American DreamersHoly cannoli. Have you been following this Mega Millions madness? The lottery jackpot was at $640 million when the winning numbers were drawn last night (2-4-23-38-46, Mega Ball 23). That's a world record-breaking jackpot and a lot of cash -- enough to put someone right into the 1 percent.
Unfortunately, there were 3 winners last night -- winning tickets were purchased in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. They'll have to divvy up the spoils and each person will end up with a meager $213 million (before taxes). Two hundred and thirteen million dollars -- not bad for a day's work.
So who were these lucky stiffs?
Their names haven't been released yet. But while we wait to find out, let's discuss the true magnificence about this whole lottery thing.
The odds of winning were astronomical (176 million to 1). As in, if you bought a ticket, you really didn't have a chance in hell. But who did that stop from buying a ticket? Not any of the dreamers who stood in long lines from coast to coast.
The lottery is apt metaphor for what makes America so great. Even when the odds aren't in our favor, we're willing to throw caution (or at least a few bucks*) to the wind -- and take a chance. (*In fact, lottery players collectively tossed more than $1.46 billion dollars into the jackpot.) And if it looks like we can't accomplish something on our own, we'll team up and pool our resources for a better chance at success (the way so many co-workers and friends pooled their money to buy more tickets and increase their odds). And even today, when the vast majority of us knows we've lost our shot at the big bucks (this time), and there are only 3 among us who have won, we're wondering who those lucky few are. We can't wait to find out and hear their stories -- and be happy for them. We will take joy in their happiness.
And like true Americans, we won't give up. We'll try again. And again. And again. Whether we're playing the lottery or have another goal in mind -- Americans are dreamers, we have hope. We take risks despite the odds. And sometimes, we even win.
Congratulations to the winners!
Did you buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket? Are you dying to find out who won?
Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty