Winning ticket doesn’t guarantee anything

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Of the countless tickets across the country that were sold for the $15 million Mega Millions lotto drawing, there was just one winner.

That one winner did not come from a far-away place, but instead pretty close to home.

At Jeep Fuel in South Webster — the tiny Scioto County village with a population of about 800 — one lucky soul decided to pick six numbers that will change him or her forever.

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Whatever the reason 13, 24, 39, 51, 52 and a Mega Ball of 44 were chosen, it turned out to be good a good choice.

The Associated Press reports the winner has not been revealed. I often wondered what I would do if I had such a ticket in my hand.

Knowing that I was walking around with a multi-million dollar piece of paper would not exactly be something I would shout from the rooftops either.

I think I would get in my car and quietly drive to wherever I needed to be without telling anyone about my prize.

I think a conversation at a lottery office might go something like this:

“Um, sir, I need to talk to someone,” I would say.

“About what?” a clerk would ask.

I would in a very calm manner bring out the ticket before shouting, “About making myself filthy rich!”

In reality, I think most people would struggle with what to do with that much money.

Oh sure, everybody would pay their bills (and some bills for relatives and close friends), give some to charity, buy a house, a car or other desireables.

But after Uncle Sam got his share, there would be a lot of money to manage. For me, it would be time for a professional.

I think the instructions to a trusted attorney might be something like this: “OK, here you go. Here’s the dough. Here’s my list of what you have to do to make me happy. Now, make it happen champ!”

But I suspect what would make a lottery winner happy would be as varied as the numbers on the balls that pop out of those machines.

After the responsible things are taken care of and security for everyone around them is established, there comes a time when winners sit back and wonder what in the heck to do with all that money.

Would it be to invest in a worthwhile project that would change a community forever?

Would it be to devote a substantial portion to research that could help eradicate a disease?

Would it be to live on easy street, travel the world carefree and make a habit of having sand between your toes?

Would it be something else?

Everyone has thought about what to do if they had an unlimited amount of funds.

But for those of us who will never get the opportunity to cash in a big ticket, well, we’ll just have to keep plugging away.

I was always taught that money alone cannot bring a person happiness, and that is something I truly believe.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t, as long as the good fortune that comes someone’s way goes in some measure to help others.

As we have seen in profiled examples, lottery winners’ lives do not always get better. In fact, sometimes they fall apart.

So here’s to hoping that one lucky soul in South Webster is wise in choosing how that money is spent.

And if it is, then they can truly be considered lucky.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441, ext. 12, or by e-mail at