Monday, October 31, 2005

COLUMN: Powerball


Despite investing a very hard-earned twenty dollars into last week's Powerball, I am not, it turns out, a kajillionnaire. I don't understand it. With twenty plays at 1-in-120,526,770 odds, I thought I was a lock for the payout. Oh, merciless fate, your cruel hand taunts me so.

No, instead of someone worthy (AHEM!) getting the dough, somebody in Oregon is the proud new owner of $340 million dollars. I have an ex in Oregon. With the way my luck flows, it'll probably be her. $340 million dollars. Stop and think about that for a second. That is, to use the vernacular, a buttnard of money.

ONE million dollars is officially more than I would know what to do with. Multiply that times 340. That makes Regis seem like chump change, doesn't it? "Who Wants To Be a Millionnaire?" Not me. I wanna be a $340-millionnaire now. Thanks, Powerball, for upping the stakes. That kind of payout makes "Survivor"'s meager one million seem completely NOT WORTH IT. Spend a month stranded on a remote island? No thanks, not when I can make 340 times that by just walking into a Kwik Shop and throwing down a buck, eh?

Staggering odds aside, the Powerball jackpot has been the front and center topic of conversation over the past two weeks. It might start as small talk, but it always ends up at the same question, doesn't it? Say it along with me, gang: "So What Would YOU Do With 340 Million Dollars?" You might have your own pipe dreams, but I've got some ideas of my own.

First off, let's skip all the touchy-feely, namby-pamby stuff that we'd all do with a bazillion bucks. YES, my folks would be taken care of for life. YES, I'd give some serious money to charity (or at least to the fine folks at NPR.) YES, my friends would all get new cars. But let's face it, with this kind of jackpot, you could take care of all that stuff and STILL have a vigintillion dollars left over to blow. With that mindset, a few thoughts:

• I would, immediately and without hesitation, buy up every radio station in town, thus allowing me to rule the airwaves from my living room every night. Radio Free Shane: The music that I want you to hear, when I want you to hear it. Hate the song? Change the dial, I dare ya. I'll be on the next frequency, too. And it's nothing against the local DJ's either; in fact, I'll even throw in a free plug and admit that I'm addicted to Jeff & Missy's morning show on B100. But the simple sad truth is that owning the airwaves is the most effective tool I can think of to turn you all into my brainwashed minions so that you all can carry out my evil bidding. Hey, everybody needs a career path, and Evil Ruler of Earth sounds like a good choice for a jillionnaire.

• That kind of dough might finally buy me some leverage with this whole Katie Holmes thing. Or it would have, had she not recently become impregnated with Tom Cruise's devil seed. I might be an aspiring Evil Ruler of Earth, but I'm not about to break up the engagement of an expectant celebrity. Therefore, there's only one obvious option: hire some scientists to build a time machine. Then I just roll back in time and stop the TomKat atrocity before it starts. Easy peasy.

• How much money do you suppose it would take to coerce Britney Spears and her skeevy husband into just going away forever? That's worth at least a zillion dollars in my book.

My co-workers here at the paper chipped into a pool to buy Powerball tickets. However, since I work later hours than they do, they FORGOT TO ASK ME IF I WANTED IN. Now THAT would be just my luck, coming into work to find out I'm the only NON-millionnaire employee left. Then again, if I was the only one still working at the paper, that would mean that every week I could babble on... and on... and on... Hmm, there's more than ONE way to make you all my minions. (Cue evil laugh.) BWAA HA HA HA. Don't worry, none of us won. Sigh. So I'll see ya next week. Have a happy (and, sadly, a fiscally responsible) Halloween

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