By John-Paul Marciano
Not too long ago I bought a lottery ticket when the jackpot was north of $800 million dollars. On the way home I thought, “What if I really won?” What a scary thought that was. After all, we’re talking at more than $400 million after taxes. That’s a lot of money.
It took me a while but eventually I became comfortable with the possibility of winning such an enormous amount. It didn’t take long to start thinking about what I would want to buy. Of course, with that kind of money there wouldn’t be much I couldn’t afford. And I could get exactly what I want, exactly the way I want it because I can afford it. Since the choices would be endless, I decided on a list of my top three choices.
Number one on my list was a black Ferrari, but not just any Ferrari. I want the one they say, “If you have to ask how much it costs you can’t afford it.” As part of the deal I would want to buy hot laps at the Circuit of the Americas, the Formula 1 race track in Austin, Texas. Call me crazy, but what good is a car that can go 200 M.P.H. if you can’t drive it that fast?
Next on the list would be three homes all in warmer locales than my current home. Of course, I would keep my current home because I like where I live and can think of no good reason to sell it. You might be asking, “Why three homes? Doesn’t that count as three separate purchases?”
Well, why not? I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted a place in Argentina, Australia or the northern Mediterranean coast (preferably Italy or Spain). So why choose just one when I can afford to buy three? And I don’t see it as three separate purchases. For accounting purposes I can just lump them all under the heading “Living Expenses.”
I came up with the last item on my list because I was thinking, “How would I get to my new homes?” Flying on commercial airlines is such a hassle these days, even if you’re flying first class. Who wants to check-in and hang around the airport until they board the flight? And buying my own jet seems a little too extravagant, even if I can afford it. It occurred to me that an 80 or 100-foot-yacht would do the trick just fine.
But then I started thinking the Ferrari is going to break down, the houses will need to be maintained, and, with my luck, the yacht will probably sink. And, truth be told, all this stuff will just complicate my life. Who needs the hassle? How depressing to have all this money and nothing to buy.
So I decided to sleep on it, hoping I would find something worthwhile. When I woke up the next morning it dawned on me that what I really wanted to do was find an inner city kid with a lot of promise and a dream without the means to fulfill that promise or achieve the dream. Why not change the direction of that kid’s life and buy him or her the best education money can buy? It would be money well spent and a worthwhile endeavor.
The next day I checked my tickets and naturally I didn’t hit the jackpot. Heck, I couldn’t even manage a $2 winner. Twenty-five years ago the New York Lottery advertised, “All you need is a dollar and a dream.” In today’s inflated dollars that dream now costs two dollars. Was it worth it? For the same two dollars I can place a bet on a horse in the Kentucky Derby which takes about three minutes. My fantasy lasted two days. So, yeah, I’d say it was worth every penny.