just want to remove the low level money stress that plagues me. So, initially, I'd fantasize about what I'd do with all that money. Maybe a condo in London, England? Write fat checks to all my siblings? Donate giant chunks to the hospital where I was born? I don't aspire to wear fancy clothes, and any one who has seen either my man or I drive can vouch that it wouldn't be a good idea for us to get behind the wheel of anything more powerful than a Toyota. Travel, charity and an absence of debt... Fairly modest fantasies, I think.

Lately my lottery ticket fantasies haven't been about  what we'd do with the coin. Instead, I'm mulling over what EXACTLY I'd do if my local Mac's Milk guy said that I'd won... How would I react to his news? How precisely would I tell my husband? How would we pick up the check? Would we hire a money manager or just wing it? How would we tell our family? Would we tell people at work? etc.

Thinking through the practicalies is almost as fun as spending the imaginary money... Almost.

For now it's all moot, but when the day comes, I'll be ready.

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