FORTY MILLION, of course, isn't what it used to be. Still, even in these distressed times, it's better than a stab in the eye with a stick. We refer to the sensational return Michael E. Wittkowski got on Labor Day (an unwitting irony, surely) on his $35 investment in the Illinois State Lottery's Lotto game. He won it. Two million dollars a year for the next 20 years -- less taxes, naturally -- winnings unmatched by any previous lottery in the United States. Las Vegas was never like this. Put it this way, the 28-year-old printer for a Chicago check-writing firm (that's correct: check-writing) need never work again. Unless he wants to.

Guess what? He wants to. He took yesterday off, but he's returning to work today. Now most of the people we know would certainly want to. We'd all be back toiling at the old stand in matter of minutes -- hours at the most -- knowing how gratifying humble toil can be. The sweat of the brow, the simple life -- nothing like it, really.

If you believe that, you'd believe anything. Not that there isn't a lot to be said for work, but much of it can be said rather quickly. There's a lot to be said for a bank full of money, too, and we hope Mr. Wittkowski has one fantastic time with his. There. We've said it. And we wish him the best of luck in spending it. It would be nice to see a real-life fairy tale with a real-life happy ending. We're counting on you, Mike.