Tantalizingly close, but no dice

It’s Pavlovian, really.

Like a dog salivating when a bell is rung, I too begin secreting drool when a lottery jackpot hits a certain height. Oh, the logical part of my brain tells me that it’s a foolish pipe dream to start considering what I’d do with all that loot, but logic kind of takes a holiday when the stakes soar into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The recent $370 million Mega Millions jackpot had my head spinning with possibilities. The news that at least two people had the winning ticket might have dampened my enthusiasm a little, but it didn’t really erase all the daydreaming that was done building up to that rather unfortunate ending for the jackpot.

Oh, that is a lot of money. What would I do with it? Feed the hungry? Donate to a school? Chip in to help with local beach replenishment projects? Or, I could just get that villa I’ve been thinking about and fly in the Norwegian beach volleyball team for my own personal entertainment.

Guess which way I was leaning.

Yes, diamond-encrusted iPods and televisions with screens as wide as the eye can see trumped philanthropy in this instance. Sure, I’d throw some money into different things in this community, but the vast majority would go to ... well, Darin.

I also realized that my money would not be spent all that wisely. See, I’d burn through that cash in my lifetime. Oh, if I had a kid I’d probably sock away a pretty big chunk of it, but, I don’t. Therefore, sit back and take a ride on the most ludicrous spending spree the world has never seen ...

For starters, rest assured, the Coastal Point would be in good hands. Susan Lyons would get my shares, Tricia Titus would run the news and Jonathan Starkey would still be God knows where until he miraculously showed up on Tuesday with 10 good stories in hand. And I’d be screeching tires pulling out of the parking lot, a wicked burst of laughter filling the air.

Well, then I’d probably get stopped by Ocean View police, so we got off to a rocky start on my multi-millionaire transformation, didn’t we?

Feeling properly chastised after my experience with the police, my next move would be to secure an 18-wheeler for my shopping trip to Circuit City. Without getting into details, rest assured that I would have a pretty decent home stereo system.

Now, of course I’d keep my house here, because I obviously love this area. But I’d probably spend a little time at my mansion on the west coast of Ireland, or my estate in Florida or the space station I’d secure so I could sit in complete silence when a football game comes on or I’ve had entirely too many chili dogs on Friday night and ...

But I digress.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I will change pretty quickly if I ever find that much money in my hands, but I like to think I’d remain the same guy at the core. For instance, I’d keep my friends close to me. Shaun Lambert would drive my car for me, John Denny would provide security at my VIP seats in various nightclubs and Brent Poffenberger would navigate through my laundry duties, when he wasn’t busy walking my pug. Sam Harvey would ... well, he’s Sam Harvey. He can just sit on my couch with me and play video games for his paycheck.

Man, I just knew in my soul that this lottery drawing was going to be my key to easy street. No more stressing about bills. No more daydreaming about an exotic lifestyle and taking my friends globetrotting with me. No more drifting off into a mental state where I owned a team of monkey servants, each an expert in his or her field of knowledge, and each a master of martial arts.

Thiiiiis close, I tell you.

Perhaps it’s my destiny not to get that much money at one time. There’s a pretty widely-held belief that I would drink myself to death if given that much disposable income and nothing to do, and I’m also fairly certain that I would blow it all on one bet over which bird jumps off a power line first or how long a snowman will stand in the field before he melts.

But, still, it would have been nice just to pose for that photo with the giant check in my hand and a team of adoring lackeys waiting for me outside. It would have been great to put my parents on easy street or guarantee my little sister that her sons could go to college anywhere they’d like. All I had to do was win that one little lottery drawing.

Maybe I should have bought a ticket, huh?