Powerball Prayers

Every so often, a huge lottery jackpot comes along and millions decide to disregard math for a little private entertainment.  What would I do with 100 million, 500 million, or a billion dollars?

A strong argument can be made that winning a huge lottery jackpot is much more damaging than not winning one.

And if that’s true, then the losers are the winners and the big winners will be rewarded with the complete and total destruction of their once-happy lives.

There are numerous examples of the sort of mayhem the sudden addition of mega millions can bring to an ordinary family. We already know gambling can become addictive and prolonged losing ruins good people. It appears winning can, too.

And yet folks continue to buy tickets, hoping that they will walk away with the most outrageous possible prize. Perhaps for those compelled to play, a short, expectation adjusting prayer is in order.

Now I buy me one more chance
I pray these numbers make me dance
Though not so much I play the fool
But just enough to keep me cool

With modest winnings I can spend
On things I won’t need to defend
Too small to get me on the news
But just enough for food and shoes

and something special for my spouse
and maybe to fix up the house.
I’ll dream of mega millions, Lord,
Though that’s more than I can afford.

But I question the tactic of using prayer to ask God to reward you with helpful, timely interventions. One look at a day’s worth of woe as it unfolds in the news is enough to convince a sober observer that God doesn’t feel a particular sense of urgency about rescuing good people from calamities.

Besides, if there was a divine desire to make you rich, would God need to use the Lottery to do it? I don’t think so – not as long as we have Las Vegas and Wall Street and You Tube.

So with all that in mind, I went ahead and bought my single ticket for Wednesday’s Powerball while muttering this quiet prayer.

Now I play the Powerball,
I pray my numbers come up, all.
And if I become rich today,
I pray I won’t throw it away.

By partying until the dawn.
By buying yachts for hangers-on.
By funding every worthless scheme
presented as a noble dream.

By hanging out in seedy bars.
By buying worthless classic cars.
By sending distant kin abroad.
Investing in a mammoth fraud.

By launching my own space balloon.
By subsidizing Trail Baboon.
By backing bets my buddies cast
On horses that will finish last.

I pray, in short, for money smarts,
to add to all my other arts.
The wisdom and the sense to see
I shouldn’t play the lottery.

How to squander a fortune? Let us count the ways.

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