Monday, April 2, 2012
It has been said that the chances of winning the lottery are just slightly better if you buy a ticket. With this in mind I almost bought one. I figure I’ve saved thousand of dollars over the years almost, but not quite, joining the frenzy. It’s only a buck a dream but this way I’ve enjoyed speculating over my new-found wealth which is what everybody else does, and saving almost as much as a winning ticket.
Sure we would have had some great moments distributing millions to our children and grandchildren with enough left over to pay off my overdue library books. I could have driven around buying modest homes for everyone living in cardboard boxes at the off-ramps and saved distressed properties from foreclosure. I might have played Mr. Magwitch from Great Expectations as secret benefactor to some unsuspecting youth who extended a kindness when I was in reduced circumstances.
However, when I think of all the attendant responsibilities I’m not sure I could make the adjustment. I’d have to change my bumper stickers, the locks on our door, even our phone number. The thought of moving our fourteen bookcases and objet d’art is too daunting. I expect I’d have cousins, by the dozens, showing up and that is unthinkable.
If I funded a drive to get a picture I.D. for all the disenfranchised voters in the South then I’d probably feel guilty that I didn’t buy mosquito nets for everyone in sub-Saharan Africa, instead. If I rescued inner cities from urban blight I’d probably start worrying about the rural poor, homeless from tornado damage.
I should start by getting my mother out of her trailer in Alabama….except my mother died 25 years ago and she never lived in a trailer in Alabama or anywhere else....but it's the thought that counts. Already I’m getting dizzy from the burden of saving us from ourselves. Philanthropy has its hard days.
Almost, but not quite, winning, ensures almost, but not quite, worrying about such matters. I can fantasize without having to choose between Amnesty International, Common Cause, N.P.R, Doctors Without Borders or the Southern Poverty law Center. We already get a letter-a-day from the White House, Nancy Pelosi or Barack, himself.
When I think of changing my life style, I shudder. Fine dining in French restaurants would mean learning which to fork to use to say nothing of a fully operative left hand, European style. Almost winning allows me to snack at Costco’s free-food tables with the down-trodden masses, clip an occasional coupon and look forward to my annual rebate. Four more car washes I get a freebee.
Give me the simple life of fixed income and senior discounts. Maybe if I was to the manor born I’d yearn for a return to my aristocratic roots but it’s not in my breeding. The closest I care to come to a regal bearing is the next Masterpiece Theatre. If I continue to almost buy a ticket my seat at the downstairs table will continue to happily be my lot.