Happy Belated New Year, or bloated New Year, if the post-holiday weigh-in at my gym is to be believed. My trainer gave me a body mass index test and it told me that I’m 30% body fat. That’s like and entire leg made of fat. That’s a problem. What’s an even bigger problem is that an entire leg made of fat sounds delicious to me right now. It’s a never-ending cycle. My fitness goals will be even harder to hit thanks to my recent introduction to another scrumptious obstacle: Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Stop making that face and let me explain. It’s a Pittsburgh delicacy made using strawberries, Jell-O, Cool Whip, and cream cheese, with crumbled pretzels as the outer crust. So far, it’s my favorite stretch to the the definition of “salad”.
The new year is about new beginnings, and what better way to clean the slate for 2016 than to win the Gross Domestic Product of Burundi. The Powerball lottery jackpot is a staggering $1.4 billion at the time of this writing. Your odds of winning are slightly less staggering, but only in the way getting hit by a piano from ten floors up is less staggering than getting hit with a piano from twenty floors. I do not care. My disregard for the odds is Han Solo-like. All I know is that somebody has to win, and why can’t it be me?
When the lottery gets to Scrooge McDuck swimming pool levels, people who focus on the astronomical odds will take the sour grapes mindset, “I wouldn’t want to win anyway, because that kind of money would ruin me.” Well, to those people I say that kind of money could ruin a person, but it could also turn them into Batman. Listen, I get that money doesn’t buy happiness, but with that kind of money you can afford to make everyone else around you miserable, making you seem happier by comparison. It’s all about perspective. I saw a piece on the news at a local liquor store filled with hopeful people. One woman was asked what she would do with the money. She said, “I would buy a new car and pay off some debt.” SOME debt? How many payments do you have left on your space station, lady?
I worry that whoever does win the jackpot won’t have the imagination to properly enjoy it. Obviously, some of it goes in the bank, so you can live the life that Hans Gruber was denied at the end of Die Hard. He just wanted to be, “sitting on a beach, earning 20%.” The cash payout for this jackpot is going to be roughly $800 million after taxes. Even if you put half of that away, you still have $400 million to play with. So, for the imagination impaired, I have some suggestions for what to do with the money…
- Tila Tequila thinks the Earth is flat because she can’t see the curve, so you can use part of your winnings to shoot her into space, thereby solving two problems.
- Hire a mobile orchestra to follow you around and perform your theme song that you contracted John Williams to compose for you.
- Reboot Titanic.
- The Playboy Mansion is for sale for $200 million. The only problem is that Hef conveys and he gets to live there until his Faustian contract is up.
- Interstate zip lines.
- Pizza party.
Just a couple ideas I’ve had floating around. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of rock icon, David Bowie. I will admit to not being familiar with a lot of his music, but he had a hand in shaping my childhood as I’m sure he did with many of you as Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth, the modern (in 1986) muppetational take on The Wizard of Oz. The soundtrack to that movie was one of the first albums I ever owned, and I have a special place in my heart for movie characters that have my name (Jareth was close enough when I was 11). I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Fuck Cancer.” Maybe whoever wins the jackpot can funnel a couple hundred million into eradicating it, but they’ll probably just buy a car. Ziggy, we hardly knew ye…