Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ticket to Ride?

Trey Smith

Somebody in Florida purchased the lucky 1 in 175 million Powerball ticket. They now stand to collect a near record $590.5 million. Whatever life they have led up to this point, it will change dramatically and, for the most part, not for the better!

We live in a world of growing income disparity and this person (possibly, persons) instantaneously has gone from one side of the fence to the other. He or she will now view life far differently than before unless, by chance, the individual was already filthy rich to begin with.

I often hear people say that winning a huge monetary prize won't change them. What a crock! Not having to worry about keeping a roof over your head or food on the table would change anybody, me included. Not having to worry if there is enough money in the monthly budget to get the brakes on the car fixed or to buy braces for one of the little ones creates a whole different mindset. It is bound to skew the way anyone looks at the world.

One of the great dangers of winning this kind of egregious wealth is that it attracts sycophants. The winner will instantly find themselves surrounded by others who will fawn all over them. While most of us must deal often with hearing the word, no, as a regular facet of our lives, who will have the temerity to say no to Mr. or Mrs. Big Bucks? Who will have the courage to provide an objective or honest appraisal of anything?

When any of us doesn't hear the word, no, we get to the point in which we come to believe that everything we might do, say or think is the definition of righteous. We become the golden child who can do no wrong. If we happen to encounter a roadblock, we smash it to smithereens without any concern for social mores, protocol or the other lives our actions might impact.

What is worse, I fear, is that the kindest person imaginable is almost guaranteed to change overnight into an asshole! This is not to say that people of wealth cannot behave sincerely or compassionately, but it is much more difficult to feel this way when you no longer face the struggles that the vast majority of the people in this world face. Most of the rest of us understand what it is to be an underdog because, in way or another, we are underdogs too. This makes it far easier to root for people facing struggles. Conversely, when you don't face these sort of struggles, it becomes that much harder to sympathize with those who do.

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