Nearby where I live is the local deli. In my neighborhood, the owner’s name is Phil. Each week, Phil dispenses to the neighborhood many lottery tickets…little pieces of dreams for those who choose to partake. I know, I know….the odds of winning the lottery are something like being hit by lightening in the same place twice!! I myself have been known however to put my toe in the water a few times to see if Ladyluck will shine on me that week. It’s all in fun really, I guess.
Phil recently shared a story with me that I would like to pass along to you. Every six months Phil attends a regional seminar where the lottery introduces their upcoming new games that they plan to put on sale. Phil joins many other lottery agents in the festivities, to meet former lottery winners whose prize money ranges anywhere between five to forty-million dollars. He told me “Jennifer, you have to see some of these people who have become multimillionaires. The ones that have won less than ten million dollars seem to have a pretty good handle on their lives. But boy, once you start hitting fifteen to twenty-million dollar lottery winners, they start coming unglued! Can you imagine what it feels like to see a man who, two years ago, won twenty-five million dollars, speak into the microphone and tell us all that he thinks the CIA watch him day and night, or, another “lucky” winner who lectured with strange beads around his neck, that he has found a truly, one-of-a-kind, unique way to God. What was that unique way, you ask? It involves ridding yourself of your clothing in public places, and painting your body green!!”
Each time Phil attends one of these seminars he tells me it is truly a revelation to see how people eventually handle their winnings. One man who won twenty-three million dollars decided that he would tell no one that he won. So then, he went out and bought himself a top-of-the-line, custom-made Mercedes Benz, and parked it in the driveway of his middle-class home. The neighbors at first did a double-take…but finally it was decided by the neighbors that he must have become a drug-dealer! Because it was the only way that he could have been able to afford such a car. Eventually our quiet millionaire had to leave his neighborhood to drive his car!!
There are a thousand stories like these….perhaps you know some yourself. But isn’t it amazing what a large sum of money can do to someone unprepared. So how much do you need to be happy? One million, two million, or perhaps ten? Think about it, but try to keep the number as low as possible, because with each succeeding million, it brings more and more responsibility and pressures. I guess after awhile you start to ask yourself, how much can you really spend in one lifetime? Phil reminded me that the hardest time for a multimillionaire lottery winner is the second year. Why, you ask? Because once you’ve bought the new home, the new cars, the trip around the world…you eventually arrive back home, looking at the walls, and wondering what’s next……
Â© 1999 Jennifer Avalon