You can’t fantasize if you don’t play.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Toni, the Weekly’s production coordinator, came through my office earlier this evening and asked me for a dollar. She had this cool idea that all of us would go in on some lottery tickets. I’m sure most of you know that the Mega Millions jackpot was bigger than ever—$300-something million. Apparently everyone knows this. I did not.
I declined to participate. I didn’t have a dollar in my pocket—but the fact is, I wouldn’t have been inclined to play even if I did. I have never bought a lottery ticket—and I guess it’s true that I take pride in being able to say that. I don’t approve of the lottery. I can be tedious on the subject.
I am one of those people who believe that the lottery is a rip-off, a scam, a sucker’s game, and a cynical way for governments to make money by preying on people’s weaknesses, and that it’s actually a regressive form of taxation, because the billions that governments earn from the lottery come largely from poor people who shouldn’t be wasting their money on lottery tickets, and that it represents a tacit endorsement of gambling, and…I could go on and on, even more tediously. So I took a pass on Toni’s Mega Millions idea.
Future plans would involve a Russian mail-order bride catalog and a freighter full of Maker’s Mark and Viagra— full-steam ahead.
I know she didn’t intend to hurt my feelings (Toni is the nicest person in the building) but when she left my office, she announced that I did not get in on the little escapade. Right away everyone started making fun of me. (“Don’t be a jerk! Give her a dollar!”) I relented, dug around on my desk, found four quarters, and caught Toni on the way to her car. I was in.
For the next couple of hours, while we were finishing off this issue, everybody in the office talked about what they were going to do with the money. It was actually kind of fun. Everyone was grinning and talking and laughing. I found myself thinking: This isn’t so bad. Like the commercial says, buy a lottery ticket and you get to dream big dreams.
I asked my colleagues to e-mail their millionaire plans to me. Work ceased for a few minutes.
~ ~ ~
Kevin, who calls himself a “production drone,” showed concern for our readers—for a moment: “First, I’d make a full-page ‘Thank You Monterey, But We’re Outta Here’ ad to run in the paper. Then I’d buy a really good bottle of champagne (hell—a great case of champagne), and get the farthest away I can from a computer—like a bonfire on the beach in Hawaii, with any of my friends who wish to join me.”
Maureen, our arts editor, expressed an artistic vision: “I will travel for a few months, then live someplace enchanting for a while and set up a studio where I can work for the rest of my life.”
Production artist Brandl shared a similar plan, expressed succinctly: “I would travel the world.”
Deputy editor Mark was typically creative, and marginally generous: “I’d buy my own European-league basketball team. And hire myself as 12th man. The change (and team profits) would go to microloans.”
Karen, our production manager and art director, who runs the show on Tuesday nights, took a few minutes to bask in the idea, and sent me something bordering on poetry: “i’d travel to tropical islands, swim in warm water and sail and hike and bike...i’d travel to europe...i’d buy a house with an awesome view and a big garden with lots of veggies and flowers...i’d quit my job and be an artist/painter...i’d have lots of big parties...endless list....”
Steve the ad rep expressed compassion for the world, including his bosses: “The first thing I would do is to (try to) sleep in. I forget how that feels. After that there is a laundry list including doing many random acts of kindness and not leaving my job until they find a qualified person for me to train to do what I do.”
Shane, another sales guy, was admirably honest in his selfishness: “I’d give the boss my two-minute notice, head straight for the Shadow Box, and throw down 10 to 12 cold ones in the same number of minutes. Future plans would involve a Russian mail-order bride catalog and a freighter full of Maker’s Mark and Viagra—full-steam ahead to the newly-renamed tropical island of Shanesylvania. If there’s anything left after that, I’ll send the Dept. of Education the balance on my student loans,” he said, adding a heartfelt “I shit you not.”
Toni proved that she is in fact the nicest person in the office: “When I win the lottery, I’ll pay off all the mortgages for my brother and sisters.”
Me? Well first, I’d rent a Winnebago and take my mother on a trip to see the country. And then…oh, wait. The drawing is over.
What a scam.