When lottery jackpots grow people naturally daydream about what they would do if by chance they won.I, like so many Americans, enjoy a few cool beverages after the day's work. I commonly go to a little neighborhood bar by my home for an idle hour of conversation The kind of place where everybody knows your name. The patrons are mostly middle-aged working class people, married with children in various stages of education and life.
Recently, the conversation turned to lottery day dreams and people took turns discussing what they would do with their new-found wealth. Some would retire sooner and in more comfort than they had planned. Some would improve their homes or buy a new home they had always wanted. Some would pay their children's mortgages and make their lives more comfortable. Others would pay their children's or grandchildren's education to help them achieve their goals. For the most part things like that. One guy did observe that he would prepay his stay at the Betty Ford Clinic.
I was struck by the uniform generosity and kindness of these day dreams. This money, if won, would simply fulfill things people had been working on their whole lives in a few, very lucky seconds. No one wanted to corner the market on some commodity or set up a rival to Bain Capital or Berkshire-Hathaway.
I'm sure these conversations were repeated thousands of times the whole way across the country and they confirm what I have always thought: The average American is decent, kind, and generous; usually to a fault. Dreams of avarice are not common and the will to power is an unknown concept to the majority of people.
No matter what mayhem we might see in our mindless entertainments, the horrors we see on the evening news, or what some politicians would have us believe about our deteriorating culture, the main body of us embrace the values we are told have become a thing of the past. Fidelity, charity, and commitment to family and community are still the norm and we pass these things still to our children and grandchildren.
The odds of winning the lottery are pretty slim. Maybe it is a regressive tax on the poor and working class but where else for a lousy dollar can you have such wonderful day dreams?