Winning the Lottery, but at What Price?

I remember distinctly the moment I realized that I possessed the power to win the lottery. All I needed to do was purchase a single ticket, and my accumulated quota of luck would be siphoned off in exchange for an immediate financial windfall.

The Powerball was at record numbers (something like $400 Million), and the headlines were tantalizing: just 48 hours until the winning number would be drawn. Everyone, it seemed, was picking up tickets at the local convenience stores, because “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

I know how crazy it sounds, but I tell you this with full sincerity: I know that if I bought a lottery ticket, I would win the lottery.  But I would win by abusing my good luck for materialistic gains.

Between chapters

At the point in time of the aforementioned jackpot, I was going through something of a transition between chapters in my life. I had reluctantly left the comfortable (but stressful) home-based business I built up over the course of eleven years, and pursued the much less civilized, unpredictable lifestyle of a contractor in the oilfield. My marriage of ten years ended just a few months after that, and I was left with debt exceeding six figures.

Yet, I flourished during that transition period.  The challenges of the new career and the volatile, unpredictable lifestyle forced me to step up my game.

  • I am lucky: I found a talent for the work I was tasked to do with minimal input or oversight, and I was consequently promoted rapidly.  I was lucky, too, in that I found real enjoyment in the work that I did.
  • I am lucky:  I have a wonderful relationship with my family, and I have a circle of treasured friends.
  • I am lucky:  I have had countless close-calls and near-misses working on an active drilling rig, and on the high-traffic roads of the oil patch. I remain unscathed and healthy.
  • I am lucky:  I never believed in the concept of “falling in love” but after my divorce was finalized, I met an amazing coworker who shared my work ethic and life values, and who I indeed fell in love with.

A simple self-assessment tells me that I am already a lottery winner, just by blind virtue of when and where I was born.

My prettier half’s stance

When I discuss this with my RaeLea, she usually responds with a hint of incredulity. I cannot blame her for doing so!  After all, what manner of creature would make such a bold claim of prescience–and then pass it up?

“Who’s to say your luck would be exhausted if you won?”  She asks.

“It’s a hunch.  I don’t know, it just makes sense to me that when we earn karma, it should not be spent in such a way.”

“I am willing to take that chance,” she sometimes tells me.

I half jest: “That is why I am the one who is tasked with managing the luck in this relationship!”

It’s not as though I don’t appreciate money; I am an unapologetic capitalist, after all.  It’s also not that I didn’t believe that I could put such a windfall to good use, either.  I like to think that I would be sensible with my investments and that I would not allow my new fortune to become a misfortune.  But then again, isn’t that what every lottery winner believes?

Regardless, I will never confirm this admittedly wild thesis I have; I will never prove that this mystical belief I have shared with you today is actually real or simply the machinations of my overactive imagination.  To confirm this would mean purchasing a lottery ticket and I have too much to lose and comparatively little to gain by doing that.

I won’t squander my karma, and I won’t deplete my good luck because I would miss it when it is gone.

What about you?  If you believed that you would win a $400 Million dollar lottery, but that in so doing your karma might be damaged, would you purchase a lottery ticket anyway?

About Frank Hurt

A woman once told him, "Frank when you grow up you're going to be brilliant and handsome."

It turns out Frank's mother is pretty good at predicting the future. Almost as good as Frank is at writing his own bio in third-person perspective.


  1. So to try to put some form of measurement to this, you think you have $400 million dollars worth of luck and once used up you would then have $0 worth after that. So you feel you need to not use up that luck? To spend that luck slowly? Spread it out?

    I feel that I have $400 million dollars worth of luck. And then I use it all up on a hug from my bride. She is my lottery win. Every day. Luckily immediately after the hug I am granted another $400 million dollars worth of luck for the next hug.

    • That is a mighty expensive hug, but I’ll bet it is also worth every dollar!

      What you’re describing is fairly close to how I think of the “expenditure” of karma, in that the container refills when you spend your karma on positive, worthwhile things or people. If it’s spent to selfish gains, however, I suspect that good energy is gone, or at least takes a lot longer to refill.

      I think it might be analogous to an apple tree: tend to it lovingly and it will yield fruit for us to harvest, over and over. Or, we can cut the tree down and burn the wood for fuel–but then it’s gone, forever.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Robert!

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