By Grant McGee: Local Columnist
It was the highest Powerball lottery jackpot in the history of the game: an estimated $340 million. The word is someone in Oregon picked the six winning numbers.
Some cynics have said any lottery is a tax on people who can’t do math.
Let’s do some of that ciphering.
According to the Powerball folks, the odds of picking the correct six numbers to win the jackpot are one in 146,107,962.
According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being hit by lightning are one in 600,000.
So you have a better chance of being hit by lightning 242 times than winning the Powerball jackpot.
This isn’t about Powerball. It’s about Powerball dreams — the ones that come when that jackpot soars into the realm of our wildest fantasies; when one thinks about pocketing $340 million. Well, OK, after Uncle Sam’s pals at the Internal Revenue Service take their fair share you may be pocketing $170 million rather than $340 million. That’s still a nice chunk of change.
What would I do if I won millions of dollars? Haven’t you asked yourself that question?
The first thing that comes to mind is my mom. It’s the duty of every good Southern boy to buy a house for his momma. That’s what I heard anyway. So I’d get my momma a nice house with a view and some private care.
There still would be millions left over so I’d set my kids up with some trust funds.
Then to make sure The Lady of the House and I have some income I’d set up some sure-fire investments that would never fail (remember, we’re dreaming here).
There’d still be millions left over. What to do? There are people to be fed, people to lend a hand. There’s the opportunity to fund a helpful foundation or give a big donation to some helpful non-profit organizations.
We’d still have millions.
Would we stay in Clovis or would we move to some remote outpost? Would we get an Airstream bus then go off and see America, living on the road for the rest of our lives? Would we go off to some Caribbean isle, buy a home on a mountainside and wander around aimlessly in loose cotton clothing, lazing under shade trees in the tropical breeze reading great works of literature?
There aren’t any earthquakes or hurricanes in Clovis so maybe we’d stay at home. With millions of dollars there’s all kinds of fun to be had here. For instance, Hotel Clovis could be bought and renovated into a full-fledged five-star hotel (remember, we’re dreaming here). Or renovate the hotel into an artist’s colony — kind of like the visiting artist program they have in Roswell. Painters, sculptors, potters, writers, photographers could live there free for six months. At the end of their visit they’d give a show at a gallery or give a performance. People would come from Lubbock, Amarillo, Albuquerque to check out our art scene here.
Then I remember it’s all dreaming.
Dr. Joy Browne, a national talk show host, writes in her book “The Nine Fantasies That Will Ruin Your Life,” that one of those ruinous fantasies is, “Winning the lottery would free me.” She urges the reader to live life like you’ve won the lottery.
If you think about it, you’ll understand what she means.
Sounds like good advice to me.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: email@example.com