Reasons to buy Mega Millions tickets — or not

Posted: March 29, 2012

Some would say it's a no-brainer.

If you don't buy a ticket in the Mega Millions lottery, no way you're going to win the all-time record jackpot, just raised to $540 million freaking dollars.

The drawing is Friday night.

On the other hand, the odds stink.

One chance in 175.7 million.

How long is that? I'm thinking of a random person in Pennsylvania. Guess who. You did? Not good enough. Still gotta guess the person's astrological sign.

You could, of course, form a lottery pool and improve your odds. Say 100 people each put in $10. That improves the group's odds a thousandfold. Still, it would still be easier to guess a designated strand from an average full head of hair.

Besides, you'd reduce your personal take to $3.9 million - before taxes - if you opt for cash.

Of course, there are other considerations.

If you don't play, you have no hope of leaving your %$@*& job right away.

And you sure don't want to have to show up while your ex-colleagues party because their pool won.

Other rationalizations abound.

By buying a ticket, you're doing your part for seniors in Pennsylvania or students in New Jersey.

Of course, you could just hand a senior 50 cents.

If you win, you'll definitely be doing a lot for Uncle Sam.

By not buying a ticket, though, you're proving you're not part of the herd mentality that thinks money is the answer to all ills. It's better for your soul.

If money is power, and power corrupts, a lottery jackpot would absolutely corrupt you.

On the hand, there are a lot of people with ills and medical bills you could help if you won a lot of cash. Regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the "Obamacare" case.

If you win, you'll never again be sure if someone likes you for yourself, or just for your backroll.

Then again, gone would be anybody's disappointment in you for not making enough money.

If you're still undecided, flip a coin.

Check a fortune cookie.

Or consider a far-out idea from physics - and the Fox show Fringe.

There might be an infinite number of parallel universes, with an infinite numbers of yous.

If that's the case, no matter what you do here, at least one of them is a cinch to win.

While 175 million others lose.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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