Attention all Powerball players waiting to win your first billion in an epic Mega Millions drawing: Stop before it's too late! Winning may kill you! Or it might make you unhappy. Or it might make you overspend on cars and helicopters and lead you to early, penniless death.
That’s the well-turned schadenfreude narrative regarding the dismal life of lottery winners—that they blow their dough, they get divorced, they drink too much and snort too much cocaine. Their family starts to feud. They become legendary not for their generosity and jovial enjoyment of life on Easy Street, but as reps from the Department of Fractured American Dreams, a territory without real borders.
Indeed, much of the lay press, it would seem that any lottery winner ought to just give up immediately, walk slowly from his house, hands over his head, and be placed into custody. The disasters appear endless, including the need to deal with intrusive demanding family members, scam-a-minute ex-best-friends, seductive investments, and all the rest.