Last Monday, I won two games of pool in a row (out of three) against one of the best pool players at the VA Recovery Center. I joked that I should buy a lottery ticket. Well, not really — later that day I did. If it was my lucky day, though, it may be irrelevant as the ticket said it was for Wednesday.
I didn’t check to see if I won, so I was telling the truth in a superficial sense when I told my friend Bob on Thursday he was looking at a potential lottery winner. Not much to be proud of, and it made me think of all the political and other arguments where people use the plausible as if it were some sort of fact or evidence.
But the fact is that as much as I’d like to pay off the house and all debts, and maybe jump-start some projects or businesses on my “to do” list, I think it would ruin me.
It’s bad enough that lotteries are — apart from the few who keep it in perspective as trivial entertainment — basically a redistribution of wealth from the foolish poor to one among them who is almost guaranteed to lose it all within two years and be worse off than before. After all, why would you entrust the management of a large sum of money to someone who’s financial plan is to win a lottery in the first place?
And then there’s the socially-pervasive modern liberal stigma of wealth. Forever after, people would look at any and all of my successes in life as having been the result of pure luck. Nevermind the fact that it takes work and wisdom to actually make money from money — I could be and do the most amazing things ever, tenfold over the sum of my winnings, and it would seem all a bit too easy. If someone invested in one of my ideas and it became the next big thing, somehow that would be okay, but a lottery ticket?
So why should I care what other people think? Well, I want to be a role model of hard work and good choices rather than a gambler. I want to be able to show I took responsibility for my life, whatever hand I was dealt.
I could give it all to charity, or even set up charities, scholarships, etc., but could I really take the credit? Even then, by my thinking, I could not really put my name on it. It feels like dirty money to me from the start, and I’d have to seriously consider if the end justifies the means.
I know — maybe I’d start a charity to help people with lottery addictions, and have a huge media campaign getting people to boycott the lottery. Wouldn’t that be rich!