You can tell a lot about people by their lotto fantasies. For example, you can tell someone is socially conscious when he or she pledges to donate all or part of his or her imaginary fortune to causes like protecting the rainforest or stopping the melt of the polar icecap. Likewise, it is logical to conclude that someone is religious if their lotto dreams involve donating money to a faith-based organization, or providing scholarships for kids to attend Bible camp.
At the same time, you can reasonably surmise that someone is eccentric if he or she dreams of using his or her winnings to fund an interplanetary vacation or fashion an abandoned missile silo into a six story pet store. And folks are likely to label you civic-minded if you envision yourself making a large contribution to a hospital or college—unless, of course, you do so on the stated condition that a wing, a lab, or the entire structure be named after you, in which case they will probably call you an egomaniac.
At first blush, my own lotto fantasies suggest that I am generous and kind. This is because my lotto ‘To Do’ list includes sharing a portion of my winnings with loved ones, and repaying those who helped me when I was young and/or down on my luck. These goals are accompanied by a plan to promote and reward academic excellence and good character among the youth in my orbit, and to support the charitable organizations that share my values.
But underneath the surface lurk darker motives. For example, until recently my lotto fantasies included making a large investment in an organization with which I was once affiliated but from which I was forced to part ways because the management style of its leader was incompatible with my ability to maintain my sanity and dignity. The plan was to make said investment via a series of monthly payments over the course of five years or so, which would have required said leader to sign and send me a letter of acknowledgement for sixty consecutive months, thereby reminding us both that I was no longer subject to his/her personal and professional vacillations, and that my economic status no longer depended on my ability and willingness to do so. In addition, I planned to designate the funds to advance a project that he/she did not wholeheartedly support, which I estimate would have twisted the figurative knife about 180 degrees.
I still plan to make a sizeable donation to that program within that same organization if and when I hit the jackpot. But as the person who used to sign the letters of acknowledgement has since vacated that role, I’ve decided to make my donation in annual payments instead of monthly ones, thereby saving the organization time, paper, and postage.
Another fantasy that originates in the darker areas of my nature involves an inverse charitable equivalent of that age-old custom of T-P-ing all of the houses on a block except one, thereby making everyone in the neighborhood think the people who live in that house are the ones who did the T-P-ing—or at least making everyone resent them for not having to remove all the TP from their property. In this situation, however, I would punish all of the organizations who try to control or destroy smaller entities with similar missions and/or those with whom they compete for funding by making a large contribution to every OTHER charity within their area of focus or geographic region. This may not influence the public’s perception of the larger organizations, but it should help the smaller entities protect themselves from those who fancy themselves the Masters of Puppetville.
My plans may sound grandiose, and reading about them may cause people to think twice about associating with me in the future. But it’s not as if I’m looking to imprison someone for a crime they didn’t commit, or plotting against someone who doesn’t have it coming. I’m just talking about adjusting the balance of power within my tiny sphere of influence. Or, in a word, justice.
Of course, I’ve been playing the lotto for a long time and have yet to win enough to pay back the girl who stole my boyfriend in 1982. Then again, she married the deceitful bastard, so I guess fate took care of that for me.