Service of What If II

November 22nd, 2010

Categories: Luck, What If


The first in the “What If” series could also have been called “Service of If Only.” Today’s post is about luck and daydreaming.

It was late and the deli was empty so the counterman and I were chatting about winning the New York Lottery as he filled my order. The pot was particularly big that night.

“Your friends won’t treat you the same,” he maintained. “I don’t know if I’d want to win it,” said the 20-something as he sliced the ham just as I wanted it. “I sure wouldn’t tell a soul if I won,” he said.

christmascdenvelI told him how wonderful it would be to enclose a surprise check for $10,000 with each Christmas card. Then we discussed whether some would feel that this amount would not be  enough given the multi-million dollar size of our hypothetical winnings.

I have often talked about establishing a foundation if ever I won enough money, although I haven’t thought about it seriously and long enough to decide whether my goal would be to address disease or education. I don’t want to jinx myself.

Do you ever daydream about winning one of the major lotteries? There are countless stories about how it has ruined other people’s lives. Do you think it would ruin yours?


10 Responses to “Service of What If II”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    It’s fun to think of winning a huge amount of money and what one could do with it. My projects are to threaten MOMA by withholding several million unless and until a favorite artist is restored to their exhibits, donating large gifts in honor and in memory of living and deceased to various organizations, and hopping around the planet. Since none of this is about to happen, the museum can breathe, and the favorite groups and airlines will keep flooding the mailbox with longwinded and for the most part unanswered appeals!

    Daydreaming is a healthy habit, as long as it’s not taken to extremes, so enjoy!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I saw a fabulous coat at the American Craft Show NYC at the Javits Center this weekend…If I win the lottery I would buy one for me and the one you like best for you–[although you already have one very much like my favorite]. There was also an incredible furniture craftsman–several in fact. I would have a wonderful time getting in touch with batches of them to send family and friends incredible gifts this year.

    I guess as long as a person doesn’t depend on winning the lottery to pay the rent and food bills, he/she will be OK. And as long as friends and family who might read this comment understand that I didn’t win the lottery, they won’t get too excited about their 2010 Christmas presents.

  3. Nenaghgal Said:

    Funny – I was thinking about this recently, my husband and I watched some movie lately where a black kid from the projects won the lottery 370 million dollars – people would have been happy to kill him for the ticket – of course in the movie – he does the right thing and gives back to the projects etc. but it did get me thinking – if you won that kind of money you wouldn’t really want to tell anyone but then – you couldn’t even really go out and buy yourself even just a new car or some new clothes because the neighbours would figure it out – it wouldn’t take much to pay off my mortgage, my parents, in laws – buy my brother a house – maybe 2 million max – so then you have 368 million to go….I’d absolutely become a philanthropist and give back and help charities – actually right now it looks like the Irish government needs 370 million more than anything!
    I’d love just to win about a million – then I could pay off loads of things – and start my own business and travel and have money aside for Sophia’s college – not too extreme but enough to be comfortable and make it grow with investments – but honestly I’d rather just stay the way we are because something like that would totally change relationships and I love where I live and who are my friends and knowing that they are my friends for who I am and what I am – not what I’m worth – but yes, I love to daydream like the next person but I’m pretty darn satisfied the way I am.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I would love to pay off all debt–mine and any that causes stress for those close to me.

    I would continue to work hard but I’d do a lot of inviting friends out to lunch and dinner too. I would also like to travel for fun.

    But you are right: the sudden appearance of a bit too much activity + everyone would know that something was up. I could invent a reclusive aunt or uncle about whom I was forbidden to talk all these years who left me his/her millions in a special trust that I couldn’t invade for any reason. More daydreaming.

  5. ASK Said:

    We would buy a superb apartment with a spectacular view, hire a decorator to do something comfy and gorgeous, hire someone else to organize our den and the stuff in our bookcases, travel more, and contribute to favorite charities and causes. We wouldn’t tell anyone anything; we would let them think that all this happened through our careers in publishing and manufacturing (!!!)

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I would move to a hotel while remodeling the bathroom in our apt and adding a guest bathroom. If the winning was huge, I’d consider buying a second apartment where I live. And I’d change the kitchen cabinets at the house.

    My ‘druthers have always been modest regardless of the amount of disposable income I’ve had. I am still thinking about that mouton coat at the American Craft Show NYC last weekend….and if friends and associates were suspicious about the changes, I’d figure out what to tell folks.

    My mother had a great line when someone asked a question she didn’t want to answer or a rude one: “What did you say?” and the person would repeat the question and then she’d say, “That’s what I thought you said,” smile, and change the subject.

  7. Simon Carr Said:


    I’m afraid I’m the spoil sport.

    I’ve loved gambling all my life, and little good it has done me. At least when I gamble, I’m hopeful that the odds will be at least close to even (in reality they are never truly even), but I do know that the State sponsored lotteries are rip offs. The odds are in the range of eighty-twenty against you.

    The daydreams are all very well, but in the end I know that my chances of winning are about as great as seeing our government become fiscally responsible.

    Good luck!


  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Gee, Simon, I guess hope isn’t top of your list.

    What you say is true, but for one dollar, to have a few minutes of fun and a break from reality is worth it to me. As Lucrezia noted, as long as daydreaming isn’t taken to extremes, what harm?

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    I don’t remember responding to the “1” part of this question, so now the new 1. I doubt a huge amount of money would ruin my life since there are so many positive things to do with so vast a sum, and such ruin may be easily avoided. Horrible things happen mostly to those who strive to keep up with the Jones, throw huge parties and live as if the money won’t run out. They wake up one day, not only dead broke, but possibly deep in debt, and now possibly much worse off than before. Irresponsibility costs big time. Considering the sharp odds speaking against winning hair raising sums, I am not in the least bit worried over such future events.

  10. Debby Brown Said:

    I would buy a brownstone in my upper west side neighborhood and ask the neighbors I like to settle in for as long as they like, for whatever they could afford to pay. Oldest ones would get dibs on the low floors. Since 10 of the 14 of us have been together in our current building for 30+ years, and most are seniors, nothing would please me more!


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