Thursday, July 18, 2013

Notes on never winning the lottery

There's probably no way I'm going to win the lottery, seeing as I've never bought a ticket (thereby making the probability of my winning only slightly less than those who buy a ticket on a weekly basis). Of course, many people do the lottery. I know loads of people who do it, funnily enough it's either people who have money or people who don't (I know, I've just described everyone). Those who do have money (ie a job, savings etc), I don't know, the things they would do with the money (used to be a favourite Friday afternoon game at work, "if I won the lottery…") are actually things they could probably do already if they really wanted (travel, say, or buy a sports car or a place in France). These people seem to lack imagination or the courage to take a risk with their savings. They're afraid. They can safely rely on never winning the lottery ("Oh, if only I won the lottery I'd…") and putting off indefinitely the things they really want to do. For those who do it and don't have money (ie they're poor), I say to them: don't bother and save your money. For many, doing the lottery becomes like an addiction and a trap. They have the same numbers they use every week. It becomes impossible not to do it every week: for the week they don't do it, their numbers will come up.

In a way, the narrow minded Brits who insist it's not going to change their lives are right: even if they do build a swimming pool in their semi-detached, they're still living in the same house, in the same town. They'll buy a better car or two but they're the same people: sure, they'll have more holidays and buy nice clothes and gadgets but they'll always be limited by their imagination. It's doubtful they'll buy an island, a Van Gogh, give 90% of their winnings to charity, open an orphanage, buy a small, poor country (Iceland, Greece), make a film or start a record label. They won't suddenly socialise with the Beckhams or the rich and glamorous in St Moritz or Monte Carlo. The Scottish couple who won £161m a few years ago (and celebrated with a single glass of white wine) are looked on as 'lottery winner role models' (ie they're boring). Although saying they'd never change house, they eventually moved round the corner to a larger abode with pool and cinema. Apparently the Weir's have done some good: they gave their old house to neighbours, bought cars for friends and gave some (not a lot) money to charities. Right, by my calculations that only leaves them about £150m left to spend, not counting interest. God, why not give £100m away? In some ways I have more respect (or sympathy) for Michael Carroll, self-proclaimed 'King of Chavs' who blew it all on cars, drugs, gambling and prostitutes (after saying he'd buy a modest house and take up fishing). He's now bankrupt, has attempted suicide twice and is back on jobseeker's allowance. Well, it was only £9m. Doesn't last long nowadays.


Caspar said...

The Scottish couple who won £161 a few years ago

That is a spelling mistake, right?

Barnaby said...

Correct. Many thanks once again Casper, though I would also celebrate with a single glass of white wine if I won £161.