by Matt Worley
My joke was that there would be a bunch of people who woke up with a lottery hangover on Saturday. They'd find themselves broke...but not actually hungover because they spent all their money on tickets instead of booze.
And then I realized they'd probably buy some booze, too.
Since I work with (not for, but sometimes that distinction isn't much) the New Mexico Lottery, I couldn't personally buy tickets. It's pretty easy to get around the rules (have someone who doesn't live with you buy tickets...as long as you trust them to share), so I had as much chance as anyone else to win the world record breaking jackpot that drove much of the nation crazy late last week.
And when I mean crazy, I mean people in New Mexico spent more than a buck for every man, woman, and child in the state on the Mega Millions game. On Friday. Just one day. For the record, there are a little more than two million people living in New Mexico (and trust me, it was a much smaller percentage of the population who bought those tickets).
It was the biggest one day sales day since the company I work for got the contract.
Of course, I won't get a bonus or probably even a raise this year.
I'll explain that statement in the future when I'm not working for my company or with the lottery anymore. I've thought that day would come sooner rather than later, but so far I've been stuck where I am.
Which is about as frustrating as finding out Saturday morning that the $100 you spent on the lottery only netted you about $10 in wins. Okay, it's actually way more frustrating.
One would think the lotteries and all of the other companies that work with lotteries would be happy about this big payday. But Wednesday through Friday last week was one of the most stressful periods since our company took over. I sometimes thought people were going to spontaneously explode from the amount of stress. And most of it was self-inflicted. Which just makes it worse.
It was a relief to find out around 9:30 on Friday night that it was all over. The jackpot was hit, and it was done. Three winning tickets in three different states (and none of them were New York or Massachusetts). Which means there won't be one big winner, but a few smaller (but still pretty big) winners.
And that's cool.
Years ago, when Powerball was at a big jackpot and there was a bit of craziness in the air (it was, obviously, less than this jackpot, but big nonetheless), Keith Olbermann ended his show with a screed against lotteries and how stupid it was to even put a dollar down. He was fired on Friday, which I found kinda funny. I didn't get the channel he was fired from, so I have no idea how he'd been conducting himself over his less than a year there. But I'm wondering if he broke his own rule after getting fired. Y'know, just throw a buck down. You just got fired.
Anyway, it'll be a while before there's anything like this that dominates pretty much every conversation, Internet story or live TV show. It didn't matter what I turned on or read. The lottery. The jackpot. Mega Millions. It was somehow everywhere.
Or maybe it felt like that because of my job.
Did you throw down a buck?
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