I love it when our country comes together as it did last Wednesday night. There was so much expectation after a long hiatus. There were long lines in Washington especially around the Capitol where Republican and Democratic campaign fundraising had stalled. Planning for what we would do with $930 million when we won the POWERBALL was enough to make one forget The State of The Union.
Merry and I spent that evening at dinner with friends talking about how we were going to spend $930 million when we won the POWERBALL. We were surprised at how many of our friends had their own version of Fantasy Island, but what shocked me most was the consistency of our dreams.
Most of our winnings would go to our favorite government (involuntary charity) but after that we had a chance to really do something meaningful as philanthropists. We all liked the idea of supporting the Cleveland healthcare system and we all liked backing independent Cleveland educational institutions, including charter schools. A few guys were going to buy out Jimmy Haslam and help Hue Jackson with his draft picks. There were a few political aspirants who wanted to run for President, and I could not argue with their credentials – they were neither community organizers nor inherited billionaires with no manners. However, we all agreed as normal folks who run businesses, make payroll, raise families, go to church on Sunday and keep promises, we were massively over-qualified for political life.
I actually had a special feeling when I bought that ticket. Even though our odds of winning were lower than the Browns chance of getting Justin Gilbert to play more than one quarter without a concussion, I was convinced we had a chance to win and then do something important with the proceeds.
However when it came time for the drawing, it was actually a great relief (and rationalization) that our numbers were not chosen. Having $930 million would have sucked. Just the legal fees of trying to remain anonymous, which are legally possible in the State of Ohio, but highly improbable in the internet age, would have eaten up most of the winnings. My family obligations would have spoken for most of the remaining $400 million. Luckily neither Merry nor I have a posse or a publicist. After lawyers and family we would be down to $1.0 mil chips for the important people in our lives; dog sitters, physical therapists, astrologists (Rob’s investments) and dry cleaners.
Nonetheless, we are secretly hoping for a new $1.5 Billion Powerball so, again, we can go through that hopeful phase of changing the world with more than $1 billion in winnings. We know we are unqualified for politics and snakebit with Cleveland sports, so we will probably focus on things we really care about like family, friends, God and country. These are no longer popular causes so our $1 Billion foundation should make us big time players in those pursuits unless, of course, Lois Lerner comes out of retirement and our application for nonprofit status is somehow lost in the mail.
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