There’s an occasional lottery pool at work. It’s biweekly (coinciding with the pay periods), and it’s for the Mega Millions.

In the last two weeks, it’s been focused instead, on the growing PowerBall jackpot. I think we did drawings for last Saturday (not a pay period) and again on Wednesday (also not a pay period) and again yesterday.

Usually, five or six people will throw in for the biweekly pool. On Friday, sixteen people had thrown in, including one person who threw in five dollars for five shares of the prize. That, I guess, is confidence. Or madness.

Suffice it to say, the office lottery pool didn’t win. Nor, for that matter, did anyone, much to my surprise. (I expected that, somehow, every possible number combination would’ve been bought.) The jackpot, which had been in the neighborhood of $750 million on Friday and grew to $950 million by the times the lottery balls fell, has now grown to $1.3 billion.

I imagine, even though it’s a Wednesday, that we’ll have a lottery pool for the drawing. Perhaps we’ll reach twenty people throwing in. A coworker will say something about how we’re accruing “lottery karma” and this is our turn to win.

I’ll throw in a dollar, if there is a pool. It’s either that or the vending machine. Maybe I’ll buy one separately. Maybe. That would raise my chances from (essentially) zero to (essentially) zero.

The odds are ridiculously long. Statistically speaking, no one wins the lottery.

NPR breaks down some of the other numbers — like the point at which the lottery becomes a progressive, rather than a regressive, consumption tax — which is fun.

What would I do? Let’s say the pool won? What would I do? It’s an absurd amount of money.

I’ve joked in the past about buying a minor league baseball team, but I can’t really see myself doing that. That’s a mad, absurd idea that you have when you’re having mad, absurd ideas — and, really, what would I do with it?

Here’s what I have so far, in no particular order.

  1. Buy some LEGO sets.
  2. Buy a new television, something flatscreen and high-def because the one I have is not.
  3. Refresh my wardrobe. Target has nice polos and pants. Also, Kohl’s.
  4. Buy a chess table.
  5. Buy a replica Isle of Lewis chess set, either the one sold by the National Museum of Scotland or the British Museum. (They are different as they model different pieces. It occurs to me that I could, of course, buy both.)
  6. Replace the Beetle.

Those are the immediate things.

Then there are some big picture things.

I would want to move to DC.

I would travel. I could spend months, even a year, in Europe. Or I could do an epic baseball road trip.

I would set up trust funds for relatives and loved ones.

I would give money to various charities, like Médecins Sans Frontiéres and other humanitarian relief agencies. I might even endow a chair at a university.

And I would invest There would be a lot of money to invest, and far too much to spend in any sort of sensible way.

I can’t say these are dreams; that would imply an emotional investment in them. More like ideas.

Even ideas, though, are healthier than the Party Mix out of the office vending machine.

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