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Lucky Me

I’m not a gambling woman per se. I don’t spend money when luck is the major factor of the outcome. However, my friends think I’m lucky. Last month I found $60 on the street, the month before that I found a $90 duvet at Home Goods for $7.99, and I even landed my apartment when I wasn’t even looking. The book The Luck Factor states that lucky people have three characteristics that unlucky people don’t. They’re extroverts, have a relaxed attitude towards life, and are open to new experiences.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

So, when the lottery hit half a billion dollars last week, I decided to test my luck and buy a ticket.

“One Mega Millions ticket, please,” I said, standing in a long line at a deli on West 72nd Street last Friday morning. I felt like Charlie in “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Would this be my golden ticket? The Indian woman behind the register plucked an already printed ticket from a basket and handed it to me.

“Don’t I get to choose my own numbers?” I said.

“Fine.” She looked annoyed. “What are they?” A wave of moans rippled out behind me.

I unfolded my scrap of paper. “7, 11, 14…” I paused. “How many do I get?”

More moans from the cheap seats.

Tucking the ticket into my wallet (and only realizing hours later she punched in 41 instead of 14!), I marched out into that chilly morning with an added kick in my step. While I didn’t believe I would actually win, the act of throwing my hat in the ring gave me a bit of a lift. What if? What if I did win?

Walking through Central Park en route to work, I let myself imagine what I’d do with the money. Pay off my mortgage, set up college funds for my niece, nephew and cousins, make donations to charities, buy new cars for family and friends, get my toilet fixed… Then I stopped. Most folks say first thing they’d do is quit their jobs. While I completely understand that, for me, however, winning the lottery would go towards helping me continue working at the things I love.

Maybe the real question shouldn’t be what do you dream of doing with the money, but just what do you dream of doing? Then you should ask, does it really require a lottery ticket? My dreams are fairly simple. Write, ride my bicycle, make art, and spend time with my family. These are dreams not only have I already achieved, but they don’t require half a billion dollars.

Maybe my friends are right. Maybe I am lucky. But it started at birth. I was named for my maternal grandmother Fela, and Fela means, well, lucky.

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