When I posted my Facebook status yesterday, January 6, 2016, I was pretty sure that a good friend’s reply was right on.
I wrote: “OK…alright…i know that the odds of winning are 1 in 292,201,338. But you can’t win if you don’t play. It was either a couple of bottles of two-buck-chuck, or this:
Charles replied: “Should have bought at least one bottle, so if you win you can celebrate, or when you lose, you can drown your sorrows.”
I teasingly gave him grief for the word choices, i.e. the “if” and the “when.” It turns out that he was right when he said “when,” but not just for me….nobody won the jackpot. They’re predicting it will be the largest in US history at $675M on saturday.
In the early days of lotto, when Illinois had one of the bigger games, I was working at Andersen in Portland, frequently traveling to WHQ in Chicago and the Training Center in St. Charles. A friend and I sometimes talked about what we’d do if one of us won the state’s lottery grand prize. These conversations usually happened after one of us had just taken the direct UAL flight back to PDX from o’hare.
One recurring theme was how we’d quit Andersen.
The preferred option was to be out at a client when we found out we had the winning number. We’d excuse our self from the client meeting and place a call to the office. After pleasantries with whoever was on the switchboard, we’d ask for Harry (the managing partner), hoping that Marilyn would answer. “…could you give him a message. I’m quitting effective immediately….just pack up my office and ship everything to my house. Tell Harry that i said thanks for everything, and good luck. Be sure to tell him this: Go Beavers!!” If we happened to be at a client we liked, we’d go back to the meeting. If not, we’d just vanish.
Time passed. We had the above conversation a few more times…talking about what we’d do with the money, and how big the prize would have to be for us to make that call and walk away. John was now based in Nashville, and had been for awhile. I was in the depths of hell at AATT-whatever (they changed the name often…) in Sarasota.
I don’t know many times we’d had these brief lotto fantasy chats as part of longer calls. Then one mid-afternoon on a spring day John called and he got right to it.
The first words I heard: “Steve, we’ve both been wrong about this all along.”
“Really John? What the heck are we talking about?”
“Steve, suppose right now I get a call from Jack in Atlanta.” (it coulda been bill in nyc…those specifics don’t matter here.) “He tells me that I have to be at a client in new york for a breakfast meeting.”
“I tell my secretary to get me a flight and a hotel. I call Betsy and tell her to pack a bag and get it to the airport asap. And then I head to BNA in a panic, and so does she. Fuck Me.”
And we’re just now about to get to the best part!!
“You asked what I was talking about? I’m telling you how to quit this chicken-shit operation… We DON’T quit….repeat: we Do Not Quit. Steve, if I’d really won that 66 million here’s how it plays out when I get that call telling me to head to NYC. I see how far I can push the bastards.”
“My secretary and Betsy don’t have to do a thing…well, Betsy will have to listen to what went down….and you’ll get to hear about it too….but nobody will have to make any hurried reservations, pack any bags, or rush around. I’d tell Jack that I’d really love to be in New York in the morning, but it’s not gonna happen, what with Angie having a soccer game this evening, and me having something to do with Julie in the morning.”
“I’d tell him I could be on the phone for an hour or two tomorrow, but I can’t be there in the morning. I’d tell him that next Tuesday looked good. And then i’d see how many times I could pull this shit before they shitcan me….”
I damned near fell out of my chair….it really was an LOL experience. I’m chiming in a little while he talks, but I’m laughing too hard to say much.
If I had 1,000 bucks for every time I’ve laughed at the thought of that call from John, I’d for sure be driving a nicer car than the one I bought on e-bay six years ago.
Btw, whenever we had any future chats about lotteries it usually included some speculation about how jack or bill or whoever would have reacted when we laughed as they were being all serious when they finally got around to terminating us. After we stopped laughing, we would begin negotiating a generous severance package, not letting them know about our good fortune.
I haven’t had a W-2 job in a dozen years, so I haven’t had a job to quit for awhile. I seldom buy a lottery ticket, and only then if the prize is huge. So this fantasy hasn’t been relevant for a long time.
But sometimes you just gotta dream. And sometimes you have to think about good times gone by….and laugh out loud.
Be. Just BE.