I’m a gambler. I love to gamble on a sure thing. You know those sucker bets that should ensure you win without a shadow of a doubt. Those bets. I’ve lost a few of those little beauties. That easy money that I already had banked with confidence.
Of course, I’m not opposed to playing the long shots. These are the bets that pay something like thirty to one (or much more if you’re betting on the ponies). If you shoot dice, you know that those so-called long shots can pay off handsomely. But the truth is, I’m not here to talk about craps and rolling the dice. At least not yet.
Tonight, I want to talk about the kind of life-changing long shot that was found this month at a place called Clyde’s Market about two hundred miles south of Atlanta. In the town of Portal, Georgia, Lady Luck passed through and left behind a loot. $270 million dollars to be exact. That’s a lot of money. Not that you needed me to verify the fact, but it is.
After I read about winners Tonya and Robert Harris and their lucky win, I went on a search to discover more. I found a few posts about the lottery winners and I even found a statement made by Tonya Harris (to ABCNews.com). She made a statement regarding the win where she said, "It just hasn't sunk in yet really…” So, I thought I would pull out my soapbox. You know, step up and offer some words of wisdom from one gambler to another because the sooner it sinks in, the better chance she has to hold onto it!
I have a suggestion because I’m full of them.
Mrs. Harris, if you are reading this, go book a twenty-one day cruise that you can not afford on your current salary (yes, prior to the $270 million dollar bonus). Charge it. Stay in a suite with a private balcony. Order the most expensive champagne money can buy and demand that it be kept chilled in the ice bucket at all times. Shop. Yes, shop until you drop. Max out that credit card. Do it. Do it because you can and do it because you want to know what debt feels like one last time before you begin to revel in riches and think money has no true value.
Use twenty-one days to think about how you want to live your life now that the money you’ve won is enough to change your life. While you’re on this lavish trip, think about the money you are throwing away without a care but think about it from a different point of view. From the person’s point of view that would’ve never blown money away so frivolously. The old you. The one that would not have been able to afford a twenty-one day cruise, a lavish suite, the best champagne and everything else chance enabled you to buy.
Then, go back home and settle into the hum-drum of daily life. Be thankful for what you have. Pay off that credit card and think about how great it feels to do it. Then, sit down and look at all of the offers that have poured into your mailbox while you’ve been away. The vultures are hungry and with your $270 million dollars, they’ve been circling waiting for your return. But wait! Before you answer the mail you’ve received or return the phone calls you’ve been able to avoid, take a moment and search the internet.
This is where you’ll find that the odds are stacked up against you. The proof is found in the many lottery winners before you. This is where you’ll discover that the gift you’ve been given can quickly be taken from you if you listen to those who want something from you. The good news is, I believe odds are made (or set) to be challenged, if not broken.
I am a gambler at heart but I don’t play the lottery. I don’t like the lottery because I’m a
numbers person. I like games where the odds are in my favor (poker) or where the house edge can be minimized when conditions are favorable (craps) for the player. The lottery is a game of chance and luck. Never skill. Sometmes, I believe this is why those who win with luck often find it difficult to hang onto the winnings. They never expected to win and were unprepared when the cash literally fell in their lap.
I can understand and relate to lottery winners because I’ve spent hours in casinos and I’ve witnessed and watched huge takes from slot machines. Luck brings the unexpected. Luck leaves everything to chance and luck always turns back in the opposite direction. If you don’t believe me, squeeze in around a crowded craps table on a Friday night and you’ll see for yourself. Luck takes prisoners and holds hostages if you believe in chance alone.
A few years ago, I watched a documentary on lottery winners and one winner in particular stood out. David Lee Edwards won millions and he spent it. Boy did he ever. Today, it’s safe to say nothing remains of his fortune. There have been other hard-luck lottery winner stories.
It’s tough to send out kudos and congratulations to any chance winners without first adding a warning. I do believe that winners can be true winners when they know what is at stake and don’t always feel the need to push for more. When they are content with what they have and that’s enough. It’s all they need. More than they deserved.
The problems that lottery winners face is often something they could avoid if the greed-factor stayed in check. If the new money factor didn’t become more important than the old traditional values. Because of money, more becomes… more important. There’s a need for more material things because there’s more money to buy them. More homes and more expensive cars are luxuries that lottery winners seldom deny themselves.
Then, there’s the money-attitude. The one that often marks the beginning of the end. It’s where more respect is demanded because respect bought is easier than respect earned.
More is great but more often brings a whole lot less when it isn’t managed with humility and a humble heart.
My hope is that every lottery winner today and in the future will proceed with caution so that the good fortune they receive will always be remembered with a smile rather than thought of as a curse. After all, Lady Luck can give but “twisted fate” can sure take away.
Just a matter of my opinion. I’d love to hear yours!
An award-winning, international bestselling erotic romance author, Destiny Blaine writes under several pen names. She lives in East Tennessee and spends a lot of time in Connecticut and Virginia, where her granddoll resides.