A million dollars is not a lot of money. Oh sure, it’s definitely going to get 99 out of 100 people out of debt, but when you look at the problems associated with it, it isn’t nor will it ever, be enough.
So the Ohio Vax-a-million lottery announced me as the $1,000,000 winner as the result of its incentive program to get people vaccinated from COVID-19. So much for anonymity. There it was, right there, my name and city, for Ohio’s 11.7 million residents to see. But let’s be real. The news hit far beyond the boundary lines of this state, thanks to the internet. Social media aka “word of mouth/text/post” in particular.
So what happened next? (Nobody will guess this one wrong.) My phone all but overheated from the constant buzzing of text messages, instant messages, DMs and phone calls from people, congratulating me on my “good fortune”. And within those messages came the requests and the offers, the reminders and the demands:
“Hey buddy, congratulations on your win! I know you ain’t gonna forget ya boy…”
“Hey cuz. You may not remember me, but I’m your 4th cousin, 3x’s removed…”
“Bro, I need you’re help. See, I’m trying to open this chicken & grits shack and need a partner…”
“Hi. You don’t know me, but I’m contacting you in hopes that you can help my family during this medical crisis…”
“Hello sir, I’d like to show you how you can triple your earnings by investing in potato shavings…”
“Hey, it’s me, your co-worker from 15 years ago!”
“Hey, it’s me, your old boss who fired you 5 years ago. I may have been a bit hasty…”
“Hey, it’s your old girlfriend from 30 years ago. I’m pregnant!”
“Brother Davis. AMEN!!! This is Pastor Needabuck checking in on you this blessed morning…”
Then the visits…
And then there are my siblings, my in-laws, their extended relatives, their friends, and so forth and so on.
Now, let’s see where my money went before I answered a single call:
- The greedy-ass IRS took 40% off the top. They didn’t do a thing to earn it, but they got their cut. Goodbye $1M, hello $600K.
- I paid off the house. Down to $500K, if that.
- Been working for myself, these past 4 years, so there’s the recovery from the loss of wages when my health failed, forcing me to leave the general industry and upper management salary behind.
- Medical expenses from my unexpected, uninsured 3-week stay in the hospital for my near-death illness (maybe I’ll talk about that someday).
- Visa, Mastercard and all the other plastic knives in my wallet.
- The cars were on their way out, so I replaced those.
- House repairs, yard work, new furniture, etc.
Yeah, before I knew it, I was down to $200-250K. And mind you, not a single luxury or vacation trip had been purchased for me or mine.
Now let’s look at the future. It’s a good 10 years before I figure I’ll be able to retire. $250K certainly helps, but I’m sure whatever life I’ve got left will use that up in its entirety. I’d want to give some to my sons, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near what I’d like to hand them. Just or shiggles, let’s say I give them $50K each x 4 boys, well…
Oh yeah! Did I mention we’re expecting my first grandchild?
I’d say I’ve got $50K left to and for myself, the equivalent of a year’s salary for many people in today’s world.
$50K to last me for however long, assuming I stopped working, which I can’t and won’t.
Meanwhile, the calls kept coming. The doorbell kept ringing. The FB/IG/Twitter accounts went viral and I stopped reading the inbox messages when I lost count of them.
Everybody sees $1,000,000. That’s ALL they see.
10-20-30 years from now, that’s all they’ll remember and assume I still have $1M.
One million dollars minus the $20,000+ they’re each asking for, because I’ve “got plenty of dough and can afford to swing that”. I’m not even going to begin to think about all of my old high school and college friends, colleagues and former co-workers, with whom I had great relationships. They’re expecting me to look out for them.
I became a Safety Director all those years ago because I care for people, immensely. My job has always been to make life better for everyone around me. In my 25 years in the industry, that amounts to well over 5,000 people that I’ve met and befriended. The majority of them still have my phone number to this day. Dang, I have to change my phone number. I loved that number. Had it over 20 years and I finally got it memorized.
I’ve never been one to turn people away; always doing what I could to help others. They remember that too, so the words “no” and “sorry” will have to become my go-to responses.
Sure, there are ways I could invest my money to increase that initial amount after taxes. But that would involve NOT involving anyone or any entity in my sudden good fortune.
$1,000,000 $50,000. Thank you, IRS. And thank YOU, Vax-a-million. Just couldn’t keep it on the down low. Now everybody knows and everybody hates me (yes, I care). And now I’m stressed out like hell…
Oh well. At least those bill collectors have gone their merry way. Hopefully I can at least make that long-awaited trip to tour Africa.
I just hope nobody there knows anything about Vax-a-million.
Of course, this story is false. You didn’t think I was stupid enough to post about winning money on the internet, did ya? I’m broke as hell, but you get the idea of how it goes down. So if I do, don’t call us, we’ll call you…