On the EDge: If you’re going to dream, dream big

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OPINION — Every now and then, it’s nice to dream.

I guarantee there are a lot of people dreaming, and dreaming big today.

Very big.

About $2 billion big.

Yeah, they’re lining up all over the country to get a shot at the Mega Millions jackpot that has gone unclaimed and grown since July 24 when a group of 11 co-workers from Santa Clara County, California, hit it for $543 million, the fourth-largest payoff in lottery history.

Even after splitting the take 11 ways and paying taxes, that’s still a nice chunk of cash.

I haven’t heard what they intend to do with their bounty, but I pretty much guarantee they are no longer co-workers.

Tonight’s haul is a mind-boggler.

After nobody pulled the winning numbers on Friday, Mega Millions reps said tonight’s draw would yield at least $1.6 billion, the most ever. They were quick to add that lottery fever could very well take hold and push that total up to $2 billion.

The odds, as always, are stacked against us. Your ticket has a 1 in 302,575,350 chance of winning.

But, somebody has to beat those odds somewhere along the line and, in all probability, there will be two or three people splitting the pie when they do.

That’s OK, especially when the pie is a nice, fat $2 billion.

We’ve all read the horror stories of lottery winners ending up broke, but it would be difficult to imagine fumbling away this kind of money. You’d have to be a very special kind of stupid.

T.D. Ameritrade did a survey asking people what would excite them most about winning a substantial windfall.

Surprisingly, Gulfstream jets, Maybach limos and bathtubs filled with Almas caviar, which comes from the eggs of a rare albino sturgeon between 60 and 100 years old that lives in the southern Caspian Sea and sells, roughly, for about $18,000 a pound, are not at the top of that list.

Of those surveyed, 33.3 percent said they would most enjoy sharing their prize with others; 21.2 percent said they would most enjoy saving or investing the money for the future; 8.8 percent would be relieved to quit their job; 8.6 percent would look forward to getting out of debt; 8.1 percent would be most appreciative for the chance to pay off their home; only 7.3 percent would go on an extravagant trip; 6.9 percent would be happy to purchase a new home; and 1.7 percent would be relieved to pay off student loans. There was no mention about what the remaining bunch of people would be excited for, but I’m sure there would be a party involved somehow.

Give me the $2 billion and I’ll show you how to throw a party. You could hire Willie Nelson, The Stones and Paul McCartney for entertainment and still have enough left over for some fun, maybe even a pound or two of that hotshot caviar.

The reality is I think it would be within every one of us to find solid, deserving charities along the way to help dispense with a chunk of that dough, at least I hope so. On the local level, there are a couple of women’s crisis centers that would get a nice check and on the larger scale, well, there’s this children’s research center based in Memphis that I am rather fond of that would also be on my list. So would some organizations in my neighborhood that are close to my heart.

Deserving family and friends?

Of course, with the operative word being “deserving.”

Winning something like this would bring the scammers and ripoff artists out of the woodwork, all claiming that they deserve a piece of that pie because they are some long-lost, relative or pal.

Sorry, but the firewall would be so tight even Harry Houdini couldn’t crack the code to swing it open, let alone fair-weather friends and relatives. If you’re not part of the inner circle now, you certainly wouldn’t be once $2 billion is on the table. You wouldn’t even get “go-away” money.

I certainly wouldn’t gamble it on what is sure to be a tumbling stock market or in some random speculative venture capital deals. Leave that to the guys on “Shark Tank.” I’ve got better things to do with my money than invest it in toilet bowls that glow in the dark.

The thing is, I wonder how much value I would place on some of the stuff that, right now, I would love to be able to afford.

I mean, if I had that kind of a bankroll, would that Shelby Mustang GT500 still be as cool or meaningful?

If I had that kind of bankroll, would purchasing Blackie, Eric Clapton’s favorite guitar that went for about $1 million not long ago, still be as awesome?

I’d like to think so, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never really know, but it would sure be fun to find out. Those 1 in 302,575,350 odds are pretty long.

I know a lot of folks have very strong feelings against lotteries and I get it.

Yeah, it is gambling and it is also a sort of voluntary tax paid by people of meager means, hoping for that miracle that will lift them out of their paycheck-to-paycheck, or worse, existence.

As such, those objections are valid.

But, the lottery also offers us a chance, and don’t we all want that chance to breathe that rarified air?

Seriously, somebody must win that money.

In fact, several somebodies will probably win that money and, of course, the lesser payoffs that are also substantial.

So why not?

Why not take that chance and dream?

Whether it is personal riches, helping family and friends, or just the excitement of being in the game, I say go for it.

Because if you’re going to dream, dream big.

And, good luck!

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Brian October 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    You could win this entire powerball lottery TAX FREE and still not have enough to pay for the Lake Powell pipeline…

  • Redbud October 23, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    If I win, I will make excellent use of the funds by opening the first brothel, in honor of Dennis Hof.

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