Dreams of lottery winnings hard to get away from

Tuesday afternoon was difficult. 

Smack-dab in the middle of our weekly deadline, Tuesday afternoons are always a bit of challenge. There is the scramble to figure out what copy is going to go on what page, proofing and editing stories coming in from all angles, getting advertising proofs out to clients and basically trying to maintain some semblance of sanity in an environment that is not conducive to a thriving level of sanity on the best of days. But this past Tuesday was even more of a struggle, for one reason or another.

Or, actually, for 1.6 billion reasons. With a capital “$” at the front.

Lottery officials had estimated the Mega Millions drawing scheduled for Tuesday night to be worth $1.6 billion for the top prize, with a cash option of $904 million. Sign me up for the cash option, is what I was thinking, before drifting away in thought of thousands of lottery workers pushing wheelbarrows filled with dollar bills to my front door. 

I had every intention of performing a Scrooge McDuck swan-dive into all that cash, and then stopping long enough to compile a “done-me-wrong” list, thus putting into action the most elaborate, diabolical revenge scheme ever crafted...

But I digress.

That was a whole lot of money they were talking about with that jackpot. That’s more than the proverbial “change-your-life” money. That’s “your-great-great-grandkids-are-going-to-whatever-school-they-choose” money, as long as nobody in your lineage screws it up by taking the loot to Las Vegas and just letting it ride, or investing in an underwater petting zoo on the moon. 

Although, I think with the right marketing, that petting zoo can really get...

Sorry, a second digression. This is all just so exciting. I mean, I gave up on the idea of being over-the-top wealthy just around the same day I decided that a career in the wacky world of journalism was for me. Wealth. Regular sleeping habits. Enjoying a day when you aren’t belittled or threatened because of what you do for a living. You know, all that stuff. Right out the window when I decided to carry a notebook and ask people questions for the rest of my life.

But then it all changed. A Mega Millions fortune was certain to come my way Tuesday night, and with it would come a gigantic pile of responsibility. There are siblings and nieces and nephews and parents and... Sorry. I almost said “friends.” Yeah, I’m going to take that headache out of the equation real fast. Friends of mine, if I hit the Mega Millions, you get nothing. I say this now because I don’t want any hurt feelings later. And, if you can’t accept that... get bent. I’ll buy new friends. New friends that don’t have feelings and stuff. Better friends. 

Of course, it’s different having these fantasies of obscene wealth now that I have a family than it used to be when I was a single guy. Now, I think about how nice it would be to never have another mortgage payment. To know that my daughter will never be denied an opportunity if she earns one. To sleep comfortably at night with the knowledge that my bride will be well-taken care of if something happens to me.

Younger Darin would daydream about taking my yacht around the world with the Swedish women’s volleyball team, while I assembled a team of scientists to put an underwater petting zoo on the moon. 

But that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is I am about to become astonishingly wealthy, thanks to the rest of you donating so much money to the Mega Millions sweepstakes. Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without your help, and if I ever do take the time to think of other people again, it will be somewhat warmly because of all you did to help me and my family by foolishly dumping cash into...

So, here’s the deal. I went home Tuesday night to eat dinner because, well, I’m fat, and fat people don’t miss a lot of meals. Hence, the fat. 

And, apparently, I did not win the Mega Millions drawing Tuesday night. According to reports, the winning ticket was sold in South Carolina, and since I have not lost any bets of consequence lately, I had no reason to find myself in South Carolina.

But, really, it’s probably all for the best, right? We’ve all heard the horror stories of lottery winners — families driven apart by money, home-invasions of winners’ homes, etc. I’m in my happy little bubble here, with a job I love and a family that makes my sun rise every morning. Why rock the boat, right?

Hmm.

According to my news app, the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night is estimated to be $620 million, with a cash draw of $354.3 million. 

Man, that’s a lot of brisket I could buy with that kind of cash. Or cars. Yeah, cars. And houses...