Powerball Jackpot Winner: Why This Lottery Brought Out the Best in People, Not the Worst

The latest Powerball jackpot, the largest on record, was nearly $600 million, and two people bought winning tickets.

The improbable, almost unbelievable luck to pick the six winning numbers and suddenly become wealthy breeds a lot of cynicism among the rest of the world, the non-winners. But don’t listen to the naysayers. The fantasy of a better life is more than worth two dollars, even if it almost definitely won’t come true.

I’ve read that the lottery is a scam, I’ve read a list of things more likely to happen than winning, and even an argument that winning the lottery would make you less happy over time because nothing could ever measure up to the happiness you feel when you win. So, avoid happiness so that the mundane will be more exciting? No thanks.

I’ve heard people who buy lottery tickets called ignorant, dupes, pathetic, deluded. 

But what people are missing is that when you buy a lottery ticket, you’re not buying the one in hundreds of millions chance that you’ll win; you’re buying hope, a fantasy, and you’re affirming your belief that maybe you could be lucky. It’s common knowledge that most lotto tickets are bought by poor people, the generally unlucky. So shouldn’t we celebrate the fact that despite all odds, the human capacity for hope is resilient enough for so many people to bet on themselves?

Of course, as with anything, moderation is important. There are people who blow entire paychecks on lottery tickets, almost always with no return. But just because there are alcoholics out there, doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t or shouldn’t enjoy a beer once in a while.

No, you probably won’t win. In fact, you almost definitely will not win. But go ahead. Take a two dollar leap of faith, and spend the next few days fantasizing about what your life would be like if you could afford to pay off your debts, buy your mom a house, and travel the world with thoughts of “what if I could” instead of “too bad I never will.”

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Lilly O'Donnell

Lilly O'Donnell is a freelance writer, currently working on her first book.

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