Maybe, in retrospect, it is a blessing that you didn’t win after all. I’ve heard that many previous winners have either suffered loss of the entire fortune or suffered other personal losses. One woman purchased a dream sports car with some of her winnings only to have a car wreck that killed her sister, who was a passenger at the time. An elderly gentleman, who was a good-hearted man and couldn’t resist making others feel good, found himself in abject poverty a few years after winning the big pot of cash and was penniless ever after.
Every one of those prospective winners dreamed, if only for a moment, of all the things their newfound riches would bring them should they hold the winning $1 quick pick.
We should all harken back to the Greek fable of the Midas touch. Old King Midas, who already was wealthy, won the right to make any wish he desired come true. His fateful wish was for everything he touched to turn to gold. Sadly, the wish came true. Everything he touched — from his food to his darling daughter — turned to gold at his touch. In the end, he found himself in great despair and wished that his original wish hadn’t come true. Luckily for King Midas, the powers that be reversed the effects of his previous wish and restored his darling daughter to her original form.
The saying, “Be careful for what you wish as it may come true,” is a very powerful saying in this case. Even in our regular humdrum lives of 8-to-5 work Monday through Friday, we often don’t realize the wealth we all have without those quick pick winners. We are all winners just by virtue of the fact that we live a fairly good life in our country. We have our complaints, but when we look around the world at other people, we find that we have it pretty good in comparison.
We all suffer from what I call the “Can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome. We’re all looking at the greener grass on the other side of the fence and never actually smelling the roses on our side. In many ways, we are a spoiled people. We don’t seem to appreciate our lives until and unless we should find our situations totally disrupted, much like people in the Midwest who find themselves in the midst of ruin thanks to a tornado, hurricane or flood.
Ask any of those folks for their reaction to misfortune and they are all thankful for their lives and those of their loved ones. They don’t care about their home, cars or any other material belongings. Sure, they are sorry those things are gone, but almost without exception they will tell you that those things are just things. Those things can be replaced, but their lives and those of their loved ones are more precious than anything they lost.
We can all laugh a little at those throngs of people who waited in endless lines for their chance to get their Mega Millions tickets, but secretly we all know why they were in that line. That quick pick gave them hope. Hope for a better future. They didn’t know what the future holds for them, but they were willing to gamble a dollar to find out.
Secretly, we all were there with them, oblivious to the drawbacks that instant wealth might have brought to us, but we were there nonetheless, weren’t we?
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. He can be reached at email@example.com.