As you probably read in Wednesday’s papers, a single winner in South Carolina has won the $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize. This reminded me of a real nightmare that I had a couple of weeks ago. It was so dreadful that, even now in the cold light of day, I can still remember it clearly. I dreamt that I had guessed all six Lotto numbers and had won 20 million shekels. Not as much as the Mega Millions, of course, but still a life-changing event.
In my dream, I was ecstatic. I jumped up and down on my car until it fell to pieces, just like the old Lotto advertisement, and whooped up and down the street waving my arms in the air. I wanted to get it right! Now my life could really begin; I could do anything I wanted to do! Naturally I bought a large new car, changed my miserable four-room apartment for a huge villa in Herzlia Pituach, and went on a round-the-world trip. I bought a computer, a second car, a third television, and a fourth iPhone, or was it a fifth? I don’t remember all the little details. But, at long last, I had all that I wanted in life.
The trouble started just after I returned from my round-the-world trip. It was nothing you could put your finger on, just a sort of empty feeling. I had, of course, given up my job; I was not going to work for peanuts when my investments were producing a more than comfortable living, with no assistance from me. My villa was doing very nicely without any great effort on my part – my Filipino maid was tidying the house, while my Thai cook was giving my Ghanaian gardener his breakfast. All should have been right in the world, or at least in my world. But something was missing!
My wife had gone, of course. She had objected to the girls from the escort agency parking their cars across her half of the driveway. But no matter, I could easily buy anything I wanted.
I started to feel worse. I snatched up my fourth, or was it my fifth, iPhone and quickly ordered up a Xbox, a fourth television, and …. Oh, I don’t remember all the details. Once I had placed my orders, I felt better. But, after an hour or two, that terrible feeling of emptiness came flooding back.
I walked round my villa, checked on the swimming pool, and inspected the Italian marble patio, but could find no reason for my feeling of malaise. Surely, I had everything necessary for a fully satisfying life.
The morning became afternoon. My third Xbox, fourth television and a few other crates turned up, and were quickly stored in the basement. But instead of feeling elated as my stock of consumer durables increased, I kept feeling worse and worse.
In desperation, I reached out for the nearest iPhone, only to find that the dog, a purebred Russian Wolfhound, specially bred for maximum expense, was doing a bit of canine re-engineering with his teeth. No matter, plenty more where that came from. With my second iPhone, or was it the fourth, I arranged for a dozen Romanian workers to come and put an extension on the sun-room, and immediately felt a little better.
But even this did not help me for very long! I was soon overtaken by a deep despair. It was as if life had no meaning, no purpose. I could, in fact, think of no good reason to get out of bed. In a panic, I kept telling myself that I was a Lotto millionaire, a winner, one of the chosen few, the envy of every sane person in the country. But all the time a little voice kept calling out “… and now what! What are you going to buy next?”
I was on the verge of complete mental collapse. I considered going around the world again, perhaps in the opposite direction, but couldn’t summon up any real enthusiasm. The worst of it was that I did not know why. This wasn’t what it was supposed to be like! I don’t know what I might have done if I had not been saved by my alarm clock calling me back to reality.
It was an enormous relief to start the daily business of living; searching for a clean shirt, eating breakfast together with my wife, running for the bus, fighting my way through the crowds, writing the next book in the Len Palmer Mysteries (the series is available from Amazon, and you don’t have to be a millionaire to afford them), and earning just enough to keep the government in business, with a little left over to start saving towards my first iPhone.
On my way to work, I passed a Lotto stand. A grinning cardboard cut-out invited me to join the hunt for 30 million shekels. I looked pityingly at all the victims of “Lotto mania” jostling each other in the queue. I almost made it past the stand and into the safety of my office, when a thought struck me – perhaps if I had bought a third car or a another Xbox it would have been all right …..
Oh, yes, in my dream the winning Lotto numbers were 3, 9 and, oh, I can’t remember all those little details!