Reporter's Note: President Obama gets a letter from me each day. I could write to anyone; so in a way, he’s a type of lottery winner.
Dear Mr. President,
I’ve been giving a good bit more thought since yesterday to all this excitement over that massive lotto prize that has everyone in such a lather. I have to admit, it is one whopping amount of cash.
Yet, if the past is any teacher, I also have to remind myself that collecting such a huge amount of money…despite all of the expectations that people have about such things…often ends very badly for the winners. I can’t tell you how many stories I have read about lottery winners who wind up living absolutely dreadful lives in the wake of their big moment.
Usually, their course of misery takes one of several paths.
1) They spend all the money and wind up broke. This is not nearly as hard as it may sound. For starters, taxes eat up as massive part of the initial earnings. As one woman said after she’d won something like $20 million, and I’m paraphrasing here, “You buy a couple of houses. Pay off your whole family’s debts. Go around the world, make a few bad investments, and you’re right back where you started.”
2) They use their new found wealth to indulge all their worst habits: they spend too much, or drink too much, or cat around too much, or take too many wild chances trying to get even richer…and find that even if they don’t go bust, they are miserable.
3) They are overwhelmed by requests to share. Sounds like a nice problem in a way, but I am assured it is a unique type of hell. Suddenly the phone won’t stop ringing with people begging for mercy; money to save their homes, their families, their businesses…they may all be worthy causes…they may all be scams..the unfortunate winner has no idea and becomes consumed with guilt over every decision. For some people that can be a type of torture they just can’t endure.
4) They wind up in a fight; with co-workers, family members, exes, children…anybody and everybody who might think they deserve a share.
Maybe with a pot of money as huge as we are talking about these days, those effects are different. Maybe winning will be nothing but a blessing. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Money is useful. Money is good. I have no complaint against those who have it. But money, especially in massive amounts that are won instead of earned, can literally be very hard to take.
Hope all is well. Call if you can.
In this behind-the-scenes preview, Anderson Cooper describes "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture," the groundbreaking year-long investigative study that will air the week of April 2 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. Race relations is one of the most explosive issues in America and for many, it’s one of the most taboo to talk about, especially with children. For this special report, AC360° contracted a renowned child psychologist to help us understand how race influences a child’s world.
Reporter's Note: President Obama is hoping to win the re-election sweepstakes this fall. The rest of us will have to content ourselves with other games of chance.
All this excitement over this $640-million dollar Mega Million’s lottery jackpot has been wildly entertaining to watch. Not that I am taking part. No, my very limited experience with any sort of gambling in the past has suggested that I am not…repeat not…going to win even three bucks, let alone a half billion or more.
Mainly, that’s because I have not purchased a ticket. But even if I had, I can assure you that I could just as well toss my money into the Potomac for all the return it would bring.
I’ve been a lucky guy in general. I’ve had good opportunities in my career. I have a lovely family. Our dog has never run away (at least not permanently,) and despite knowing next to nothing about how to select cuts of meat, I’ve often managed to buy and grill some pretty darn tasty steaks. And yet, my luck does not extend to games of chance. On the rare occasion that I have purchased a lottery ticket, I have usually failed to match even one number, let alone several. I am lead to believe that some people win a few dollars playing those scratch off cards, but that has never gone my way either. All I ever wind up with is a little pile of gray dust and some nickels I have to wipe off.
There is, however, one notable exception. Once, back in Colorado, my wife hired a babysitter for the girls and I joined a bunch of friends for an evening in one of the mountain gambling towns. We knew so little about the games that we contented ourselves with walking around and playing slot machines now and then. We’d vowed to spend only twenty dollars and when it ran out we would be done. That is precisely what happened. We dropped quarters and pulled levers for quite some time. Now and then we’d score a few bucks in winnings, which we’d pump right back into the machines and lose. Finally our twenty dollars was done, and we were simply waiting for our friends to be ready to leave. Then my wife saw a quarter on the casino floor right in front of a slot machine. She picked it up, dropped it in, and in a single spin won back all the money we’d lost and enough to cover dinner and the baby sitter. We broke even and could not have been happier. It was actually kind of magical in a way. Like something from a movie.
Hmmm…that gives me an idea. I’m not going to rush out to buy a lottery ticket, but I wonder what my wife is doing right now? Got to go.
Justin Bieber's phone number tweet drove fans to harass a great grandmother. He can now be reached on the RidicuList
This week @AC360 passed 100,000 followers on Twitter! We thought long and hard in a series of intense brainstorming sessions about how to best mark the milestone. The finest champagne (drunk producers are hilarious, but ineffective), a hot air balloon ride (too many of us to comfortably fit in one basket), a pet bird for the show (no volunteers to clean the cage), a choreographed flash mob (varying skills of coordination in this group), an extra vacation day for all (bosses vetoed), a permanent balloon arch in the newsroom (gets old after a while), matching Twitter bird tattoos (requires needles), a break-out Parkour session (too many expensive cameras nearby), diamond pendants (budget restrictions).
The legal panel, including a lawyer for Trayvon Martin's family, analyzes an account of the shooting from a new witness.
CNN's Gary Tuchman investigates an Illinois truant officer who sent kids to a Montana religious school facing abuse allegations.
Newly released video shows a closer view and different angles of George Zimmerman at the police department after Trayvon Martin was shot.
Dr. Julian Bond, former NAACP Chair, reacts to the National Organization for Marriage's efforts to drive a wedge between black people and same-sex marriage activists.
An eyewitness provides details about what was heard and seen before and after George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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