Show Me the Money

The latest American multi-millionaire: Gloria Mackenzie (courtesy of AP)

At long last, the search for the second-largest Powerball jackpot winner in lottery history has ended. The lucky recipient? 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida.

Mackenzie purchased the winning “quick pick” ticket at a Publix supermarket just north of Tampa. For those of you unfamiliar with quick picks, this basically means that the winning numbers were generated randomly by the lottery system; Mackenzie did not select the numbers herself.

What is most ironic about this situation is how Mackenzie came to possess the multimillion dollar ticket. She was standing in line at the supermarket when a kind, younger player and her daughter let the elderly woman cut in front of them. Mackenzie quick-picked the winning numbers before this Good Samaritan could, a move that earned her a one-time, lump payment of $370.9 million.

All the kind woman behind her got were groceries, as well as a “kick myself in the ass for being too nice” feeling the moment she realized what she had done. I’m speculating, of course, but I know that’s how I would feel.

When I first read this story, the same question popped into my mind as when Publisher’s Clearing House selects their jackpot winners each year: Must you have one foot in the grave to actually win one of these things?

I know it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but to me it seems that the majority of jackpot winners are all “silver foxes,” so to speak—elderly people with no chance of ever spending all their winnings before kicking off. Granted, lottery numbers generated at random cannot select only old people to win, but I’ve always felt the PCH Prize Patrol only awarded huge cash jackpots to people they wouldn’t have to pay for very long.

This, of course, changed with PCH’s newest rule, which allows family members of deceased winners to continue collecting their prize. Not that I stopped being suspicious because now, I believe you have to buy an assload of magazines to be eligible to win, even though PCH claims this is not the case.

Why can’t I have a winning ticket? (courtesy of AP)

Do I sound like a disgruntled and unlucky non-winner yet? I should because that’s kind of what I was going for.

Fortunately, I don’t concern myself too much with losing since the odds of collecting a grand prize lottery jackpot are roughly the same as me unexpectedly “hooking up” with Jessica Alba or some other sexy celebrity… basically slim-to-none. But like most Americans faced with jackpots over $500 million, I still race to the store to buy my tickets, essentially lining someone else’s pockets—in this case those belonging to Gloria Mackenzie.

I would say I was a sucker if doing so wouldn’t offend all the other lottery hopefuls in the crowd. The truth is that I kind of am, though.

Of course, it’s important to remember that money isn’t the answer to everyone’s problems, even though I would love to learn this first-hand. Yes, I know the odds are against me and I will likely never experience this, but it could be worse.

Just ask Chaz Bosarge of Clinton, Mississippi.

This past Tuesday, Bosarge was returning home after making a $210 deposit into his bank account when his wife called. She told him that when she checked their account, she noticed that his deposit had gone through, but it wasn’t for $210.

Bosarge had been credited with $2.7 million, bringing his balance to nearly three million bucks!

At first, Bosarge thought—or should I say hoped—that someone had blessed him and his wife with winnings from a casino or something. If only that were the case.

The best deposit slip Bosarge ever received, if only for a short time (courtesy of MSNews Now)

The truth is that the bank made a mistake and, being an honest person, Bosarge reported it immediately. The error was corrected and his $2.7 million deposit transformed back into the $210 “pumpkin” he had deposited earlier that day—sorry, but I couldn’t resist that Cinderella reference.

I guess what it all boils down to is this: someone always has to win and someone always has to lose. In this case, the big winner was Gloria Mackenzie while the losers were me, Chaz Bosarge and every other person who bought a ticket for the last Powerball drawing. Will this prevent me from buying a ticket the next time the jackpot grows that large?

Hell no. I’m far too greedy—and needy—for that!

Posted on June 6, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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