Having designs on winning big one

Senior citizens like us dream a lot. It must be from all that napping. And winning the lottery is strictly the stuff of dreams for us members of the fixed-income crowd.

Occasionally, Dear Richard or I will spot an over-the-top wonderful goody on the TV screen or the computer, and comment, “Wow. When we win the lottery, I want one of those.”

We smile and nod to each other, “Yup, when we win the big one.”

Ain’t never gonna happen.

I have long desired a backyard water feature in my garden. But landscapers, fountains, pumps, and lily pads are expensive and require attention. And the fish would probably demand food.

We’ve also discussed a hot tub. Ahhhh, The definition of heaven – slipping those aching joints in the soft, soothing, dreamy soak, while holding an iced coffee or a glass of wine. Every time reality enters the conversation, we just look at each other and say, “When we win the big one.”

Or hey, while we are dreaming about backyard water, why not a full-size in-ground pool? I was waxing rhapsodic about that last week, “Oh! We could even sink the hot tub at one end of it.” Dear Richard was thinking about the work of pool chemicals and daily maintenance with a long-handled net. I was picturing more of a paid, well-muscled pool boy with a nice smile and a good tan … when we win the big one.

Cars do seem to enter this lottery conversation a lot. We watched a special about the Ferrari family of Italy, makers of those gorgeous, sleek, luxury automobiles. “When we win the lottery,” was of course mentioned. And I threw it out again when they showed a convertible in dark British Racing Green, Richard’s favorite color. “We’ll get the green one for you, and I’ll take mine in a champagne color.” We always dream big. Then I added, “If we win the big one, we can even afford to hire an actual roadside assistant – someone to help us get in and out of those low-slung speedsters. We’d never do it alone!” Realistically? I’m not worried about having to strain those muscles anytime soon.

Personally, if we’re fantasizing, I would like a Mustang convertible to replace my 1966 pride and joy – my first real car. Well, I say it was mine. The American Airlines Credit Union and I owned it together. The 2022 version of those hot wheels would be perfect for sunny weekends. For weekdays, a nice, sturdy Volvo SUV would take me comfortably into my driving dotage. But, until we win the lottery, I’ll be driving my sensible, small Honda SUV. When I bought it six years ago, I named it “Lastcar” (rhymes with NASCAR).

If we win, food shopping would finally be fun! For years, I’ve said that my definition of rich is shopping in Wegmans or Whole Foods and never looking at any of the prices. No more pushing past the scallops, lobsters and tenderloins. I’d fill my cart, invite company, and never clip another coupon. Lottery rich would lead to feasting, with lots of friends.

Fuggedaboudit. Ain’t never gonna happen.

After the quick trips to car dealers, pool guys and landscapers, Wegmans would home- deliver twice a week. I’d put a masseuse on speed dial and maybe make a phone call to a personal trainer. There might even be a plastic surgeon. But it ain’t never gonna happen.

Let’s face it. The first real phone call would be to a lawyer. After he or she sets us straight, it would be time to do some good work with life-changing money. A foundation and scholarships? Those serious subjects might turn out to be more fun than dreaming about hot tubs.

And a BIG lottery winner – think the occasional Powerball gazillions – could do wonders for cancer research, crippled children, homeless veterans and many other worthy causes.

But I digress. We know that dreaming big is silly, and we still laugh at ourselves. There is however, one stumbling block. We don’t buy lottery tickets. Almost never.

We treat lottery tickets as a game – pure entertainment value. When the Powerball gets into the hundred-millions, or lately billions, we’ll each part with $5 or $10. Hey, SOMEBODY is going to win it. Right? That lightning can strike us as well as the next guy. We know it’s simply for the thrill of the chase.

But on an everyday basis, when we see a dark green Ferrari, a Caribbean vacation home, or an Around-the-World Viking Cruise, we still look at each other, grin, and Richard says, “When we win the lottery.” And I reply, “The big one.”

Ain’t never gonna happen.


Marcy O’Brien is the author of “Rounding Third,” a compilation of columns published in the Times Observer.


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