Visions of Powerball
'Tis the season. A time when polarizing behavior is driven by a wide range of priorities.
We're bombarded by images of people pushing in the doors of retail stores in a mad rush.
Malls become packed. Church attendance picks up, too, although people don't wildly push doors to get into church.
The shopping behavior speaks to a culture honed over decades. For ages, we've been targets of a marketing strategy that wants to convince us that Christmas comes from a store.
No wonder some children believe that Christmas honors the birth of Santa. Go figure.
If money is the root of all evil, there was major evil in the news this week.
The holiday season was welcomed by a $325 million Powerball jackpot that nobody won on November 24.
The pot surged to over $500 million by Wednesday, surpassing the $337 million won in August by Donald Lawson, 44, of Lapeer, Michigan.
Lawson is a typical blue collar worker, a railroad engineer. After he became a multimillionaire, he called his boss and said he wouldn't be making his midnight shift.
He chose to take a $224 million lump sum payment as opposed to a 30-year payout. After taxes, he'll pocket $158 million.
Lawson says the money won't change him. He'll still be the same person.
"I'm a millionaire now but I'll still eat at McDonald's," he says. "I don't like filet mignon."
So what was the first thing Lawson ran out to buy?
"A pack of bubble gum," he says.
Lawson says he'll look after his immediate family and he already told them to retire. He says he'll travel. He'll also pay for his daughter's college.
He promises to spend the money wisely. Lawson also said something intriguing.
When asked about his winning ticket, he pointed to a higher power.
He said he walked into a Sunoco on August 15 and simply picked the numbers that came to him.
In his own words, Lawson revealed that "Something from above" guided him to select the winning numbers.
His ticket was the only one in the nation with all of the correct numbers plus the Powerball.
I wanted to learn more about his message from above. But I won't get a chance to find out.
After winning, Lawson denied all media requests for interviews. A reporter from NBC News offered to take him to New York to meet Today show host Matt Lauer. But Lawson just kept walking out of the room. He won't discuss his message from above.
But Lawson is convinced that a Higher Power helped him to win the Powerball sugarplum. There were other winners, too.
Eight ticket holders matched five numbers and won $1 million each. One player in New York used the Power Play feature and won $2 million. All are living high off the hog and celebrating the holidays grand style. Good for them. It's always nice to see folks meet with good fortune.
Others are taking pause this holiday to reflect on man's existence and to appreciate gifts of life, health, food and brotherhood. These observances include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and others. In my eyes, those people are rich beyond dollars.
And there are many who find the holidays a time of profound sadness over the loss of family and loved ones. Most of us don't win Powerball, but all of us eventually get our turn to experience a broken heart.
Finally, there's the holiday ritual of pushing in the doors at the Big Box store, trying to grab this year's must-have gift. Remember the Cabbage Patch dolls. For those folks, Christmas is all about shopping. American Express. Don't leave home without it.
The holidays are such a special time, bringing out the good and bad, and sometimes telling us more about ourselves than we really want to know.
Enjoy this time of year and try to keep the reason in focus.
But if you happen hear any numbers being called out from high above, please send me an email right away and pass along the heavenly info.
We don't necessarily need Powerball to deck the halls. But a winning ticket wouldn't hurt a thing.