A Dream or a Nightmare?

Ever wonder what it would be like to wake up one morning, check the numbers on the lottery ticket you bought yesterday and find that you’re suddenly a millionaire?  Most of us don’t get much past the dreaming stage there, but that might be for the best, for that dream can well turn into a nightmare.

Jane Doe just won over a half billion dollars … $560 million, to be precise.  But whether Jane ever sees so much as a dollar of that money depends on her willingness to give up her privacy and perhaps even place her life in jeopardy.  Tough decision, yes?

Ms. Doe won the Powerball lottery jackpot in New Hampshire, where lottery rules require that her name be made public.  I see you’re thinking, “okay, so what?”, but let’s take a look at what has befallen past lottery winners after the initial shock wore off.

In November 2015, Craigory Burch Jr. matched all five numbers in the Georgia Fantasy 5 drawing and won a $434,272 jackpot. Two months later, Craigory was dead, after seven masked men kicked in his front door and murdered him in front of his girlfriend and children.

Abraham Shakespeare won a $30 million lottery prize in 2006. Shakespeare quickly grew frustrated with the constant appeals for money from both friends and strangers. He told his brother, “I’d have been better off broke.” Two years later, he was approached by Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, who said she was writing a book about how people were taking advantage of him. She soon became his financial adviser and slowly siphoned away his money. In November of 2009 his family reported that they had not seen nor heard from him for seven months.  His body was found buried under 9 feet of dirt under a newly constructed concrete slab.  Ms. Moore is currently serving a life sentence, and Mr. Shakespeare never made it past age 42.

Other winners have reported that reporters and camera crews wait outside their homes, following them everywhere they go, strangers come knocking at their doors asking for money, and of course the phone calls, scammers, are non-stop.

Lottery commissions in many states require that the person’s name must be made public before he/she can collect their winnings, and some states even require that the winner submit to being paraded before the public on television in a public relations ad.  The reason is stated to be to protect the integrity of the lottery and quell the voices of those who might otherwise claim the game is rigged.  In reality, such publicity draws more people to buy tickets, thus increasing profits.

But on the other side of the coin, it hardly seems fair that the winner has to basically change their name and move to another state in order to protect their privacy, their winnings, and perhaps even their very lives.

Jane Doe has petitioned the court in Merrimack, New Hampshire, to allow her to remain anonymous, but my best guess is that she will not win that argument.  Unfortunately, she already signed the back of the lottery ticket, as advised on the lottery website.  Had she not done so, she could have legally established a trust to collect the money for her, thereby preserving her privacy.

Why am I writing about this today, you ask?  Because as I trolled the news this morning, I quickly became tired of seeing you-know-who’s picture and name on every story, and when I saw this one, I felt great empathy for Jane Doe, for I would be the same … I would not wish my name made public if I had more than my usual few dollars in the bank.  I pictured myself going out and purchasing a really big, solid baseball bat to bash the heads of any who came to my door.  And then, I pictured myself in an orange jumpsuit sitting behind bars.  I hope Jane Doe has better luck.

Meanwhile, since it never hurts to dream a little bit … I know what I would do if I won $500 million … what about you?

61 thoughts on “A Dream or a Nightmare?

  1. Will first off, I would love to have that problem. I would want my name not to made public. Lottery winners have a history of bad decisions after they have won. Many go bankrupt. I agree with you about wanting to read about something else than 45 all day long. Currently reading about a local pup here that is going to the Westminister Dog School. Her name is Emmy. Go Emmy!!!!!

    DJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome, DJ! I have a grandson we call DJ. Yes, the money goes to some people’s heads and they made really bad choices, then end up worse off than they were before. The story about the dog sounds fun!

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  2. Stupid idea making them reveal their names. Is that a sneaky way of scaring folk off from collecting their winnings.
    Anyway IF I was in the USA and IF I won $560,000,000 dollars
    Firstly I’d hire some of those nice guys from Academi to provide me with security– that should scare folk off.
    Then I’d bite one of Trump’s high profile supporter’s leg and hire one of those high flying lawyers to get me off scot free.
    Meanwhile ten actors dressed as Trump lookalikes would be hired to stand in various places crying out ‘I have seen the light’ and sing ‘The Red Flag’
    Invest $1,000,000 in a self-published book which proves that anything anyone on the Alt-Right says is actually coded instructions from Moscow to sleeper agents.
    And then hide away somewhere thinking what other schemes I could cook up…….
    Oh yeh, run for Congress….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s definitely interesting. I have heard a few people say they know someone who won the lottery and their life has only gone down hill. To me it’s about relationships, if you have strong relationships before the money comes I believe it will only make life better but if you have weak relationships money will only add to the emptiness, addiction, etc. #BSOLO

    Liked by 1 person

    • Strong relationships, compassion and common sense should keep one afloat even after winning the lottery. So many let it go to their head and ruin their lives. Personally, I am pretty content with what I have. 🙂

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  4. I honestly think I would give it away. The problems you point to are simply symptoms of the larger issue: wealth is a trap and it can easily take a person down. I am happy with what I have and know there are a great many people who could use a hand up. I know it sounds like an “alternative fact,” but I honestly think this is what I would do.

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  5. I too play some lotteries, even knowing the waste of my lottery dollars, and the liabilities and tribulations of winning big. But I do not dream of winning big, I play those lotteries that funnel the monies into charities (supposedly, of course). This is my way of making complrtely anonymous donations. No one will ever know how much I donate, to whom, or how often. Of course, it’s a radical way of viewing donations, but I’m nothing if not a radical guy. So, Jill, send me your address just in case I need a place to store 50 or so million someday. You sound like a good charity to me, lol. Your blog must go on…

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  6. I read some people saying they don’t play lotteries so they don’t lose nor worry. True. However I do play the lotteries. Sometimes I win more than I play , other times I do not. However I play only what I can afford to throw away, the loss doesn’t harm me in any way, and I get all the joy and benefits of dreaming and thinking of what a grand new joys I could experience with such an influx of money. I can dream of what I would do, those I would help , how I would use the money to make a difference. For me it is a fair trade, win or lose. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Before I retired, I used to toss a buck into the office pool, but these days only occasionally do I buy a ticket. I’m not out much, so don’t have much opportunity. But, like you, I would enjoy being able to help others, to try to make the world just a little bit better. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know that I’d like living in an impregnable bunker or riding around in a bullet-proof car, not able to take a walk in the woods without fear. I think I would just give it all away and then there would be no reason to murder me! 😀

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      • That was very much tongue-in-cheek – I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I think the best move would be to bring in a lawyer to give advice, then go identify yourself. No matter whether you’re in danger or not, winning that amount of money would be a life changer.

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  7. I had no idea lottery winners were subjected to such draconian conditions. Then again, I don’t buy lottery tickets so I probably shouldn’t be surprised.
    What’s that old saying? No free lunches? I guess money for nothing probably falls into that category. We always have to pay, the only question is how much and when. 😦

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    • Quite so. And I’ve read so many stories of people who did foolish things with their winnings and ended up flat broke within just a few years. Me? I’d give most of it away, for at my age, what do I need it for? I would buy a home, though, and set up a trust for my girls. And maybe a new pair of shoes, for mine are developing holes. 😀

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      • Most lotto winner think they should take the pay off lump sum amount rather than the overtime pay outs. I disagree, especially with large amounts. You get far more of the money by taking the yearly payments. You can still invest or live well, but you have security of knowing for 20 or 30 years you get a large sum each year. Keeps you from spending it all in a year or two. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, the way to look at hat is actuarially. If you’re 20-30 years old and can reasonably expect to live for another 25 years, then you are right, the annual payments is the way to go. However, at my age, the odds are slim-to-none that I would live to collect it all, and it does NOT go to your estate, but merely goes back into the lottery pool. Another way of looking at it is that if you took the immediate payout and invested it wisely, you could end up with more than you would with the annual payments. But, of course, most people haven’t got the willpower to do that … it starts burning a hole in their pockets before they even get it, I think! 😉

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  8. Dear Jill,
    Thanks for the warning. If I am so fortunate, I’ll go to an attorney, first thing. I am like Jane Doe. I wouldn’t change. I would help a lot of folks but I would live in the same house, drive the same car. I like living simply. My children would be set. Then I’d set up a foundation where I could generously help others anonymously.

    I feel for Jane Doe.I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

      • We, at least the oldest kids, were taught (and it was an “applied” lesson) that there is no free lunch; that everything has a price; that anything promising something free is a trap for the weak-minded, which included free salvation! To me an accidental lottery win would be a major curse. Lotteries contain moneys stolen under false pretenses. All that money is cursed with the shattered hopes held by thousands of people when they bought a ticket. No wonder it causes problems: it’s a moral disease. Lotteries by their very nature, gambling, are immoral. Moral people would never indulge in such blatant theft. Like taking candy from a baby. If we the people indulge openly in immoral behaviour, what right do we have to point the finger at the big winners in the same game? Is it any wonder the whole world’s in the “shit hole” it’s in?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Take deep breaths now, Sha’Tara! I suppose on some level you are right, but … Isomehow don’t think that the lottery is the beginning of the downfall of human civilization as we know it. But then … what do I know?

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    • No, I never heard of that movie, but then I’m not big on television or movies. If one can afford to toss away a buck a week, it’s fun, but too many people spend more than a dollar, money they can ill afford, and place too much hope in winning. It’s really not much different than playing the slots in Vegas. Cheers!

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  9. Making the name public is cruel! The poor lady won’t have one quite day any more. – What would I do with loads of money? Oh…. giving parts of it to family, giving parts of it to charity, doing some stuff in and around the house, probably buy a new car (ours is the same age as oldest son) … maybe a cool long vacation, and keeping the rest around as nest egg for later. – But I guess that is what everyone would do …

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    • I agree, it IS cruel. I’m with you, but once I set up a trust for my girls, bought a car and a modest home, I would give the rest away to people who really need it, for at my age, I am unlikely to need a nest egg. 😉

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