Fantasy Life


April 6, 2000

The pool for the drawing for yesterday's California lottery was $23 million dollars. I bought five quick-pick tickets for the drawing. I don't usually buy lotto tickets unless the jackpot is over $16 million.

The California lottery gives you the option to take a lump sum payment of your winnings, called Cash Value, or you can take your payments over 20 years. The thing with the Cash Value is that your payment is reduced by half. Otherwise you take your payments in equal installments over 20 years. I always opt for Cash Value since I don't think the lottery commission will still be viable in 20 years.

So $16 million pool means $8 million. After taxes and whatnot you're probably down to $5 million. Anything less then that, and you can't really quit your job and live the life. I don't mean to sound all greedy and stuff. I just think it's realistic. Realistic if you want to live in Southern California. I think you could probably do fine if you moved to the Midwest or something, but not here in sunny So Cal.

Yesterday's jackpot was $23 mill. Half that puts me at about $12.5 mill, after taxes were looking at probably $8-$10 million. Yeah, I could retire on that.

So as I said I bought some tickets. I went to the dirty, nasty cigarette store and got them there.

I have this theory: never buy lottery tickets in a good neighborhood. People in Beverly Hills don't win the lottery. People in Sylmar and Sunland do. OK, there was one time when someone from BH won, but it's the exception that proves the rule. I don't know who the winner from BH was, but I have hoped every single day from the day I heard that news that it was someone's maid or gardener. It was a pretty big jackpot as I recall.

I didn't check my numbers last night. Actually, after the purchase was made I didn't give the whole lotto thing another thought. Frankly, I realized when I got in the car to drive to work this morning, I had left the lotto ticket sitting on the dashboard of my car.

So I'm driving to work this morning. Traffic was particularly sucky and I was already late. (This daylight savings thing is absolutely kicking my ass. I've been late every single day this week.)

I'm sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the 5 Fwy. South and I see my lottery ticket. Suddenly I'm filled with absolute certainty that I've actually won the lottery. I mean I'm sure. I know that I'm going to get to the office, check the numbers and find out that I'm $23 million dollars richer.

I was the picture of calm. The whole way into the office I'm thinking, planning, and fantasizing about it. It's a nice chunk of change. I made a mental list:

Quit my job.
New house in Malibu on the beach.
Big screen TV.
Hire a decorator.
New cars.
Lots of traveling.

I was filled with a sense of calm and surety. Like I said, I was SURE.

Here's the other part of the whole lotto fantasy: walking into the office and telling everyone that I won and that I quit. That part is followed by the best part, the part that is better than quitting my job and getting new and fabulous stuff. It's the part where I walk into the office of each person in my office and tell them EXACTLY WHAT I THINK OF THEM.

I would be burning bridges so fast that the fire department couldn't keep up with me.

Well, I finally checked the numbers. I didn't win the lottery. But you know what, I've never enjoyed a drive into the office more.

Until next time...