You can learn a lot about somebody by listening to him talk about the lottery.
I say "him" because most of the people I hear talking about the lottery are men. Not sure why.
One theory would be that women are more intelligent, more practical, and have a better work ethic than men. There are other theories but I mention this one because my wife is probably reading this.
For starters, you learn what people think about work.
I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody in a workplace somewhere told a co-worker, "See you tomorrow... unless I win the lottery."
Another version of the fantasy involves returning to work after winning the lottery, but only long enough to tell management how stupid they are and then dramatically exit the building.
These folks don't like their jobs and their bosses.
But would they like any job or any boss?
It's interesting that most people who talk about winning the lottery talk about never working another day in their lives, not about using their money to have the kind of job they've always wanted.
You also learn about their perceived ability to handle money. The news is full of people whose lives were ruined after they won the lottery.
In response to this, people often say, "I'd like to have the chance to do that." They don't mean they'd like the chance to be miserable. They're really saying they don't think it would happen to them.
Of course, you also discover what's really important to people.
Like the Tennessee football fan who said he hoped to win the lottery so he could give a big chunk of it to Jon Gruden and lure him to Knoxville.
I hope he was kidding, but I doubt it.
You also find what countries people have always wanted to visit, and what beaches they've always wanted to recline on and what cold drinks they've always wanted to sip. And of course, what cars they'd like to drive.
This time of year, you also learn what people think about giving.
Lately I've heard people say things like, "If I won the lottery, I'd help a family in need this Christmas."
That's one way to say you're never going to give.
I know of a Bible study group that's pitching together to help a woman and her three grandchildren for the holidays. The woman asked for a simple folding table and four chairs so the children wouldn't have to eat their meals on the floor.
It cost $50. One of the group members bought the table and chairs and took them by the little house, and the grandmother reacted as if she'd won the lottery.
You don't have to win the lottery to start caring about people or to start living life like you think it should be lived.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be reached at email@example.com.