HUMOR – Most people have already heard the news of Gloria Mackenzie, the 84-year-old woman from Zephyrhills, Fla., who struck it rich by claiming the $370.8 million lump sum prize in the recent Powerball drawing.
At this point many people are speculating about how Gloria is going to spend her newfound fortune, but most people are planning how they would spend it if it was theirs. That is the wonderful thing about lotteries. They fill a person with hope of better things to come, which lasts for precisely the amount of time it takes for the winning numbers to be announced.
The odds of winning Powerball are 1 in 175,223,510. To put it in perspective, it is far more likely that a person will die from a shark attack – the odds of which are 1 in 11,500,000 – than it is that he or she will be able to retire off of Powerball winnings. And yet swarms of people remain hopeful.
In some circles the lottery is called the tax on the stupid. This should come as no surprise – some circles are mean-spirited. Some circles do not know how to have a good time whilst partially funding their neighboring state’s public education program and providing an excuse to drive to Beaver Dam, Ariz. As if you needed one.
I have heard of many Utahns who drive to either Arizona or Idaho to purchase tickets to pay these voluntary lottery-type taxes. I am one who prefers to pay her taxes in the more traditional method – kicking and screaming and finding as many deductions as I can. I say, the more money the general public is willing to surrender voluntarily, the less taxes the rest of us will have to pay involuntarily. Voluntary taxes are not my thing, but more power to you.
I have been visiting Louisville, Ky., for the past few weeks and my sister purchased several scratch-off tickets for the Ohio state lottery as a way of introducing me to the culture of the area. It turns out that after the Kentucky Derby is over there is not much to do here. Anyway, we spent about four minutes scratching off tickets in the dining room of a Subway restaurant.
It was the most intense four minutes of my life.
For those four minutes I was hopeful. I planned how I would spend my cut of the winnings. In my plans I was able to provide for the needs of my family without the stress of work and bills to pay. I paid for my children’s college education. I made large donations to charities which invited me to events where they would beg for my money and I got to wear an evening gown and eat shrimp cocktail. There were vacations to Greece and various islands in the Pacific. I lived in a mansion with one of those infinity bathtubs, a butler, and a bookcase that spins into a secret room. But I was never pretentious; my money did not ruin me like it does so many people.
It was a good life.
And then the four minutes of ticket scratching ended and I am back to paying my taxes involuntarily and hoping that an elderly relative wins the lottery.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
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