Picking up $370 million little pieces

New Jersey and Georgia. Only now is the shocking and awful truth setting in that my Mega Millions ticket was purchased elsewhere.

Hopeless. Distraught. Angry. How would you feel if you took one shot at $370 million, put everything on the line, and lost. You’d be devastated, just like me. But it’s like my Parole Officer always says, “when the get-rich-quick train to early retirement gets derailed, hop back onto the track and keep dreaming.”

So, let’s give the long road back to easy street one more try!

First things first. There isn’t a more painful Mega Millions-induced e-mail than the one where you grovel and beg for your job back. Suck it up, take it one keystroke at a time, and pretend to be sincere.

“Dear Boss, I am truly sorry for telling the entire office over the intercom that – after Tuesday night’s lottery drawing – you’d be pumping expensive gas (from a station I owned) into my new Dodge Viper by Friday. That was said in the heat of the moment (remember, I had just lit up my cubicle with Zippo Fluid) and it was totally uncalled for. I’ll admit it, I’m not as lucky as I thought, and acted somewhat foolishly. But I’ve paid my dues, plain and simple. And if there is a lesson that can be learned from all this, it’s to not count all your chickens before they’ve hatched (even if the eggs popped out of a golden goose, or so I thought). I’ve forgiven myself and am ready to move on with my life. The question is, are you?”

Your boss will completely understand. He might even apologize. Pretty soon, you’ll be looking back on all this and laughing.

The prospect of overnight financial success can create a lot of stress. Nothing feels the strain more than a relationship. So remember, be tender when you leave a “let’s work this out” voice message.

“This is Officer Johnson, your mother was drunk and disorderly this afternoon and we have her in custody down here ... haha just kidding! What’s up!? I know you’re probably a little upset. But don’t be, cuz daddy’s home. It’s true, I had planned to move to Mexico without you – but it was because you hate it there, and I wanted to experience it for the both of us so you wouldn’t have any regrets about it someday. But hey, I guess the road to hell really is paved with good intentions. But honestly, I also just needed to clear my head. The thought of having $370 million in my pocket just got to me. But if love didn’t want us to be together, I would have won it. Call me.”

Nobody ever said being smooth was a crime. Go to dinner and a movie – on you, of course. Do that and you’ll be moved back in – with free cable and recliner – before they noticed you were gone.

With life’s big lottery drawings will come life’s little fires to put out (use baking soda on a Zippo fire), that’s just how it goes. So just remember, even though riding the gravy train is easy, you might have to kill yourself a bit to get on it.

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