By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Column: Playing the lottery ‘what if’ game
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I don’t know if you noticed, but both of the multi-state lottery games reached near record amounts last week. 

Because of our deadlines, someone may have won them. Probably not the same person, the odds against that are astronomical. The chance of winning just one of them is about one in 300 million.

That’s not really good odds. According to the gurus, your chances don’t increase much if you buy more than one ticket.

Many years ago, when Florida was the only state in the South with a lottery, a man from South Georgia won a pretty big prize. I remember asking him the obvious question of what he was going to do with his winnings. He told me he was going to remodel his house.

He lived in a 12-foot wide mobile home. I drove by it one day and saw that he had bricked it on all sides.

Even if you’ve never bought a lottery ticket, I’m sure you’ve played the “what if” game. Everybody who buys one plays it. It’s the little mental game that you play as you dream of what you would do with hundreds of millions of dollars.

I think of cars I would like to own, like a 1963 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. That’s the one with “suicide doors,” which is a back door that opens toward the front of the car. I would like to buy a top hat and have someone drive me around town and wave at everyone. I would also like to own a 1949 to ‘53 Chevrolet pickup. I just like it.

I don’t bowl, golf, play tennis or any other sports. I think I might like to have a pool with a lazy river around it. I watch those pool shows on TV and some of them are very attractive. Others are gaudy.

I think I would give enough money to my church to build a new music suite. I wouldn’t want them to name it for me. I might name it from some unlikely person, like Little Jimmy Dickens or Doodlin’ Del Reeves, two country stars that are no longer with us.

I would like to do something nice for all the kids, like pay off some college loans and help them find a good car.

I think I might buy a place in the country and acquire all my favorite amusement park rides, like the Ferris wheel and the tilt-a-whirl. I would get my big Lincoln and go pick up the world’s most perfect grandson and bring him over for games and fair food, like corndogs and fried Twinkies.

I would like to do something special for my wife. She has ideas about having homes in some of our favorite places. That sounds good to me.

I would like to go down to Walton County and build a new church at Gratis in honor of my grandparents and great-grandparents. I would find some appropriate way to memorialize my Mama and Daddy.

It would be fun to become an anonymous donor. I’d like to build a subdivision for folks who live in some ramshackle house and need something better.

How much fun would it be to go down to the bank and get a few hundred dollar bills and just slip them in some poor soul’s pocketbook?

That’s today’s version of what if. If I want to play it for real, I better go buy a ticket.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the weekend Life page and on