Saturday, August 29, 2009

In the Aftermath of Mega Disappointment

Did you recognize that collective cry of agony here in Ohio as ticket holders discovered that the winning Mega Millions numbers were sold in California and New York? It was rather like the noise that Obi-wan Kenobi heard when the Death Star destroyed Alderaan. I didn’t realize how much I wanted that win to be in my home state until I was struck by the reality of all that money going somewhere else. Granted, even if someone here had won it, there was little likelihood of it saving Ohio’s failing economy.

I think we really need something to cheer about. The Indians have failed us miserably, the Browns are questionable (though showing a glimmer of promise), and the population lives in fear that LeBron will leave the Cavs. A Mega Millions winner of such a huge jackpot in Ohio would have been a nice little shot of hope and adrenaline. The people need something positive to focus on rather than thinking about their financial woes.

Ohio and it’s residents have taken a huge hit in jobs lost, layoffs, and salary cuts. Most everyone is cutting back and struggling to get by. I consider us to be extremely lucky so far. My husband was cut to 4 days a week in February (an effective 20% cut in pay). I took a 10% cut shortly after that, but I’m still working a full 40 hours (and sometimes more). After 6 months of income loss, I can see it taking a toll on my meager savings account as we keep tapping it to make ends meet. But it could be so much worse. One or both of us could be out of work completely. It’s happening to Ohio residents in record numbers.

Somehow, I can’t help thinking about all the people I would help if I had won such a huge amount of money. After all, the pot was larger than the Gross National Product of many small countries!

Alas, all I can do is hope the winners in California and New York have enough social conscience to use some of those funds to help others.