Friday, December 28, 2018

COLUMN: A Billion


By the time you read this, someone somewhere is a newly minted lottery BILLIONAIRE. I bought a ticket. They say the odds of winning are less than getting struck by lightning twice in your life. I haven't been struck by lightning even ONCE yet, so the way I see it, I'm due.

Whether it's me or not, I'm sure we've had a Mega Millions winner by now, and all of us have had our pipe dreams duly shattered and are back to earning the incomes of mere mortals. But I'm writing this column a full week ahead of time. In MY current reality, we still have two days until the drawing and there's a ticket in my hand. The possibility currently exists that I'm days away from being a billionaire.

A pretty THIN possibility, sure, but a possibility nonetheless. I'm no physicist, but I guess I'm sort of like a walking version of Schrodinger's cat. But this time, it's Schrodinger's Lottery. Since the outcome depends upon a series of random balls ping-ponging around, and since said outcome has yet to be determined, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests that right NOW, the ticket in my pocket is both a winner AND a loser, since it hasn't been observed in one state or the other. I am, in this moment, both an inconsequential average earner AND a billionaire with enough money to literally shape the destiny of the future.

That's pretty sweet.

I know, a columnist writing about the lottery is about as played out as a comedian riffing on airplane food. But this is no normal lottery. This is a BILLION dollars. If I won a million dollars, I would jump up and down, scream til I was hoarse, and probably die from shock. If I won a BILLION dollars, I'm pretty sure I'd just start laughing. That's a comically absurd amount of money for one person to possess.

If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I might take a vacation to Bora Bora. If I won a BILLION dollars, I might be able to BUY Bora Bora. I can't even wrap my head around that kind of money. Whoever wins this prize could create foundations and charities that could SERIOUSLY help the world. You could fund scientific studies that could eradicate any number of horrible diseases.

...OR...

There are some who say that laughter is the best medicine -- and I'm pretty sure I can come up with some HILARIOUS ways to blow through a billion dollars.

For instance, I'd buy up as much New York real estate next to Trump Tower that I could. Then it's just a matter of constructing an identical skyscraper. Except mine would be ONE floor taller. And I'd name it something like "The Obama Spire," just to see Trump's face grow another shade of orange. Love him or hate him, wouldn't you want to see THAT Twitter-storm? Of course, we may want to wait until he's OUT of office. When I said I wanted to reshape destiny, accidentally causing World War III via temper tantrum wasn't what I had in mind.

Maybe I'd track down Tommy Wiseau. You know about "The Room," right? Universally accepted to be perhaps THE single worst movie of all time, "The Room" is SO bad that viewing it is one of life's great pleasures. Wiseau is the astonishingly untalented writer, director, financier, and actor behind this most rotten of tomatoes. It's said Tommy spent eight million of his own money making "The Room." Imagine what could happen if he spent $100 million of MY money on a sequel. Sure, some characters didn't make it out of the original alive, but I guarantee people returning from the dead wouldn't be the least crazy thing in "The Room 2." The world needs to see Tommy Wiseau interacting with CGI dinosaurs, I'm just saying.

And speaking of incredibly talentless people, I'd say it's about high time I record my debut album. I might not have a lick of musical talent, but when has that ever stopped someone with $1.6 billion in his wallet? With fancy producers and some auto-tune, I can probably make a banger or two. And if not, I know how it'll sell regardless. Paul McCartney's headed our way next year. Macca could SNEEZE on a record and countless Beatle completists would line up to buy it. I just need to find out how much Sir Paul charges to record sneezes. Sample it, loop it, rap over it, top the charts, date Taylor Swift, dump Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift records a hate album about me, and finally I attain my dream status as a certified Hollywood Bad Boy.

Oh, and as for Paul McCartney: if I won the lottery, Paul would be staying for a SECOND night at the TaxSlayer Center -- I mean the Shane Brown Is Awesome Center -- and THOSE tickets wouldn't go for $200 a pop. REAL Beatles fans don't have that kind of disposable income because they're already in debt with basements full of 180-gram Japanese import vinyl records. Instead, I'd give all the tickets away for free, provided you score high enough on the giant Beatles trivia quiz that I'd publish in this very paper.

The news has spent all week going back and forth telling us how great it is to win the lottery but then how TERRIBLE it is to win the lottery. For every happy winner, there's horror stories about lottery windfalls leading to murders and lawsuits and bankruptcies.

So maybe it's best that I don't win the big payout. After all, if I could ever beat THOSE odds, I'd suddenly start being REALLY afraid of lightning.

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