Lotto: Buying A Little Bit of Magic

Today is January 13, 2015 and the Super Ball jackpot stands at a staggering $1.5 billion as of the writing of this post. To the extent that a thought could be described as such, I find myself reasonably and logically fascinated with the prospect of winning the lottery. Dammit, I admit it. I bought a lott- 4 lottery tickets, ok?!  Of course, I know there is a 1 in 293+ million chance of winning. Yes I know it’s equivalent to tossing a coin and getting heads over 20 times in row. The history shows that even if I did win, my life would become a hot mess of a tragedy. And yet, I’m intrigued. I’m intrigued not because I think I can win, but because I’ve allowed myself this little bit of fantasy.

In the midst of this recent craze, I read an article (that I’ve since lost) hypothesizing that what we really buy when we purchase a lotto ticket is a fantasy. It’s a moment between this paycheck and the next, between the bills and the adulting where we can imagine ourselves billionaires. But, there’s a certain stigma around buying a ticket. You can feel it either externally or internally: “You’re stupid if you think you can win.” But, you know what? I think that’s ok to let ourselves have a small moment of delusion because it’s fun. I’ve been thoroughly entertained by the conversations I’ve had with friends about what they’d do with the money. We do this with the full understanding that the odds are incredibly slim, but it’s fun nonetheless.

Yes, one could argue that this is the lottery’s goal to provide necessary distraction to placate the lower and middle class masses so they (we) continue to keep the cogs turning like happy (or unhappy) little sweat shop children. Moral and ethical dilemmas aside, a little moment of controlled delusion can’t be all that bad. Whether the fun delusion takes the form of the lotto or some other distraction, we have to take a moment to let a little bit of fun in or we’ll go crazy in the process of living life so hard.