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Monday, October 29, 2012
Or, of course, on top of the world
When the National Lottery was first launched I was thoroughly convinced a jackpot win was just around the corner.
This wasn’t fuelled by a blind refusal to acknowledge some hard and fast facts, just by a theory that, surely, it wasn’t expecting too much for my six numbers to be selected out of the 49 spinning around every Saturday.
Now, granted, I appreciate that paragraph completely contradicts itself, but the part of my brain which processes that has, I fear, become corrupt.
I know, numerically, I’ve more chance of being run down by an anarchic ant joy riding on the back of a ladybird or find myself the world’s best-selling solo artist before the end of next week than I have of seeing my six numbers be plucked out of the pot. I do know that.
Just that the part of my brain which then needs to decipher that information and relay it to my commonsense with clear indication that the odds are so extraordinary, so very long, so full of zeros, doesn’t work anymore. If, indeed, it ever did in the first place. After all, I suppose if it did, I wouldn’t have ever bought a lottery ticket in the first case.
Which means after all these years of keeping my fingers crossed, I remain having to write blogs on this website to earn an honest crust, rather than pondering which remote tropical island I intend to spend a bit of quality sunbathing time on.
We’ve recently started a syndicate in the office and allowed ourselves the self-indulgent moment of imagining what would happen in the event of victory. I suspect we’ve all been there.
We were able to wallow in the ‘feel-good’ waters of a life without mortgage concerns, where the car which broke down on the way to the office could be ditched on account of not needing to get to the office anymore. And if you did, well, why not one with one of those things that sits in the front, you know, what are they called, oh yes, a chauffeur, while you settle down in a Jacuzzi in the back with a glass of something bubbly.
And it was spinning off this thought that brought me, just this weekend, to getting concerned.
Because say I won a cool £1m. Now, ideally, I’d like to live in a house not far off that cost.
But then all the cash is gone isn’t it? No sooner does your bank manager suddenly stop sending you letters about your overdraft and instead invite you for Champagne and canapés, than the money all exits stage left.
So the £1m house is out of the window.
Give up work for life? Well even if you didn’t spend a penny and just shaved off the interest, in a year you’d pick up no more than £20,000. And that, quite honestly, is not going to keep me in the manner in which I’d like to become accustomed. So the job may have to stay.
And what about giving to family and friends?
You can hardly pick up £1m and then tell your nearest and dearest ‘here’s a big £100 go and spend it on something nice now’ without the words ‘tight wad’ being practically bellowed in your face.
So, again, realistically, you’re probably going to have to immediately write off a quarter of your winnings to help others and placate your conscience with some charitable donations.
Down to £750,000 the first step, surely, would be to clear your mortgage. No new home, just stop the cost of the existing one. For most people in this day and age that’s going to be the best part of £200,000. With a new car thrown in, you’re already down to £500,000.
If you’ve stayed at work then rest assured your name will be firmly on the list of redundancy candidates on account of everyone resenting your good fortune. So if you can actually cling on to your job, it will only be for a limited amount of time. Then you’ll be out of work.
And with no jobs out there right now, that’s a miserable prospect.
Sure you can live on the £500,000 – but in the post-win haze you’ll have gunked most of that up the wall as you hit London Champagne bars determined to see what all the fuss is about with Beluga caviar. That’s you and the remarkable number of friends who decided that, for once, that could actually join you for a night out.
All of which means that winning the lottery may not be the stress free key to a better life we all assume it is.
In much the same way my assumption of actually winning the jackpot is flawed, so is, potentially, the reality of a win.