[The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. We continue this entertaining series with Daniel’s discovery of his own mortality. —Ed].
By Daniel Will Harris
I finally know what will motivate my wife to happily run errands:
$193 million dollars. Give or take a few million.
Today she actually volunteered to run errands so should could
buy lottery tickets as the jackpot was higher than the GNP
of many third world countries. And it was even raining! She
normally avoids going out in the rain as if it could melt
a person like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. But today the
rain was just water and it wasn't going to stand between her
and untold millions.
My friend George always said he didn't want to win the lottery
for less than $90 million. He said what with taxes being taken
out and all, anything less just wasn't worth it.
My wife is a bit more realistic—she was interested
in the jackpot even when it was a measly $80 million. So we
went out a week ago to buy tickets. No one won. We went out
again three days later to buy more tickets when the jackpot
neared $120 million. No one won.
But I had a lot of work to do and didn't want to go (despite
the one-in-forty-million chance of winning more than enough
money to buy a Senator). So she said, "Then I'm going
by myself—but don't expect me to tell you if I win."
Now, my wife has always said that if she won she wouldn't
tell anyone that she won—but in the past that didn't
include me. She didn't want crazies, friends or relatives
calling and asking where their 10 million is, then being disappointed
when they only get a million.
She's got a point—except when the point gets so sharp
she won't tell me, then that's going too far. I'm forced to
remind her of a little thing under California law called "Community
Property" which means that I get half of the winnings
even if she goes out by herself to buy the ticket.
This didn't seem to concern her. She claimed she could keep
it a secret from me, but I think that when contractors arrive
to build a new sun-room I might get suspicious, and should,
even if one small Tiffany-blue box arrives Fed Ex. Even I
would know something was afoot.
Personally, I think that a $193 million dollar jackpot is
simply excessive unless, of course, I win it, in which case
it sounds pretty good. But really, wouldn't it be better to
spread it around—have 193 people win a million, instead
of one winning 193?
See—I'd be happy with a million. I'd be happy with
a half a million. I'd be happy with any positive number that
has at least three zeros, even if one of them is after the
Of course, I tend to think that best part of the lottery
is that it gives me a seemingly good reason to dream about
how I'd spend money I'll probably never see. I wonder if the
dreamy anticipation is actually better than the reality. Of
course, for me to know for sure I'd have to win, so I may
I do know, though, how my sense of money has changed over
the years—which makes me think I could get jaded after
a while. A long time ago $5 was a huge amount of money to
me. Then it was $50. Now $500 seems like a lot, $5,000 a whole
lot, and $50,000 a whole heck of a lot.
I read a bunch of stuff online that said that lottery winners
weren't happier after the initial thrill of winning. I find
that hard to believe. I know that money can't buy you happiness,
but I imagine it could buy something resembling happiness.
OK—my wife's back, she's actually shown me the numbers—at
least this seems to be a real ticket. I looked up the winning
numbers on the web and our numbers are exceptional only because
not a single one matches any of the ones on my wife's ticket
(notice it's her ticket now).
I guess this means we'll have to continue being bottom-feeders
in the retail ecosystem. That's OK—hunter-gather shopping
is primal fun. Last week I bought my wife a fun faux fur coat
for a mere $40. But it's relative—right? I thought that
$40 was cheap—but 90% of the world thinks $40 is a whole
heck of a lot of money. So I guess I'm lucky after all.