Just a thought… Luck never gives; it only lends. [Swedish proverb]
I’ve been thinking a lot about a poor, very rich woman in New Hampshire. And, as always, I try to put myself in her shoes, which could be handmade by Christian Louboutin himself from now on, if she so chooses. In case you haven’t heard this woman’s story, here it is in a nutshell: Jane Doe (not her real name) won $560 million US in the recent giant Powerball lottery. And she’s fighting to remain anonymous, although that’s simply not allowed under lottery rules. Says right there in the fine print.
You see, there’s no point in having a multi-million dollar lottery if you can’t have photographers capturing its winner holding a giant fake cheque, while reporters take down details of this person’s former life and how they plan to spend said windfall. (Do you remember the smaller, subsidiary prize that Wintario gave away and called it a “winfall?” That’s messed with my head every time I want to say “windfall” instead ever since. Some 40 years later….)
Back to the Ballad of Jane Doe. She’s active in her New Hampshire community which, if it’s where the ticket was bought, is small with a population of 25,000. You know, one of those little places where most everyone knows everybody else – and their business.
If half of the town doesn’t already know she’s won, this woman’s a better secret keeper than most. But she’s afraid that now she’s signed her ticket (which is the first thing we’re all told to do) she has signed away her rights to anonymity. And unless she wins her bid to stay private, that is exactly the case. Lottery officials say that if they don’t publicize the winner, how do players know that there’s been one and that the whole thing’s legit?
Some of the comments on her story have said, “She should have known this going in…” and I suppose that’s true. But does anyone ever read the fine print or think they’re actually going to win half a billion dollars and then do the mental steps that take them through how that’s going to ruin their lives? Because that is what this woman is afraid of. Her lawyers are even citing beautiful, bucolic New Hampshire’s opioid crisis as evidence that she could be targetted by criminals.
They’re not making this up. More than one lottery winner has been murdered for money; one man, I want to say in Florida (I’ve been reading a lot of lottery stories this week), was shot dead in front of his wife and children by seven people who’d burst into his home. This, after he’d offered to give them his bank card.
And of course, it’s not just criminals. It’s the con artists. It’s the relatives who were “long lost” for a reason. It’s the people who play your guilty conscience like a violin and never let up.
In a way, I feel for this woman, even though I never buy lottery tickets. For the longest time, I maintained that I’d already won the lottery, so why would I? I also had in mind the fact that if I won, everyone would know exactly where to find me and I’m an awfully easy touch when it comes to a sad story or even one of hope or love or…well, you get it.
What would you do? You’ve won half a billion dollars and you’re about to be outed.
I think I’d buy several suites on that floating hotel cruise ship that I wrote about here when it visited Victoria last year. I’d pay for people I love to come and visit (“meet you in Singapore!”) and cruise with us. We’d have a nomadic life but a safe one – a good one. I’d write, I’d welcome family and friends to our floating paradise and start up a foundation to give away as much money as I pleased to the causes and people that mean the most to us.
I wish this woman luck. I mean, she’s already had more than her share; but has it been good luck, I wonder? Talk to you here tomorrow.