published: Friday, December 07, 2012
Lottery's gamble: Is it worth it?
Lottery fever befell millions of people as several state jackpots surpassed the half billion dollar mark.
Although the odds of winning were outrageously high, people still played.
That much money -- or even a percentage of a huge jackpot split among many winners -- would change any life. It becomes something more than fulfillment of a dream or providing life-long financial security.
Playing the lottery -- and the desire to acquire vast unearned riches -- speaks more about us than about a peripheral government program designed to provide additional revenue for public services.
In Florida, lottery money goes to public education. State lottery officials boast of the billions the system has generated.
Playing the lottery is part of a larger commentary on our nature, on the duality of our desire to survive our situations and to step beyond the uncomfortable struggles of our human condition.
In no other area of our lives would we honestly venture to make a wager that is one in 175 million against us.
But what's a couple bucks? And what's a dream worth?
The backdrop of our trek through life can appear bleak and desperate at times; the television programs, the newspapers and the Internet paint a dark facade and draw us to the frail conclusion that the future is dim.
As if we carry so much baggage, we are deeply acquainted with our circumstances; of unstable, violent governments on the other side of the planet; of wars and rumors of wars waging; of mounting crises of an increasing kind.
When playing the lottery, for those few moments, for the hours we wait until the results are broadcast, for the hope of a dream becoming reality, we wait. And the world's big mess briefly doesn't matter.
But the next day, all of us -- except those minuscule few -- return to the grind, at least until the numbers climb back to the stratosphere.
And again the dreams swirl.