I didn't donate to our company's "Lotto Day" way back when I managed a warehouse. I let everyone else who had a loose dollar or two line up at the shipping manager's desk to get their name put on a list that would be used the following Monday to divide up the millions of dollars in winnings that would fall into their collective laps. The list, sadly, was never put to that use. Mostly it was used to remind those who had previously donated to what my father so lovingly referred to as "The Idiot Tax" that it was time to pony up once again to take a chance on that one big windfall. Week after week, month after month, it went on. And on. "Don't forget: today is a Lotto Day!" came the announcement of the PA. Those who had already had their break took an extra one just to be sure that the didn't miss out on that one chance in a million.
So, to paraphrase Jim Carrey, I"m saying they had a chance.
I didn't let it worry me much. Mostly because beating the kind of odds that are in place for mega jackpots help to define the abstract realms of probability. Chances of being attacked by a shark are approximately one in one eleven million. Chances of being struck by lightning are considerably less: one in seven hundred thousand. Odds of winning the big Powerball jackpot? One in two hundred ninety-two million. You could get bit by a dozen sharks while being zapped from above and still have room in the luck department to win a buck or two. It's not very likely. At all.
Still, we plug away, imagining ways to spend the money that we haven't won. I figured there were a lot of folks in Oakland who were hoping to get a slice of that billion dollar pie so they could buy the Raiders a new stadium. Or maybe they could buy themselves a little country somewhere that could run its own regular cash giveaway. I figured that if any local municipality wanted to fund a thousand dollars a week to spend on Powerball tickets, at the end of the year they would have spent fifty-two thousand dollars at a chance to win a billion. Give or take. That sounds like the kind of government program I could get behind. Or maybe I could buy the world a Coke. Or maybe I could see about getting the Beatles catalog back from Sony. It's fun to spend a wad of money that no one can really imagine having.
If I played the Lotto.