Ten Good Reasons to Lose the Lottery: Why Bad Luck Might Just be Good

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10. My Cat. Winning the lottery would be awful for Beats, my 15-year old mackerel tabby. Our old house is the only home he’s ever known Beats is Lord and Master of his Castle, adorned with human food servers and door attendants, an anti-dog fence, ceremonial outdoor crapping grounds, and–the reason our cellar door is always shut–a spare litter box crawlspace under the kitchen. I could never take him away from the only world he has ever known.

9. Security. I’m thinking armed guards. Imagine a lottery winner living in a diverse neighborhood–that’s what you call a city block where two people have been murdered, and a third was sent away for the deed in the last two decades.The vandals who regularly loot my 1996 minivan would have to upgrade to figuring out the gull-wing doors of a Lamborghini. And the construction noise from building all those gun turrets might send Bud next door over the edge. My neighbors would go from this pleasant state of indifference and suspicion to downright resentment and hatred.

8. Relatives. These people are bad enough if you aren’t rich. I’m sure they are worse if you are.

7.Unearned Bucks are Bad for Babies. I don’t care that they are adults. Once Dad and I began to wiggle our hineys into comfortable excess, the whining would begin. I’m all for giving people a leg up, but putting both my kids’ feet up and hiring someone to mix margaritas and order NetJets: uh, no thanks.

6. Business Schemes. People with all kinds of ideas will want me to finance them. I will tell them they are crazy stupid. They will get mad. I will be lonely.

5. I want to be disliked for who I am. Or liked for the same reason. I am not sure I would even like ME for myself if I had millions and millions of dollars. From my internal dialogue, I can say with certainty that I am not incredibly fond of myself anyway.

4. The Parade of the Curious (or worse). Sometimes people slow down to look at our old house. It’s pretty big, it’s decorated with exceptional cats, and it’s got a funky paint job. It’s hard enough trying to talk my husband into wearing underwear and stop waving to gawkers from the upstairs guest room. I would not want pictures of my buck naked butt-scratching nouveau-riche husband in a tabloid.

3. The Total Loss of Anonymity. In Great Falls I can still go places where I don’t know everyone. Yep, someone I know usually stops by my table at a restaurant or waves at me when I’m walking around downtown. The baristas at Starbucks know my drink by heart. My iced half-caf soy cocoa cappuccino would curdle in my gut if people slowed down just to point at my Day-Glo orange Lamborghini. It would make me so sad to have to build my own personal Starbucks in the backyard.

2. Fear of Kidnapping. See #10, #9, #6, #5 and #1. If kidnapping involves #8 or #7, please note that you have already been written out of my will. If it involves #10, my precious Beats, I will hunt you down and scratch your eyes out, force you to defecate in a sandbox and declaw you: this is no small matter, since declawing is essentially surgical extraction of your digits down to the first joint.

1. The Curse. West Virginia Lottery winner Jack Whitaker’s ex-wife said, after his granddaughter was found dead and over $100 million in winnings was squandered, that she should have torn up the ticket. Jeffrey Dampier, a $25 million lottery winner, was kidnapped and murdered by his sister-in-law. Winners Ken and Connie Parker’s 16-year-old marriage disintegrated within months of cashing the jackpot. Right in Sun Prairie, a stone’s throw from Great Falls, back in 1995, a 77-year old man died only a week after cashing his first Lottery check.

Face it, fellow losers: sometimes it’s more fun to dream about winning than it is to deal with it.

A Brief Case for Alien Invasion

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I’m putting a call out to any little green men within shouting distance: please invade Earth. Our entire planet is in trouble. Ocean levels are rising. Food crops are being co-opted. Overpopulation and pollution are acknowledged global threats. Human rights abuses and terrorist acts, domestic violence, mass shootings, coups, jihad and organized genocide take turns at being our Disaster Du Jour. Our dependence on fossil fuels can be compared to addiction; we might change our dealer, our dose, or our hydrocarbon of choice, but we have no plans, at least for the next couple of hundred years, of giving up the jobs and energy that dead dinosaurs provide.

What we need is something to unite us, a common enemy to force us to clean up our acts, to make us think twice about the things that pull us apart. Where Nelson Mandela, Black Elk, Mother Theresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King have failed, I am hoping the Threat of Little Green Men will succeed. Because most of us in the developed world have a comfortable routine, we trust that, at the last minute, someone will spare us the obvious inconvenience of rescuing us from ourselves.

There’s plenty of time, right? Everyone who’s ever seen a Hollywood blockbuster knows, before we even deserve to be rescued, things have to get really bad. Living in the majesty of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, among the great peoples of the Great Plains, it’s hard to ask–are we there yet? Our earth has experienced at least five mass extinctions. These events occur when changes in the planet outpace the present species’ ability to adapt. Some of these extinctions were unquestionably extraterrestrial (asteroids, not aliens–gotcha).

We wouldn’t have time to fight among ourselves if there was a credible interstellar threat. We’d have to get in shape, conserve energy, and, instead of lavishing media attention and money on entertainers and sports heroes, we’d be forced to value cooperation and critical thinking skills–and possibly, good aim. Humans unite during a crisis: it can sometimes take the worst of us to bring out our greatest assets, our kindness and courage. Give me the threat of an alien ray gun aimed at our bare human behinds, and we might come together to save the entire world.