[The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased a 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 brilliant insights about personal motivation. —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 decimal point.
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 never know.
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.