Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guilt Trip

It was a beautiful sunny morning when I sat down at the computer to check the lottery ticket numbers. They marched across the screen in all their randomness and landed on my ticket--all in a straight row. After years of weekly gambling on the numbers, my ship finally came in. I had not only the bonus number, but all of the right numbers for millions on a winning lottery ticket. I had the bank account ready, the charities selected, the stocks chosen, the lucky relatives chosen (those still speaking to me), and the tax man was sitting on my doorstep before I checked the numbers. Since I'm already retired, I don't need to do that. I have a few bills, but who doesn't? I would travel a little, renovate a little, and fund the grandchildren's education. I have a reliable car that gets me from point A to point B, but I have no desire for jewels, furs, yachts, second homes (Who can be in two places at the same time?). 

Yes, it's easy to figure out that it is a weekly fantasy in which I indulge myself, but sorry to say, I haven't won the lottery YET. As the mathematical whiz who lives with me has been saying for years, my chances are a gazillion to nothing for winning, yet every week he is the enabler who buys me that slice of hope. Pennsylvania used to only have Powerball in which I could invest my money, now they also have Mega Millions so I can be disappointed twice as often. We buy the one that is highest that week in the cash payout, not the highest jackpot. It has come to my attention that Mega Millions has a much bigger payout in the cash option than Powerball provides and when I win, a couple of million more is important. All things being equal, I am more often inclined to choose Mega Millions where I cast my dreams of hitting the big one. However, I have been faithful to Powerball for decades and if the total cash payout is higher, I contribute.

The possibility of winner's guilt has entered my mind much as the phenomenon that occurs when one person survives a catastrophe and others don't. I often wonder if those lottery winners who blow through the jackpot have some form of guilt psychosis that they don't deserve it so they should in all modesty find a good way to lose it. David Baldacci wrote The Winner, which I highly recommend, about the lady who wins a lottery. She seems to do exactly what she shouldn't and lands herself in a peck of trouble. I had a friend in college who would say it is due to our Puritanical upbringings that we are taught to feel guilty about anything that we enjoy; otherwise, we are mean, wicked, evil, bad and nasty people. However, I've covered my bases because the first thing that I would do after winning the lottery is to fund a trust fund that would provide for a host of charities to melt my guilt trip. Philanthropy cures guilt trips.

I've given this a lot of thought and it's easy to see that my favorite visualization technique is becoming very refined. 


  1. I do the same thing each week ~ and I have a vivid imagination about how to spend my millions. My husband is the logical/ common sense one but not me...I am going to have fun and share my wealth with family and friends. And give to charities. And get a massage each week. And...the list goes on and on.

  2. It so amazes me that $5 can buy a week's worth of hope. It's so much fun. Even though I know someone who would say I should be ashamed of myself, I tend more to be like J.Paul Getty when asked, "How much money is enough?", he replied, "Just a little bit more."

  3. I occasionally buy lottery tickets and am always so disappointed when I don't win. I mean I really expect to win! I guess hope springs eternal!

  4. As I tell my skeptic hubby, "Someone wins, it could just as easily be me." It isn't a pipe dream if I buy a ticket.

  5. It's good to meet you on my blog, RJ. A terrific post here, too.

    I know full well the bitter sweet pain and pleasure you describe here. The wonderful win-the-lottery fantasy that so many of us indulge in.

    If we did win, I wonder would be blog about it or keep it to ourselves?

  6. Great question. For me, the answer is easy--I'm paranoid and very private. The trappings of wealth appear to be a double-edged sword in all of the novels I read and on the six o'clock news.