(13) The Windfall: Good Fortune Bad Fortune



Mr. Bento, "You're back. George and Wandy just left. Incredible news! They've won a lottery!" Mrs. Bento hardly has time to put her grocery down when Mr. Bento shoots her this unbelievable piece of information.

"Is that even possible? Getting cancer I can easily understand, but winning a lottery?" Mrs. Bento's eyes almost pop out as she speaks. Never in her life will she believe this would happen, no not to her, even her friends, or anyone around.

The largest Canadian jackpot ever, a staggering amount of $64M, was won by a Mississauga woman in 2016. Here was this Asian woman in her late thirties, smiling a hysterious smile and holding this gigantic sixty-four million fake cheque, imagining what a Lotto 6/49 could do for her. In the PlayOLG website it says: Your chance to win is just three dollars away! The odds? There are more ways of winning than just hitting the Jackpot. In fact, your odds of winning are approximately 1 in 6.6.

"If it were so true, how difficult could it be to be this person, just one in 6.6?" The point is, Mrs. Bento never knows how to buy lottery tickets. She's too embarrassed even to ask the retail booth person in the mall she frequents. What both Bentos are curious about is not what the fortune can do, but how long it would last. What if it is they, and not George and Wandy who've won the lottery? They have heard interesting stories about lottery winners, without proper management, could end up losing all or most of that vast sum in just a few years. But should one who becomes filthy rich overnight need to worry about going broke, so soon?

There are a number of sites in the Internet that give advice to manage lottery money. Look out for your friends, they will take advantage. Your relationship too, might be jeopardized - your spouse might not agree on how to use the money. Relatives might expect shares and you might need to fight off a host of long-lost family members, who would suddenly show up and claim you back. If you've won big money and publicly acknowledged (like the Mississauga woman with the fake cheque), you can bet your phone will never stop ringing. You will keep hearing from investors, charitable organizations and scammers. You’ll be a target for a litany of lawsuits and scams. Be wary also, of people who purposely slip and fall on your property. Simply put, you have to endure the greed and the need that most people have, confront the ones that you either love or you don't even know, all trying their best to squeeze your money, like squeezing dry a fat wet sponge.

Mrs. Bento shuns all the negative impact that would affect this impeccable godsend. The fact is she would rather focus on the positive upshot.

"But what would you do if you have all that money? How much are we talking about?" asked Mrs. Bento.

"George said it is twenty-three millions. What would you do if you have that beast of an amount?" returned Mr. Bento.

"Are you kidding me? Twenty-three millions! Hmm, let me gather my thoughts. After paying off all the mortgage, debts, and doing several trips around the world, I still cannot see the bottom of the plate! Perhaps invest in a few condos - penthouse apartments overlooking Lake Ontario? That sounds the best way to keep the money grow... or contribute some to charity...benefit a few relatives and friends?" In the back of her mind, Mrs. Bento has already started counting ways of spending the enormous sum.

"But George and Wandy have bigger plans! They want to do something totally unconventional, beneficial, at the same time enriches our cultural heritage. They want to build a photo museum!" Mr. Bento proclaims with a proud voice, as if it's also his idea and dream child.

"A photo museum? My God, what's so good about putting photos in a museum? Don't we have enough photos, too many really. If we only have the time to look." Already detested the idea of the big plan, Mrs. Bento feeds back in a matter-of-fact tone. After all there is no reference of a photo museum in Toronto she can relate to. "So what's the point in spending all this good fortune in building a photo museum, if everybody can just upload their pictures to the cloudy sky for free?"

"They have already decided. In fact George has invited me to join as an advisor to his pre-production team." Mr. Bento says calmly. Streams of gratification flow from his face as he gulps down the remaining glass of water.