But when the pot is $640 million, that all changes. People imagine that the sheer size of the payout somehow means they’re in line for a piece of it. And suddenly, not everybody coming out of the Jiff Mart is carrying a can of malt liquor. Many of them are upper middle class, getting into their BMWs with their Mega Millions tickets and driving off dreaming of that new dawn when they can buy more shit they don’t need.
I once bought a couple of lottery tickets in Florida when the jackpot was something like $68 million. That used to be considered a lot of money. I well remember the the 90 seconds of magical thinking that convinced me I had a shot at unimaginable wealth. Seriously; I felt I was going to win. That kind of dough, all my problems would be over. It’s embarrassing to admit this. To this day, I rank that $2 among the stupidest expenditures I’ve ever made — right up there with a couple of Nehru jackets in 1968 and, later, a vacuum cleaner some scamster was hawking door-to-door.
I know: People are buying hope, not a legitimate chance at fabulous wealth. If you can mitigate the drudgery of a shitty life for even 90 seconds, maybe that’s worth a couple of bucks. But people lining up for tickets should ask themselves if $640 million is the only thing that’s missing in their lives. My guess would be no.