At every job I've had in the past ten years, I have run an employee lottery pool. Is this because I have a frustrated desire to become a professional bookie? Well, no. I think it is more likely because I and my fellow workers have a strong need to feel there is some small chance—albeit infinitesimal—that we might escape our lives of quiet desperation.
When I left my last full-time job before going freelance, I was asked if I would continue running the company lottery pool despite my corporate departure. After a brief intermission, I did so for almost a year. By then, most of the participants were no longer working for said company. A single hold-out employee asked if I would continue with him as the only member and I have done so.
One of the most entertaining activities related to lottery pools is the lunch-time conversations in which everyone takes turns explaining what they would do with the winnings. I've heard everything from setting up a charitable foundation to opening a beer and barbecue stand on a beach in Miami. Also popular is visiting everyone who has ever been annoying with a raised middle digit.
Most of us have agreed that if any of our number made the cliché statement that millions of dollars would not change his or her life that we would collectively lower our pants and moon the liar. The only way that amount of currency wouldn't make a difference in your life would be if you signed it over to me. Feel free to do so at any point.
Also, if you are already wealthy, please do not buy any tickets. It's cathartically fun to hear if someone who is unemployed, had their house foreclosed or needs an expensive life-saving operation has won millions. But if you are a successful doctor, lawyer or stockbroker, your lottery wins just make the rest of us feel darkly bitter. So don't spoil the psychology of this long-shot-at-wealth for the rest of us, okay?
I have often heard it said that "money does not buy happiness." Ironically, many recent studies have refuted that adage, showing that people living in upper income brackets do tend to have a higher happiness quotient. Duh.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that money does not GUARANTEE happiness. It will, however, provide you with a much more comfortable environment in which to be miserable, and all the pleasant distractions that riches can buy.