If you believe that size matters you should buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket. This Friday's (3/30/12) jackpot will be the largest in U.S. history at an estimated $500 million dollars. That's more than $100 million larger than the previous largest jackpot.
Spending one dollar for a ticket is a symbol of hope, dreams, and wishes. It's been interesting reading my Facebook and Twitter feeds today seeing what people would do with their winnings. Its ranged from houses, cars, and helping family to philanthropic ideas like helping someone's favorite charity.
The chances of winning are not good. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175,711,536 to match the five white balls and the Mega Ball. A bit of searching online helped me discover that you have much better odds of getting struck by lightning (the odds of getting struck by lightning are 3,113 times better than winning Mega Millions).
How about this one: Imagine you are standing blindfolded on a football field holding a pin. A friend has released an ant on the field. Your chance of piercing that ant with your pin is more than 12 times better than winning the lottery.
Despite the discouraging statistics, I'm still buying a ticket (probably a few!). I bought ten tickets when the jackpot was $363 million on Tuesday and I matched three numbers out of sixty. I didn't even win part of my investment back. Yet, I'm not discouraged.
One of the reasons I'm not afraid to gamble a little is that I function on hope. The glass is almost always half full in my life. I never think "I won't win" or "It'll never happen". My philosophy is "Why not me?"
If I do win, there are a few things I'm sure of. I'd still watch Cops. I would still shop at Walmart. Maybe I'd splurge on a few things. I've always wanted one of those big flat screen plasma or LCD TV's for the living room. We could use some new towels. And I'd like to get a new coffee table. Some new socks too. It would be nice to buy things like that without worrying whether or not I can afford it.
If I'm unfortunate and don't win, here's hoping that you do. If you buy socks with your winnings get the really cushy ones. You'll be more comfortable when you walk.
Money really can buy happiness. One cushy sock at a time.
UPDATE: 3/29/12 at 9:42 a.m.: Mega Millions just announced that the jackpot for tomorrow will now be $540 million. Ticket sales are apparently brisk. Holy crap!