This will be my last column. I just won the lottery.
Some lucky stiff in South Carolina got the same numbers, so now I have to split the winnings with him. I hope you’re happy, Darryl.
It started as a whim. I was at the gas station. The clerk asked if she could help, and I said, “I have no sense of statistical probability, and a desperate sense that the nagging existential dread that befalls us all can be salved by the acquisition of limitless consumer goods.”
I thought about playing my special numbers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit every number in the Powerball but got hung up when the last number was 21, instead of my special number, which is 47,932,941. I let the machine choose the numbers, folded the ticket in my pocket and, like all lottery winners, went home to dream.
The dream was about playing the electric violin in an attic surrounded by panda bears. Well, not panda bears. Dogs that looked like pandas. Then I was late for a flight and had to pack, but the suitcases were stuck in the closet!
When we checked the numbers and I found I’d won, I turned to my wife and said, “It’s a dream come true! With this kind of money we can genetically splice dogs and pandas. But first we have to grease the suitcases.”
They say the first thing you should do is call a lawyer, who will advise you to stay low and get your affairs in order. So, we turned the lights out and lay on the living room rug and balanced the checkbook.
It wasn’t half an hour before someone showed up the door wanting money. I’m serious. He was like, “Hey, if it’s cool, 20 bucks, that’d be great, you know?”
I ran him off the property and threw rocks at his car, and when I got back my wife asked if that was the pizza guy, because she was getting hungry.
I said, “We should have frozen pizza instead. That’s how people go broke. They get all this crazy money, they start doing crazy things like buying yachts and ordering pizza.”
Obviously, I’d love to keep writing this column, because I’ve never wanted to do anything else but this. But my subject matter would change.
Previously: “Am I the only one who feels like everyone at the grocery store is blaming me because the busted cart wheel makes a rattling clatter? I suppose I could have gone back for another, but I’d already put some bananas in it and felt like I’d committed.”
Now: “Am I the only one who senses that the stitching on the latest Porsche gearshift knob seems a little rough? I have to apply Swiss lanolin to my palm, and while I suppose I could stock up when we take Christmas at the Zurich lake house, it doesn’t seem too much to ask that they cinch the calfskin with silk, does it?”
So it’s best I leave. Thank you for your patronage, and good luck with your small, ordinary lives of quiet desperation. Yes, I admit it: The money has changed me, but not that much.
I shudder to think what I’d have become if I’d won 4 dollars instead of 2.