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1:24 p.m. - October 20, 2005
When I Win The Lottery...
So someone in Oregon won the Powerball drawing of over $340 million.

Well, that rules me out.

Also, what rules me out is the fact that I didn’t buy a ticket. Not a single one. And I haven’t in a couple of years.

The odds of winning the big prize are a skidillion to one (technical term) and I have to spend money on relevant things, like diapers, formula, food, wine, beer, iTunes downloads. You know, the essentials.

But I often wonder about winning the lottery and what it would be like to have all the money you would ever need.

Many winners of the larger jackpots totally screw themselves over, like that doofus in West Virginia who won the lottery and is just totally flushing the money down the wrong hole. He’s left money in his car – spent money on weird stuff.

With a former financial service industry worker in the hizzy, and me, who has worked in budgeting and finance before, I don’t think we’d have that problem.

For one, most of the money would be socked away and not touched by human hands. I think Moose and I calculated that we would need to win $2 million in one lump sum, and we’d never have to work again, ever. One could buy a modest house, outright, and a nice car, outright, and then live off the interest. Perhaps with interest rates so low, this may not work, but if you invest wisely, I think $2 million would set you up for life.

The biggest issue would be all of my relatives wanting a piece of the pie. I’m sure that most of my friends would respect our privacy and be genuine in thanks when we spot them four or five figures. Even though I love my relatives, I have my suspicions about one or two of them. Ok, one of them.

So how would I spend my lottery winnings?

Well, for one, I don’t think I’d do what Camper Van Beethoven suggested. On their “Key Lime Pie” album (1989 for you music scholars out there) – they unwind the tale of a poor schmuck that is planning on winning the lottery, and here’s what he’d do.

• Buy all the girls on his block color TVs and bottles of French perfume
• Donate half his money to the city so they’d have to name a street, school, or park after him.
• Buy the house next to some uber-patriot because he’s never killed someone just because someone told him to.
• Buy American Legion Post 306 and paint it red with five gold stars (MY FAVORITE!)
• Buy all the girls on his block silver plated six shooters and quarts of the finest Highland Scotch

Well, at least it’s a plan!

Needless to say, those AREN’T on my list to do if I ever win the lottery, though buying a building and painting it with some obnoxious symbol or slogan would be a temptation!

So what would we do with a big ol’ windfall?

• Fully fund Katie and Kristin’s 529 accounts. Well, duh, this is about as no-brainer as it gets. Even though I work at a college that has a generous tuition exchange program with other schools in the GLCA (schools like Denison, Kenyon, Wooster, Oberlin, Albion, etc.) that I can use for eight semesters of College, if I ever decide to leave my alma mater then that benefit may not exist anymore. So we have to be prepared. Who the hell knows how much college will cost in 2019?

(Of course, my biggest fear would be that one of the girls would want to go to Antioch. I could live with them going to DePauw, just because I begrudgingly accept that it’s a fine school. But Antioch has no athletic teams to root for, and some part of me would root for the team my daughter’s attend for the most part. Well, except DePauw, and probably Wittenberg. And Antioch is just loopy. They once had a policy that if you had someone in the room that was in there for romantic purposes you had to ask and get an affirmative answer before each progression in the romantic cycle. Egads. I realize date rape is wrong and heinous but to ask before I kiss someone takes 99% of the fun out of a first kiss. Morons!)

• Pay off our house entirely, and get everything done that needs to be done. Which isn’t much really, but with a house built in 1872 there’s always something that could be looming as a must-need fix, and since I know bubkes fixing houses or anything we may as well take care of everything now.

• Buy two new cars. I’d probably upgrade to an Element, and I’m sure Liz would like a new Accord. I know, we’re really living on the edge here. Daredevils, we are. Actually, I’d also try to see if I could get a Spitfire or an MG or something like that, but of course you couldn’t put a baby seat in them. A small part of me would get a Harley – but then with my general grace and style I’d probably need to be scraped of the highway on multiple occasions.

• Buy some musical equipment. I think a nice guitar, bass, drum kit and keyboard would work. And I could actually devote time to learn how to play, since I’d probably not work (much). And I’d buy some recording equipment so you all could hear how bad I can butcher a song like “Sail Away, Sweet Sister” by Queen. (The butcher factor on that one would be 5 Sams. (obligatory Brady Bunch reference, since I don’t think I’ve ever made one in this space))

• Send some money to our close friends as a one time gift. This would be noted expressly in our note to them. “We love you and here’s fitty large – knock yourselves out!” Though wouldn’t it be nice to have it done like in the beginning of the “Godfather” where everyone would have to come and pay respect to me and grovel. Moose could be my consigliere. And he’d make sure Johnny Fontane got that part!

• Give a substantial amount of money to our alma maters. We donate regularly to Wabash, but this would be a chance to really make a difference. And we’ve never given to Liz’s alma mater (it being a state school behemoth) but we’d throw some money there way in a one-time gift fashion. I don’t know if I’d want anything named after me, though the Smed Campus Watering Hole would be groovy! I’d have ‘em call it Smed’s Corner. How original!!!)

• I’d take at least four or five vacations a year. I’d drive to Alaska regularly. I’d get up to Maine and the Maritime provinces. I’d make sure I get to Hawaii. Then I’d hit Europe. But not just the hot spots. I’d want to visit Liechtenstein, Andorra, Luxembourg, San Marino. I just love the little oddball, out of the way places.

• Lastly, we’d buy everyone in our immediate families a house, or pay off the house that they are currently in, and pay off any existing debt they have, and maybe give them a little extra, but that would be it. And it would be in writing. As I said, at least one of our family members has a history of being a little bit ‘needy’ and ‘wanty’ so much it makes me go ‘crazy’ and ‘nutty’. The thing is, she has a good job and lives rent free, basically. Argh! Anyway, the house can’t be too ostentatious or flashy. Just a three or four bedroom place that looks nice and doesn’t have statues of golden yaks. They can put in their own golden yaks.

I know, this is boring and lame. As usual. I really don’t think I need much – I mean, what would I do with a third world country? I could buy a minor league baseball team, but then I’d worry about it too much, and that wouldn’t be fun.

I think this has made me realize that I’ve got almost everything I need. Well, except one thing I didn’t mention. I’d buy my entire wish list on All of it. Every single stinkin’ thing…that’s all I need. That and the ashtray, the paddle game, the remote control, this magazine, and the chair, and my wish list…


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