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Typically, playing the lottery is about as tempting as taking a wad of cash, throwing it in a toilet, defecating on it and then flushing it away forever – for me, at least. In fact, that might be more interesting for the simple novelty of such an exercise. When you’re driving home from a long day at work and you pass a billboard announcing the lottery has risen as high as $116 million, however, you take notice.

And my girlfriend did. Yesterday she announced she had stopped at the corner store and bought five lottery tickets. When she bought the tickets she had to choose between a monthly pay-out or a lump sum payoff… of $86 million. Of course, we had to launch a little thought experiment to figure out what we would do with this money if we were to win.

Armed with a compound interest calculator and our two little brains we set off to work. First, we assumed that a lump sum pay-off of $86 million would probably be taxed at 50%, so you would actually walk away with $43 million. That’s still more money than 95% of Americans will ever see.

First thing we would do is cut this basically in half. Take $21 million and create a Trust to benefit the important people in our lives. With $21 million in a trust, invested to earn a modest 5% interest each year one could easily provide a moderate living of around $50,000 a year for 15 to 20 people for the rest of their lives (the fewer people, of course, the greater freedom to raise this as inflation decreases the value of the dollar). For us, that would include our grandparents, providing them with a comfortable retirement and save them from the growing stress of aging and trying to figure out how they will be able to pay for living expenses, property taxes and medical expenses with dwindling savings. For the rest of our close friends and family, it would provide them with freedom to choose what to do with the rest of their lives instead of being stuck in jobs out of the need to pay for student loans, mortgages and just getting by. This is also little enough money that no one is going to be tempted to destroy their lives from their newfound “wealth.”

So, with half the money we have forever changed the lives of around twenty of our closest friends and family. And with this scheme this could be passed on for generation after generation assuming no major calamities in the economy. With the other half of the money we would set up a separate Trust for our own personal benefit. Now, that sounds excessive, I know. But we have a plan for this, as well.

With the remaining $22 million invested to earn a modest 5% interest each year, that would result in this Trust paying out $1,125,000 each year in interest. For the first year we would pay ourselves $50,000 to be able to leave our jobs and set up a not-for-profit organization that, after the first year, would be the recipient of $1 million of these earning every year (some time might be invested to figure out how much less could be withdrawn to keep this amount growing equal to reasonable inflation, but I haven’t taken that time).

Looking around we have noticed that a single investment on an average of $25,000 to any given person with the need and a plan to be used for education expenses, paying off student loans or crushing debt, invested into a charity, or to get their business or some project off the ground could completely change the lives of the average American. One Million divided by 25,000 equals 40. That means with the interest of this other half of the winnings you could change the lives of around 40 people a year.

The remaining $125,000 a year would go to us so that our jobs -- for as long as we could stand it -- would be to find, meet, be won over by and invest in one person a week, to completely change their lives. And make a decent little living, doing it.

Of course there are some details to iron out, like how to invest in such a way as to earn 5% to 6% interest every year and the pay of the people running these trusts, but I think that is all easily worked out. Of all the possible situations and plans we could dream up for what to do with the winnings of an excessively large lottery, I think this is the way to go.

In doing all of these calculations we were taken back by the gravity of this situation. With this $43 million you could permanently change the lives of over 400 people in just the first 10 years of this kind of scheme. All of that with only $43 million, which seems such a small number compared to all the Trillions-of-dollars sized numbers being thrown around in the news the last few years.

In fact, let’s take one really important Trillion dollar number here and examine it. Between the money doled out by TARP and the cash created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, all of which was given to banks so that they could continue to enrich the already richest people in the world, around $10 Trillion was handed out (that we know of). $10 Trillion is about 232,558 times more money than $43 million. If that $10 Trillion had been given to 232,558 trustworthy human beings – instead of bankers – whom implemented our plan as stated above with an average of 40 people positively affected each year by each trustworthy human being, in ten years 93,023,200 people could have had their lives forever changed by our scheme. That is roughly equal to the number of households in the United States. So every household in the United States could have been the recipient of a life altering investment within 10 years. And our scheme is kind of selfish, giving preference to our friends and family. If the money was used all in $25,000 chucks, every household could have been positively affected within 5 years – that is, by now – creating entrepreneurs, educated citizens and freeing others from debt and allowing them to participate in real, local economies, instead of paying all of their money towards debt. Kind of makes you wonder into whose pockets that $10 Trillion went, doesn’t it?

I drove by the same billboard again on the way home today. Nobody won the lottery last night. $138 million, now.

Despite the date on my homepage which indicates I've been on E2 for 3.5 years, in reality I wrote maybe three things, then had my universe shattered and had to deal with the real life repercussions of that. Fast forward to sometime this year the end of September, when I started writing again after running into a former professor and poet of some standing, Gerald Stern. I had become a little more computer competent in the meantime, and a little more attuned to the format and atmosphere of E2. It was amusing and disconcerting to see such strong and sometimes wildly inaccurate guesses as to who this moeyz is. Between the chatterbox and ascorbic.net, I felt mixed about how I was coming across.

My real life way of communicating is storytelling, real things that happen to me from my perspective, which at times may seem odd, but is generally entertaining. Or so that is how family, friends, relatives, and strangers have reacted. After a while, I began getting mostly friendly or helpful responses to my writing here. As I have explained in the method to my madness, I would rather abstain from downvoting and at times, I message other writers if I see a typo or some misspelled word. That's one of the largest lessons I've learned so far, for myself, to look past misspellings and typos to the content of what the person is saying.

When I upvote, which is 95% of the time, I like to include a positive comment. Maybe I'm becoming my mother. I have my complaints about the site. I often don't feel like I really fit in here. I certainly don't think or write in a linear way, at times I wish I did. The numbers of writeups, the number of hits, the number of upvotes and downvotes, even the number of C!s don't register in my brain as much as the words from others.

Yesterday I felt sad about this place because I had two writeups deleted rather summarily. Yesterday I felt sad because I don't want to leave here, because I want this place to be better, because running away and changing your name doesn't solve problems. I should know, I did it three times in real life.

My Mom was really proud of the gift she'd found for my birthday. I wondered about that, because normally she pesters me with "What do you want?" requests but this time nada. And that's fine. I've been a homeowner for fifteen years and frankly I have too much stuff already. My bedroom consists of bed, dresser, two bookshelves and a home theater with just enough floor space to service the above. There's really nothing I need, but my family likes giving presents. And we like celebrating each other.

My mother has retired from a career in politics and public service. Right now she has a hobby of buying items at house/estate sales and reselling them on eBay. And she'd found me a watch. An Omega Seamaster. I knew Omega made pretty good watches, but jewelry is not a subject of particular interest. I once had a very serious relationship with a jeweler, and my disinterest in rings, watches and pendants is probably a decent part of the reason we split up. She once told me "You'd look really good in an Ebel watch." She told me that with her discount, she could get one for only $1,500. I told her there wasn't a watch on Earth worth $1500.

I probably shouldn't have said that.

But now I have this lovely gold colored Omega watch my Mom found at an estate sale. It's self-winding, so I have to wear it. But I work with tools. And one day up in a ceiling the pin popped out and off came my watch. I slipped in my pocket so I could get a new pin.

And then I forgot to take it out of my pocket when I put my pants in the laundry.

Homer Simpson has nothing on me.

Turns out the local watch repair places won't touch it. Apparently, only Omega can work on Omega watches. I get the idea that fixing this thing is going to be really expensive, like $500 to a thousand bucks. That, to me, is more then any watch is worth. But my Mom gave it to me and she is so proud of it. So I have to fix it. So off I went to the local Omega dealer to hand it over so it can be sent off for repair. My salesperson took it to her watch person. They held a long conference which seemed intense. Another salesperson walked over, and the watch lady held it up my watch for all to see. I could tell that something was happening, but wasn't sure what.

So she comes over and asked me how I got it. I told her my mother gave it to me as a birthday present. Their eyes got bigger and I could see looks exchanged. The next question was "Where did your mother get this?" So I explained that my Mom likes to frequent house sales.

Their eyes expanded to proportions seen only in DeBeers diamond ads. You know the ads, where the man gives his significant lady some kind of diamond and her action makes it clear that no matter what her policy is, tonight he's getting a blow job. The watch specialist leaned over and both and asked and asked me, "Have you ever had this appraised?"

I shook my head. If it were set of Krell monoblock amplifiers I'd have a clue. But this is jewelry where I am innocent as a volcano virgin. But now the sales staff is gathered together telling each other "He has no idea." And I'm standing there like an idiot. The watch lady leaned over and told me, "You might want to have it appraised for insurance purposes."

So I ventured a sentence. "You're telling me it's pretty valuable."

All three nodded as if they were one. "Ballpark figure?" I asked.

The watch lady gathers her breath before she speaks. "It's a legacy model, and it's made of solid gold. The whole thing is 18-carat gold. At the very least, it's worth $8,000. I've seen Omegas like this valued for as much as $50,000."

Fifty thousand dollars? Holy Fucking Shit!

Oh, I don't believe it but it finally sunk in that I've been wearing a watch on a ladder wiring boxes that's worth more then my car. It might be worth as much as my house!

Holy Fucking Shit!

I won't be wearing it to work any more.

At that point my eyes must have grown to saucer size. My buddy Chris was with me and he's on his cell, calling his wife to tell her the whole story. I feel sort of numb, trying to comprehend this little bit of news. But the process kept moving as the watch lady explained to me what would happen, and that I should expect an estimate of at least four to six-hundred dollars, and they'll call me and let me know what it needs. And I am the guy who once told his very serious girlfriend that no watch on earth was worth fifteen hundred bucks. Am I fixing this one? Hell Yes I am!

My mother knew she bought something good when she found this one at the sale. For a couple hundred bucks tops she probably scored something worth five figures. Mom, I gotta tell you that you had every reason on Earth to feel proud of this present. You outdid yourself.

The cost of repair turned out to be $1580. Yikes!

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