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I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich ... I’m still broke

December 2, 2012
By WES BURNS - Copy Editor ( , Times-Republican

Since I'm actually writing this column and not paying Navy Seals to fist fight kodiak bears inside a glass dome while throngs of well dressed courtiers feed me grapes and wine it should be obvious I did not win the lottery ... yet.

It seems that most of the news cycle this week has been dedicated to talking about the lotto and how winning the lotto will actually destroy you and everything you've ever loved. But, hey, lots of money is always good!

So hoping to win the lotto is a good thing, but actually winning the lotto is a bad thing? Are you trying to tell me that the chief benefit of gambling isn't "money," but rather, "hope?" What kind of angle are you working here, lame journalists?

Despite the endless hours of alleged "news" stories about people who somehow survived winning millions of dollars I'd be willing to bet all the Jimmy Johns napkins in the top drawer of my desk (it's a lot ... way more than it should be) against all your desk-napkins that most of us spent our free time wondering just how we would spend all that money.

Cars? Vacations? Paying off debt? Child's play!

If you've achieved spontaneous richening (it's a word!) you can't just fritter away your money on things like family, friends and your health; for shame!

And don't go the route of those poor souls we've seen on the "Winning the Lotto Ruined My Life" parade that Headline News has been running nonstop.

"Congratulations, sir, on purchasing your 15th jet ski! Our records show your home was recently seized by the IRS; shall we ship your Skidoo to your alternate address of: CARDBOARD BOX?"


You just got hundreds of millions of unearned dollars and you're going to spend it like the last five minutes of Supermarket Sweep? Just running around buying the things we poor people dream about buying?

If you win that much money it's time to step your game up; goodbye "nouveau riche," hello "eccentric millionaire!"

Step one: Take out a full page ad in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Pravda (the biggest newspaper in Russia, for that international appeal) that consists of nothing more than you, sitting on your couch, not looking at the camera.

Why would anyone care, you might ask. Well, you're a rich person now, so people implicitly care about everything you do.

"Why was he sitting on a couch?"

"Why doesn't he look at the camera?"

"What does it all mean?"

What it means is that if you have money you can make people look at whatever you are doing, no matter how boring or absurd.

If there was a pay per view event of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet touring a drywall factory while Richard Branson and Carlos Slim shot paintballs at them you bet people would pay to watch; or at least steal it online later.

Step two: Whatever you feel like. You're rich!

But Wes, you are more than likely thinking, if I won I would totally do something good with the money! Help out my family, donate to schools, provide clothes to the poor children of ... wherever.

Sure, you think that's how it's going to happen. You help some family pay off some bills, then buy a round of cars, and before you know it you're being asked to throw $8 million of startup capital at your second cousin's edible cell phone venture or they aren't going to come to Christmas this year.

Oh, who's calling? The caller ID says: Delicious!

The lesson here seems to be playing the lotto is great, winning the lotto is terrible; money will make everyone around you crazy, it will make you even crazier, and you will inevitably go broke. Fantastic.

So why, exactly, do I?keep playing this thing?

Because the situation boils down to "I need money. Where can I get money? Work ... or lotto." And lotto wins that fight every time.

Now, where did I leave those scratch tickets?


Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or



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