Unless your name is Donald Trump, the very thought of a billion dollars is a difficult thing to wrap your hair, er, I mean your head around. I mean, geez, do you realize how many senators you could buy with a billion dollars?
But when a lottery jackpot goes over a billion bucks, it's amazing how many folks try to wrap their heads around it. And, yes, I went all in this past week with one $2 Powerball ticket. The Georgia Lottery tells me to please play responsibly, so I figure the only thing more responsible than NOT playing the lottery at all is to limit it to one ticket a year. Now I'm done buying tickets for 2016.
And the fact that you're reading this right now is a good indicator that (1) you must be really bored and (2) I obviously didn't win a giant Powerball jackpot. Not that I don't enjoy writing this newspaper column once a week, but a win that huge -- literally more than DOUBLE what they pay me to write this -- would require that I make some changes.
For one, I'd have to quit the newspaper business and pursue my dream of becoming a failed novelist. I would have the freedom to pound out books without caring whether they ever sold a single copy. Of course, I'm not sure the ability to sell books in this "Twilight"/"Fifty Shades" literary world we now live in is exactly a compliment to your writing skills. If I were worth hundreds of millions of dollars already, I'd strive to write a great book, not one that would sell anytime soon.
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You wouldn't be able to look at my home and tell I was a multimillionaire. I'd merely be a lottery winner, not a televangelist. Although, in addition to a simple country home on a nice, quiet spread of land, I'd have a little cabin in the mountains and a small condo at the beach.
But I wouldn't have a lot of stuff. A nicer guitar? Yes. Maybe a more comfortable office chair and a rope hammock where I can ponder the next great, unsellable novel. And, granted, my wife would have a few more pairs of shoes.
Mostly, though, I'd buy experiences and memories instead of stuff. I'd travel the world, mostly off the beaten path. I see more concerts and big games while having slightly better views than usual.
And I'd play some mighty nice golf courses.
Still, I'd have hundreds of millions left. That would go to grass-roots charities that get work done -- and not nonprofit corporatized behemoths. And I suspect there'd be a lot of kids from my hometown with new hope for a college education -- the kind of hope that doesn't require bringing in casinos.
However, if I ever won a giant jackpot, there is one selfish thing I'd pursue that only the super-rich can (besides political office): I'd have Jimmy Buffett play my next birthday party.
But, don't worry, I'd have an awful lot of pity for you po folks who couldn't come.
Alas, there's only a 1-in-292-million chance I'll ever win the Powerball. I'm afraid I've got a much better chance of being struck by lightning as I'm bitten by a shark while Jimmy Buffett runs over me with his sailboat. Actually, as my wife points out, that wouldn't even be a rare event for me -- except that it would probably be Joe Blow running over me with a Bass Tracker.
Connect with Chris Johnson at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting, Twitter @kudzukid88 or firstname.lastname@example.org.