The question never gets old, and that generally works well for journalists.
What would you do if you won $1 million?
Most of us recite our plan quickly: travel, gifts for loved ones, maybe a major charity donation. We debate whether we'd quit our day jobs. We rarely pause to acknowledge the slim likelihood that these dreams will materialize.
When that topic enters the conversation, we often counter it with this line: "Well, somebody has to win, right?"
Maybe that explains why I'm gaining a few pounds this summer.
The Monopoly Game at McDonald's starts today. When I visited the game's website prior to kickoff, I was greeted by five happy faces and an alluring promise: "Win big like these $1 million winners."
For the next few weeks, I'll function under a foggy haze that blinds me to the digestive guidelines for Big Mac consumption. I will opt for an Egg White Delight McMuffin sandwich instead of a protein bar. I will lose sleep while pondering what portion of my $1 million should go toward my dog.
All for a few good game pieces.
Playing the Monopoly Game at McDonald's is fairly simple. You collect game pieces and try to win prizes. Most people likely obtain their game pieces by purchasing certain food items. Not every item includes game pieces, so you might have to opt for a Filet-O-Fish sandwich instead of your standard two-cheeseburger meal.
The in-store game ends Aug. 12 and the online game ends Aug. 26, according to rules posted online. (Yes, this game starts earlier than what we've seen in some previous years.)
I like bouncing between locations and changing my orders in hopes of securing a diverse variety of game pieces. Then again, my biggest Monopoly jackpot remains a Redbox rental.
The good news? Your odds of winning a food prize in the game are approximately 1 in 4.45, according to the aforementioned rules online. You have an approximately 1 in 101 chance of instantly winning a Redbox one-day DVD or Blu-ray Disc rental.
When it comes to the big money, things get more challenging.
For example, you can collect the Park Place and Boardwalk game pieces to win $1 million. The online rules note, "The approximate odds of collecting Park Place are 1 in 11; the approximate odds of collecting Boardwalk are 1 in 602,490,060."
The odds of collecting the winning combination? I don't want to shatter your dreams, so I'll just say it's a big number. But somehow, I'll forget that number while braving the drive-thru line at McDonald's. Skepticism can wait. For now, I'll naively believe the solution to my financial woes is only a Big Mac away.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516. Visit ledger-enquirer.com/sonya to read her columns.