Gotta be in it to win it

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I think everyone has the reoccurring dream in which they win the lottery.

This is usually my daydream of choice when traveling the roads to Birmingham and back – especially since I can’t listen to the radio, lest it drown out the sounds of the Disney/Pixar/Nickelodeon marathon from the back seat.

In my musings, the windfall amount varies with the amount of stress I’m under. On good days, we can live the good life on, say $2 million; on the bad ones, there are thoughts of a triple digit payoff.

We usually score our imaginary goods after a trip to the beach, which incidentally, we plan to take next week. I can’t wait for those three days at the beach with my sweet peas.

We stop at one of the bazillion convenience stores between here and Orange Beach, usually around Pensacola, Fla., to purchase our winning ticket. Of course, we would be having such a good time that I wouldn’t think to check the numbers until we made it home.

The daydream usually transitions to how I would tell my loved ones. Being of the giving kind, I imagine a great dinner party where under the plates sit checks with enough zeros to make their lives more than comfortable.

And believe it or not, if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t quit my job. I’m sure there’d be a round of discussions with attorneys about liability, which would end with me buying a huge insurance policy of some kind. Still, I’ve tried staying at home. I’m not good at it. I’d go crazy if I didn’t work.

In reading, I discovered the story of Richard Lustig, a seven-time lottery winner in Florida who plays the lottery like a full-time job. While he may lose sometimes, he’s also won more than $1 million.

Lustig recommends picking your own numbers. “Don’t leave it up to the machine,” he said. “Don’t do Quick Picks, (the phrase describing the number the computer picks for you when you don’t use your own) either.”

He also suggests “doing your homework” by going online to make sure your numbers have never come up before. Then, stick with those numbers.

Most importantly, avoid lottery fever, he said. When the jackpot goes high, people tend to get lottery fever and spend a lot more than they normally would or can afford, he said. “Don’t go crazy,” he said. “The odds are still the same no matter how much you spend.”

Mathematicians and lottery officials have said that the odds of winning are always the same regardless of how many people play because the lottery is always drawn from the same set of numbers.

I’m of the opinion you have to be in it to win it, right?

Probably good advice, considering the last time I bought a ticket was last spring break. So pardon me while I pick my numbers. I promise to remember the little people when I hit it big…or at least that’s how it plays out in my dream.