Lottery Winners Say the Most Foolish Things, Like 'I'm Going to Keep My Job'

November 06, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

"I'm not going to change my life dramatically."

-- Fred Jacobs, $18.1 million New York Lottery jackpot winner.

I don't know . . . maybe it's me. Guy wins 18 million bucks, says he's not going to change his life.

He's 42, a toolmaker from upstate New York. He makes $45,000 a year. He drives a pickup with 130,000 miles on it.

But $18 million is not going to change his life.

No, siree.

Hoo-boy. Watching the tape of Fred Jacobs' news conference last week and seeing that deer-in-the-headlights look as he stared at the TV cameras, it occurred to me that all these big lottery winners say the same things.

The first thing they all say is that the money isn't going to change them.

All I can say is, you'd notice a few changes in me if I won $18 million.

The first change you'd notice would be me hanging from a chandelier with a bottle of champagne in one hand. Other changes would include a new Jaguar in my driveway, along with a whole lot of noise emanating from in front of my house as I banged a "For Sale" sign into the lawn.

Another thing all these big lottery winners say is that they're going to keep their jobs.

"Sure, maybe I just won $25 million," they all say, "but I'll be back at Carpet World first thing in the morning."

This is something I could never understand.

Look, pal, if you're so hung up on accent rugs, remnants, padding, etc., take the money and buy yourself a chain of carpet stores.

And let somebody else run it.

That way you're not spending your days bent over in some dusty storeroom with a tape measure in your mouth thinking: "Did she say 60-square-feet for the hallway or the bedroom or what?"

According to the New York Times, Fred Jacobs said he wasn't sure if he would quit his job at a General Electric plant, where he'd worked 24 years.

To me, this is a no-brainer.

If I win $18 mil, you don't see me in front of a word processor again. Ever.

In fact, whenever you see me from then on, I'm poolside on a chaise lounge with a pina colada.

But Jacobs said of going back to his job: "I'll think it over. I don't want to get lazy. I'll do my own work."

Fred, Fred, Fred . . . isn't the whole point of playing the lottery so you don't have to work if your ship comes in?

The other thing about all these big lottery winners is that they all insist on spending the money so . . . sensibly.

I remember the fellow in Pennsylvania, I think it was, who won $40 million a couple of years ago.

MA He and his wife, both looking dazed, were promptly paraded in

front of the TV cameras.

And naturally the first question was: "Ray, what'll you do with all the money?"

"Well," ol' Ray began, "me and Alice were talking about that last night."

And?

"We might screen in the front porch."

When I heard this, it was all I could do not to jump in my car and speed up I-83 and try to find this guy's house, so that I could personally whack him over the head with a tree branch and bring him to his senses.

YOU MIGHT SCREEN IN THE FRONT PORCH?!

YOU JUST WON FORTY MILLION BUCKS AND YOU MIGHT SCREEN IN THE FRONT PORCH?!

I'm telling you, people like this, they don't deserve to win $40 million.

Of course, I don't know if Ray and Alice were any more annoying than those big lottery winners who say they'll put the money away for the kids' college education.

The kids' college education . . . live a little, for God's sake!

Buy a new sports car, take a cruise, have some fun!

The kids . . . you think the kids are worrying about you?

You think they're over at the mall with their thuggish friends, smoking cigarettes and comparing nose rings and thinking: "Gee, I hope Mom and Dad have enough to retire on?"

Yeah. That'll be the day.

C7 Kevin Cowherd is a columnist for The Baltimore Sun.

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