$360 million sparks all sorts of dreams

Well, it wasn’t me again. I’m not a winner. I don’t even know if there was a winner, but I’m sorry to report I’m not a millionaire. Not even close.

The Powerball Lottery has been getting attention again lately as its potential prize for a winning ticket has been climbing. On Wednesday, right around $360 million was on the line. It had been quite a while since I had bought a Powerball ticket, but a group dynamic made it impossible to resist this week.

I was traveling with a small group on Tuesday. My boss knew that we were off golfing in the east end of the state, but just in case any of the other 15 didn’t say that was where they were going, I’d better leave that detail out.

Anyway, while coming back from this “business” trip, we visited a truck stop. The idea of buying lottery tickets came up. Before you could say “lucky number,” everyone threw in two bucks and one of the accountants in the group was off to buy our ticket to wealth and fame.

Everyone was in for an equal share. We figured $360 mill divided 16 ways — with roughly half taken out for taxes — we were each looking at a little over $11 million each.

It didn’t take too much time getting down the road after the purchase for the money to start being spent. And as I listened, one couldn’t help but realize that everyone has a dream.

The ages on the bus were fairly widespread and you would probably consider those on board to be successful people in their chosen fields. But if one of those tickets came in, it sounds like there would have been 16 jobs available to be filled the next day. 

The dreams were being listed too fast to think that they were being thought of right then for the first time. There was some forethought put into just how one would spend a multimillion-dollar bonanza.

Someplace to live, or maybe more accurately someplace else to live, was a common theme. A cabin in the mountains, a summer home on a lake, a villa overlooking the ocean were all in play. Some could even go so far as to give you the address of the place where their future get-away was going to be built.

Cars, boats, travel, businesses, trust funds, charitable donations … they were all there, too. People had dreams.

Dreams have been a theme at my place of employment this year. Those folks who sit around and come up with ways for businesses to motivate and stimulate positive production from employees must have had a dream about dreams.

We’ve all participated in exercises that resulted in everyone listing dreams they have for their lives — from the simple like lose a little weight, to the out of this world like travel in outer space.

Now and then I’ll be skeptical about drills like this, and I probably was a little about this one. But once we got into it, I bought in a little more.

Once I decided you’re never too old to dream, the ideas came out. Some of them were easier to attain (after all, we were going to be held accountable for making some dreams come true); others were a little more off the wall.

But the point remains, it’s good to dream a little. You can even have two sets of dreams. One set can be planted a little bit in reality. Those would be dreams you realistically have a chance to make come true even if your lot in life remained the same for years to come.

Others can be a little more of the “aim high” nature. The kind whose likelihood of coming true is made possible only if something bizarre, like winning a Powerball lottery, was to happen.

That’s not happening for Tuesday’s group. Out of 16 tries, we didn’t even match the Powerball number once.  

The Powerball isn’t for everyone. It’s a nearly impossible gamble that, like others, should only be taken if you can afford to lose.

But, win or lose, if it makes you dream, then what the heck.

Maybe you’ll even come up with some that don’t require $11 million.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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