It was nice to read in the papers that a millionaire made $314,900,000 honestly (before taxes).
Andrew "Jack" Whittaker, a native of Hurricane, W.Va., held the winning ticket in the Powerball lottery.
Hollywood immediately went to work on a movie.
The producer says, "Okay, this a great story. It has everything -- suspense, inspiration and, of course, money. Everyone dreams of winning a lottery. Jack Whittaker is a hero, and we want to show a simple man caught up in a unbelievable world."
Writer: "We open with a shot of a Super Serve gas station in Hurricane."
Producer: "We have to change the town's name. No one would ever win a lottery from a town named Hurricane. If we are going to cast Jack Nicholson, it should be called Bedford Falls."
Writer: "Good thinking, boss. Okay, Jack is a good man but down on his luck."
Producer: "But the lucky guy who won was a millionaire even before he won the lottery."
Writer: "You have no plot if he doesn't have financial worries at the beginning."
Producer: "Right-o. The theme of the picture is, you can still have monetary problems even if you're a millionaire."
Writer: "Like the guys at Enron. Now for the plot. Suppose on the way to the bank Jack's uncle loses the winning ticket."
Producer: "Good idea. The whole town knows about it, but they don't believe him. They think Jack has put his money in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands."
Writer: "Jack looks everywhere to find his ticket. In desperation he goes to the mean Bedford Falls banker, Anthony Hopkins. Jack begs the banker to loan him $315 million until he finds the ticket. The banker laughs at him. 'I wouldn't even loan it to you if you put up your WorldCom stock as collateral.' "
Producer: "Where do we go from here?"
Writer: "Jack is about to commit suicide, when who should show up but an angel."
Producer: "An angel. Haven't I seen that before?"
Writer: "Who's going to remember it? The angel has been assigned to find Jack's lottery ticket."
Producer: "Do you mind telling me how?"
Writer: "The angel tells Jack he gave it to the parking lot attendant by mistake the night he went to the movies."
Producer: "What a finish!"
Writer: "At the end, Jack appears on Jerry Falwell's TV show. Falwell says if Whittaker wants to get with the Lord he should give the $315 million to Falwell's 'Old Time Gospel Hour.' "
Producer: "What an ending. We've got another 'It's a Wonderful Life.' "
(c)2003, Tribune Media Services