Money can’t buy hap… Give me my private jet already!!!
The view from the Whitsundays is a treat this morning. From my slow-swinging hammock I can see a breathtaking blend of ocean, beach, rainforest and reef, as I imagine the gridlocked cars of commuters heading into town for a day’s work, just as I used to head into town for a day’s work.
But then I snapped up this private island with petty cash from my Oz Lotto win. I’ve left the place pretty much as it was, though I did have to chainsaw a few palm trees to make space for my runway and Versace windsock. (I made a seven-digit donation to Greenpeace to appease my conscience.)
In fact, as I speak down to you, my private jet is being readied by my personal pilot. I’m golfing in New Zealand this afternoon, before a few days in Hawai… AARRGGHH!! Sorry to startle you but Jeeves just spilt a fine-bone China cup of rare Tibetan tea all over my Savile Row budgie smugglers. Think I’ll fire the ignoramus. Or set the hounds upon him. He can swim to the mainland across the Coral Sea (aka my moat) just as soon as he’s finished peeling those grapes…
We’ve all daydreamed about our winning numbers coming up, about that big red ball rolling our way. Some of us go it alone, playing the same combination of birthdays and wedding anniversaries week in, week out.
Others are in Lotto syndicates at work, putting their hard-earned in the tin every week, safe in the knowledge that they probably won’t win but terrorised by the thought that if they skip a week their colleagues will triumph and they’ll be left answering their phones while they’re in some far-flung archipelago sending boastful postcards stained with caviar and cocktails.
I’m in one of those syndicates. Every so often we win some paltry amount that keeps us believing in the big one. It’s like a random caress from a partner who otherwise ignores you. When I recently went on leave I left enough money to cover the weeks I’d be away. I couldn’t bear the thought of returning to the office to find empty champagne bottles and a list of instructions.
Sadly, however, we are yet to hit the jackpot. And no doubt so are you. So let’s all plod along and hope we win tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that…
As a kid I was taught that money can’t buy happiness. Then I became an adult and realised it sure bloody helps. Even if you’ve never put money first, the rising cost of living and the global financial crisis keep buggering up my list of priorities and dislodging “swimming with dolphins” from first place.
In the past decade the average Australian’s water and sewerage costs have risen by 111 per cent, electricity by 103 per cent, secondary education 95 per cent, medical and hospital services 85 per cent, fuel 68 per cent and veggies 65 per cent. As an adult you screw up your face at the sight of greens for very different reasons than when you were a kid.
These cost of living pressures make that sign outside the newsagent singing of $70 million in one fell swoop more attractive than ever, and it entraps many of us like a deer in Xenon headlamps.
Okay, my Whitsundays whimsy is a tad over the top, and if I won I’d do all the sensible things we all swear we’d do if we won big, such as ensure our family members were comfortable, be charitable to charities, continue to help old ladies across the street, invest wisely, take a break from work but not quit, keep our feet on the ground and not let it change us.
Yep, it’d be regular ole me in that private jet.
Whoops. Sorry. See how tempting it is to dish out the dosh? It’s simply impossible to stay the same when they hand you that gargantuan cheque. Indeed, its size is symbolic. Try casually folding up that sucker, slipping it into your wallet and making a mental note to bank it next time you’re in town.
Keeping things in perspective must be difficult for overnight millionaires. Stories abound of lotto winners whose lives have been ruined rather than improved by an elephantine sum of money suddenly entering their lives.
Take Willie Hurt, for example, whose very name begs a question the answer to which is – yes, he will. The Michigan man won $3.1 million and within two years had divorced his wife, lost custody of his kids, was charged with murder and snorted the last of his winnings up his snoz.
Much better to win an amount that makes you comfortable rather than rich. A former colleague, with whom I wasn’t in a syndicate unfortunately, won Lotto twice. Each time he pocketed about $100,000, which he used to pay off his mortgage, educate his kids, and buy some broccoli.
That would be a sensible Lotto win. But who can blame us if our eyes light up when we see the Oz Lotto jackpot rollover to $70 million? Wouldn’t we all like to see if we could manage the big one?
I’ll tell you how I get on when I win it tomorrow.
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