Archive for November, 2007

Caution: Bad word in here

Friday, November 30th, 2007

How many times have you heard this: Somebody wins the lottery, then immediately declares that they’ll keep their job and continue to lead their normal life. It happened again just a couple of days ago, when a Raleigh women collected the proceeds from her million-dollar lottery ticket and announced that, at best, she might retire a little early. In the meantime, she’ll keep working.

Ma’am, I admire your thrift and sense of fiscal responsibility. But if I win the lottery, I’m taking a big ol’ swan dive into debauchery, decay and dissolution.

Work won’t be in my future. I’ll return to the office, but only long enough to quit my job in person — and only after I’ve spent about four hours in a nearby bar to get me in the proper frame of mind for a memorable resignation announcement. (Wait a minute. I already did that a few months ago. Great. Now I’ve got to find another job just so I’ll have one that I can quit.)

When I think about it, I realize that I’ve been practicing to be a lottery winner all my life. As a kid, I was insufferable whenever I triumphed at Monopoly, paying other kids to move my token around the board or to fetch me something to drink. It felt great to lord my riches over the chumps who could barely afford to buy slum-row properties while I was living large on Park Place. Later, when I was grown and working in a remote office for a beastly boss, I used to fantasize about having a winning lottery ticket stashed away as I waited for his next abusive phone call, whereupon I would unload on him within hearing of the whole staff.

I frequently imagine how much fun it would be to have a fat roll of hundred-dollar bills in my pocket at all times so that whenever I saw somebody show a small courtesy toward a fellow human — you know, give up a seat so a pregnant woman could sit down, or be graciously patient when a trainee grocery clerk flubs a checkout — I could give that person a hundred bucks and say, “Thanks for being decent. Take your sweetie out to dinner tonight.”

I’d be a great lottery winner. I’d be a fine example of how to enjoy your riches. When the first reporter asked me whether I would continue to work after winning, I’d answer, “No fucking way” — then offer the reporter $10,000 if he or she gets that quote in the paper verbatim.

Hey, I told you there was a bad word in here. Don’t get all puritan on me now. Would a hundred bucks make you feel better?