Like a snowball careening downhill increasing in size every second, so the Powerball jackpot grows, far surpassing the former record of $365 million. And with every news bulletin we hear, many of us ponder what we would do with 425 million dollars. Seriously, would you even want $425 million? Wouldn’t one million or half a million be enough–more than enough? If I had 425 million dollars, I could give a million dollars to everyone I know and still have money left over (I know what that says about my social life, but really, I don’t even have 400 facebook friends). Well, so it got me thinking about whether or not I was a lucky winner. At first I didn’t think so. You know, especially compared to my mom or my sister-in-law. My mom used to win a ham every time she walked into Albertson’s. Okay, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean. If there was a door prize, the green star was always on her place setting. My sister-in-law is much the same way. Fortunately, I’ve sometimes been the beneficiary of some of the not-used gifts. So I thought about my own winnings. I once had my question chosen by the radio d.j.s on a local morning show, netting $103 worth of lottery scratch tickets. Now, you can look at that as $103 value, or you can look at my actual dollars after scratching: $33; either way, it’s something. Then I recalled my most valuable prize ever, won earlier this year: a new i-Pad 2. (I got that with $20 worth of raffle tickets from a school fundraiser.) Then there were the season tickets to the Theatre, capital T. Oh, and I did win one of those “packages” at another school fundraiser, consisting of, among other things, a TENT, and a multitude of other camping/gardening supplies.
I like to sign up for all the “freebies” at state fairs (that’s where I won the Theatre tickets), but I can only do that if I’m with the kids. My husband is very wary about signing up for “free” things. “You’re just going to get on someone’s mailing list,” he complains. And so I generally don’t indulge when he’s along. He does have a point; some people are just scamming you. I remember a time, back when we were really poor (okay, so a lot like now :)), getting a phone call offering me to get in the drawing for a new car. I was pretty excited–an answer to prayer? We could really use a new car. But first I had to answer a few qualifying questions. I answered the questions and then to my devastation, was told I did not qualify. What? How can I not “qualify” to win a new car? The guy said we did not make enough money. I was momentarily speechless. “We are too poor to qualify to win a new car?” I asked in disbelief, totally crestfallen. “But we really need a new car. Why would somebody making a lot of money need to win a new car?” I asked. It was the caller’s turn to be speechless. I don’t recall any more than that, but I probably put a damper on his day, and I was left sad and disillusioned.
But we needn’t dwell on the bad elements. How about you, if you really think about it, I bet you can come up with a bunch of stuff you’ve won. A door prize at a family reunion, an ice cream cone at the state fair. Some stuff costs a little money up front, some is totally free. Oh yeah, back in the 1980s I won a free ticket to Disneyland (I think it was the 35th anniversary and I was standing in the right place in line.) So dig deep, think about it. What have you won, whether totally free or from a raffle or lottery? And will you play Powerball this time around?