Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Would you use an app that tells you the partisan affiliation of products you're considering buying?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

Weekly schedule, past shows

ComPost
About Petri |  Get Updates: On Twitter ComPost on Twitter |  On Facebook Petri on Facebook |  RSS RSS
Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 03/29/2012

The only sure Megamillions strategy


Stop right there! (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post) (Linda Davidson - THE WASHINGTON POST)
I know the only foolproof approach to the Megamillions jackpot: don’t buy a ticket. If you have bought one, give it to me. I will ensure that you come to no harm.

I want to protect you from a fate worse than death: winning the lottery.

Death happens once and it’s over, and maybe, after you exit Purgatory, you will get to see some of your favorite relatives and Rick Santorum. But winning the lottery is the rest of your life, and the only people who turn up are the relatives who think you owe them money. And Newt Gingrich.

Money changes people. It takes happy, ordinary people who have been contentedly married to you for the past thirty years, and turns them into strangers with follicular implants who are divorcing you in favor of an inexpensive-looking person in a rabbit-themed bustier.

It is a horrible thing, no matter how you choose to handle it. On the one hand, you have to maintain so many yachts. You have to join a polo club. You have to acquire reams and reams of tiny forks and array them bewilderingly in front of you each time you eat. You have to go to dinner in white tie. Your friends leave you, when you refuse to buy them monogrammed hovercraft. Your neighbors leave you, when you try to gentrify their yards with golden statues of yourself. Your teeth leave you, when you replace them with diamonds. Once you’ve known your sixteenth Playboy bunny, you have effectively known them all. Wearing massive gold chains gives you neck strain. Cristal grows cloying, after a time. And one can only do so much cocaine.

Besides, what are the odds of winning? Terrible. You have better odds of being struck by lightning. You have better odds of being eaten by a shark, appearing on Broadway, or being eaten by a shark appearing on Broadway. You have better odds of suffering a disfiguring accident in the home that might leave you with no lips. So save the money. Buy a ticket to John Carter. You will only be unhappy for two hours, rather than the rest of your life.

Sure, the jackpot is more than 500 million, but what does that amount to? All you can do with it is irritate 99 percent of the population. Better leave it in the hands of people like Mitt Romney or that guy who just resigned from Goldman Sachs, who know how to make large amounts of money feel at home. But none of them seem keen on buying a ticket.

There’s only one solution. Let me take the hit.

I have bought eighteen Megamillions tickets in order to spare you this burden.

Do not worry that the money will change me. It will only improve me.

The biggest trouble I foresee with winning the lottery is that there is only so much money you can spend at Olive Garden, and after that I will be forced to expand my horizons.

It’s a burden I am ready to assume. I am sitting here right now practicing belonging to the One Percent. “Filthy Occupiers,” I mutter, sneering. I am not very good at sneering yet, but I’m sure by the time they announce the winner, I will be.

I stroll out and leaf through a copy of the Wall Street Journal. At present it does not interest me, but I assume that this will come with time and money. I will notice myself growing more interested in tying sweaters around my neck and feel a sudden urge to donate to a SuperPAC.

I think it was Swift It was apparently Steinbeck who said that Americans will never approve of socialism because we all view ourselves not as members of an oppressed underclass but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. I look forward to the end of that temporary embarrassment.

True, money cannot buy you love or happiness, but if you can afford one of those electric massage chairs from Sharper Image, who needs either?

I can definitely cope with unhappiness. I've found lots of things I enjoy more than being happy — coffee, for instance.

So please, please don’t buy a lottery ticket. Let me take this bullet. That way, everybody wins.

By  |  03:18 PM ET, 03/29/2012

Tags:  lottery

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company