Wow! All this Powerball fuss is incredible! It’s, at this moment, a whopping 1.3 BILLION dollars, and the biggest in lottery history. Facebook is inundated with posts about how people will spend the money if they win. IF THEY WIN!! It has created a frenzy to say the least.
I think the overwhelming majority of people buying tickets cannot even fathom the amount of money the pay out would be. How could they? The average income in our country is $51,000 a year. In Kansas the annual pay out, after taxes, is $30 Million per year for 30 years! The sad truth is most people that win are out of money in a few short years. But it isn’t stopping anyone from trying. And as the saying goes “you don’t win if you don’t play”.
I was in the gas station today and there were about 6 people standing in line, all talking about the Powerball. “How many tickets are you getting?” “I heard someone bought $100 worth of tickets earlier.” “Somebody has to win right?” And the conversations continued as I walked out the door. It reminded me of something- my all time favorite movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
In the movie, Charlie’s family was poor and sickly and I desperately wanted him to find a GOLDEN TICKET. Do you remember those scenes of people screaming and fighting over those tickets? People were swiping them out of each other’s hands and claiming them for their own. These people were in an all out hysteria over the tickets and there were several, (unlike the chances of the Powerball) and the prize was a tour of a chocolate factory that had shut its doors to the public years before.
The press would interview each golden ticket finding family and most the recipients were a loathsome bunch. But Charlie was a sweet boy. He was a good boy. Did what his parents asked, was respectful and humble. He had nothing. He ate cabbage soup every day for dinner and sometimes it didn’t even have cabbage!! When I watched his birthday celebration and realized he was going to be able to buy a bar, one bar, in which he hoped to get a golden ticket my heart raced I was so excited for poor Charlie.
I wonder if all this fuss will bring someone his or her dreams? Charlie found a golden ticket and toured the factory. After a somewhat abrupt end and an unexpected outburst by the owner, Willie Wonka, Charlie humbled himself and walked away. I wonder if the winner could walk away? But it was in that act that he won the grand prize. His humility and honesty won him the greatest most elaborate perfectly timed extraordinary prize of his lifetime.
The movie was a reminder that good things happen to good people and that money can’t buy happiness. It gave me hope. It showed me that the world is inherently good. When I was a kid, and even still now (I can admit it) I loved that movie. I would watch it over and over. It represented hope and what can happen if you can simply imagine it will. It was a kid’s dream come true. I wanted to ride in that flying glass elevator, I wanted to push the red button and soar through the glass ceiling (I’d still like to shatter the glass ceiling but that’s a blog for another day). I wanted to feel like I was floating on air just like Charlie!
I hope someone wins. I want them to have everything they ever dreamed of. I hope it’s someone like Charlie who came from nothing. I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. I’ll believe they are good, honest and humble like Charlie. I will believe that winning this prize will send them down a road that will turn their lives around for generations to come in their family. I will imagine them blasting through that glass ceiling that held them back from everything they ever wanted.
“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it
There is no life I know
To compare with
Living there, you’ll be free
If you truly wish to be”
Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory