The NYT Wants You To Know You Will Not Win The Lottery

The Times Wants You To Know You Will NOT Win The Lottery

Luck be a lady …

Has the Gray Lady ever been grayer?

You might rekindle your vain hopes of unearned wealth by buying a $2 ticket for the next drawing on Wednesday, with an expected payout that has surged to a staggering, life-changing $1.4 billion.

But keep in mind: Your six numbers will not match, and your finances will stay put, minus $2. …

If you were to win, you could choose an $868 million cash payment or $1.4 billion doled out in annual payments over 29 years. Taxes would slice both by approximately half.

But that isn’t going to happen.

I haven’t really been paying attention to the Powerball nonsense, because my father always disdained lotteries: he told me when I was a kid that they were taxes on people who couldn’t do math. Reading this NYT piece, though, I almost want to side with the people who value Hope over Math, because this smug, know-it-all numbers guy is the worst.

Many lottery players rationally know they won’t hit the jackpot but still seek an escape from their day-to-day life, said Joan DiFuria, a co-founder of the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute, a wealth counseling organization.

“Of course it doesn’t make sense, but there’s a lot of good things you get out of that $2 that you can’t buy anywhere else,” she said.

If you’d like the thrill of not winning without actually spending money, The Los Angeles Times has a Powerball simulator. You’ll lose that too.

Possibly the best part? The author’s last name is Victor.

It seems clear no one’s listening to Mr. Victor anyway since, according to calculations from one of my college friends, the state of the current jackpot indicates that “the AVERAGE PERSON in the US has spent well over $4 on Powerball tickets just since the last jackpot.” Most people are choosing Hope over Math, and will continue to do so, no matter how loudly the NYT clucks and rolls its eyes.

CNBC has a more humane take: assuming you win, what should you do? The first two pieces of advice it gives America’s luckiest person are 1) disappear, and 2) disappear further. That sounds a bit … lonely. Don’t fret, though! The site goes on to suggest that you ditch your job and join a country club.

Sure, because country clubs like nothing more than to throw open their doors for the nouveau riche.

Oh, and get a yacht? This advice is so old-school. If I won the lottery and wanted to celebrate with a creaky but reliable status symbol, I wouldn’t buy a yacht, I’d buy The New Republic. (Zing!)

Here’s my advice for if you win: change as few things as possible, especially for the first wild year. Don’t quit your job; don’t burn bridges; don’t say things you can’t take back. Acclimate to your good fortune as gently and gradually as you can, making small delightful tweaks to your daily routine that improve your quality of life. Otherwise you’ll be like the skier who tries to tackle the tallest peak first and gets altitude sickness.

Definitely buy The New Republic though. Someone needs to and I’d really prefer that person not be Shel Adelson.

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