Lessons from Lotto

Originally posted at American Thinker. blog

Great news: three people won the Mega Millions lottery, which is awesome for them, but for the rest of America not so good. It means just three people — one in Kansas, another in Illinois and one more in Maryland — will each get $213 million before taxes. Everyone else? Well, we have to get up and go to work tomorrow.

For this lottery, Americans with “a dollar and a dream” had a one-in-176-million chance of winning and spent $1.5 billion for the opportunity to win $347 million after the feds took their share.

Other than the fact that you have a better chance of being hit by lightning twice than winning, the lotto teaches us many things. One Mega Millions hopeful from Kansas, Bill Isles, was literally struck by lightning after buying three tickets — and still lost.

Nevertheless, if you listen closely to the amateur gamblers and dream-chasing ticket buyers, what is revealed at every Mega Millions drawing is a level of generosity intrinsic to the American people

Maribeth Ptak of Milwaukee said that she’d “use the money to pay off bills, including school loans, and then she’d donate a good portion to charity.”

Sawnya Castro of Dallas said that she’d “use the money to create a rescue society for Great Danes, fix up her grandmother’s house, and perhaps even buy a bigger one for herself. ‘Not too big — I don’t want that. Too much house to keep up with.'”

Guess Sawnya didn’t realize that with $213 million she could hire a whole staff of house keeper-uppers.

Meanwhile, closer to home, four of my co-workers and I kicked in 20 bucks apiece and bought 100 Mega Millions lottery tickets. I was elected to do the purchasing.

On a mission, being my usual superstitious Sicilian self, I got in my car and drove to a barbershop pretty far away from where I work so that a family barber who plays the horses and always wins could print out the tickets.

I made my way back to work, where my colleagues were waiting for me with a sparkle in their eye, a hope in their heart, and the desire to share what they would do if we split $640 million five ways.

After we fantasized about coming to work after winning the lotto, calling a meeting in the conference room and telling our time-keeping taskmaster that we were all retiring as a group and bidding adieu, we put the jokes aside and shared our hearts.

First and foremost, we were all resigned to the reality that the government would take half the winnings and agreed that someone has to keep Michelle Obama in jet fuel and five-star resorts.

We talked charities, tithing to our local churches, investing for our families’ future, and having a huge party at the Plaza Hotel and giving a million dollars as a surprise favor to each of our siblings to ease their financial burdens.

Surprisingly, not one of us spoke of fancy cars, jewelry, homes or exotic trips; most of the discussion was about giving.

The moral of the story is this: While Barack Obama and the Democrats hammer home day-after-day the same old talking point that Americans need to give more, give back, and “share the wealth,” their incessant yammering proves neither the party nor the President understand the bighearted spirit of the American people.

Because, Mega Millions drawing or not, win or lose, Americans always win because our nature is to look for reasons to give to others much more than we’ll ever receive.

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