Playing the lottery

Jim High

My first knowledge of the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries was during my trips to the Masters Golf Tournament with the group from Tupelo.  Sometime during the 1990s as we were approaching Atlanta, we would see the billboards advertising the amount of the lottery for that week which sometimes would be hundreds of millions of dollars. That kind of attracts your attention. Then on the way home from Augusta, GA, we would stop in Atlanta for gas and my friend Len and I would go in and buy lottery tickets. At that time, they were only one dollar per ticket, so I would buy just one ticket for each lottery and Len would buy several tickets for each lottery, I’m not exactly sure how many probably five for each lottery for a total of $10. Then for the rest of the trip home to Tupelo we would argue about who had the most chance of winning the lottery. I took the position that the chance of winning was so great that Len’s five chances were no more valuable than my one chance.  Of course, he thought he had five times as many chances to win as I did. So, we would argue back-and-forth the whole way home. We were both kind of right, because the odds of winning are some 280,000,000 to 1 and having one or five tickets makes hardly any difference at all, but on the other hand five chances is more than one chance.  The argument was the most fun we got out of playing the lottery.  And of course, neither one of us ever one anything other than maybe two dollars or four dollars, so Len lost $10 every year and I only lost $2, so that could make me the winner.  Rob who rode with us never bought a ticket and so he exhibited the axiom that is always absolutely true, you will never win the lottery unless you own a ticket.  After that one time experience each year going to the Masters Golf Tournament, I started buying a ticket every time I would go to Memphis and occasionally when I was at Pickwick Lake, I might run up to Tennessee and buy one ticket.  But now that the lottery has come to Mississippi, I buy a ticket every single time there is a drawing which is twice a week for each of the big lotteries. This cost me $8 per week, because the tickets have gone up to $2 each, and they are two drawings each week for each lottery. So, this is costing me $416 per year.  I buy the same number for all drawing, so I by five weeks at a time or $40, which saves me a lot of trips just to buy tickets. Why do I do this? Well, you can’t win unless you have at least one ticket and eventually someone always wins the lottery. Why can’t it be me? And I have a wonderful time thinking about the money and what I would do with it if I won.  Every week I come up with a different plan of what I would do with all of that money, which just so you’ll know, is mostly to give it away and who to give it away to. Maybe some of you were in my thoughts. And look at it this way it’s only $4.00 two times a week.  And you can go to drink cup of coffee with a friend at Starbucks and spend more than that.  And just thinking about giving away $100 million or $500 million, or in the case of the time the lottery got really big, over $1 billion, that’s even more exciting than visiting your friend for a cup of coffee. One time just a few years ago I got four of the six numbers and I thought oh wow I’ve won a big prize, not the jackpot, but a lot of money. But when I cashed in that ticket getting 4 of 6 balls was worth only $100.  But here’s the kicker, had I gotten that fifth ball right I would have won $1 million and had I gotten that fifth ball and the Powerball, I would have won $85 million, so I was just two balls away from $85 million and only one ball away from $1 million. It’s exciting and there’s value in that excitement. And four time a week I might win it all. What Matters Most…You have to have a ticket to win, but based on the odds, you only ought to buy just one ticket.  Don’t waste your money buying more than one, but at least have one and spend the rest of your life thinking of what you would do with all that money.  It’ll make you a better person.

© 2021#14 - Jim High can be reached at 20 Road 447, Iuka, MS 38852 or call 662-401-1932.

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