Rich is as rich does

It had the makings of idle chit-chat, the kind of small talk you may or may not engage in at the gym when you make eye contact with a total stranger.
Y’know, one of those “how ya doin’?” things. Or perhaps “wazzup” for those under 30. Sometimes a simple nod is sufficient.
But not this day. No, this day my “how ya doin’?” was met with, “Lousy, I didn’t win the lottery last night.”
“Oh,” I said, wishing as the word came out of my mouth I had opted for the nod. “I don’t even buy tickets.”
“Almost 500 million,” he said, shaking his head.
Nod. I should have nodded right then. It was not too late.
But no. I talked.
“To me the biggest fun in winning that much money would be giving it away.”
“You don’t get the whole 500 million,” the guy said.
“Well, what?” I answered. “300 million? 350? I’d have just as much fun giving that away.”
“Not me,” he said. “I’d spend every penny on myself. Starting with a world cruise.”
“Well, be careful if you do win,” I added, looking for an exit from this conversation. “That much money can actually ruin a guy’s life.”
“I’d take that chance,” he said. “I’d rather be miserable and rich than miserable and poor.”
“Well, good luck,” I said as I headed for the ab apparatus, violating a personal rule to never end a conversation with an insincere, “Good luck.” This time, however, it seemed appropriate.
As I began my crunches I could not help but think if I ever did buy a lottery ticket, and if I ever did win a few hundred million, I’d like to track that guy down.
I’d like to track him down and send him on that world cruise. It would be well worth a couple of hundred grand to see him finally get what he wanted. He could be miserable and rich. Even if only for a month or so.

Ed Ackerman