It is 9:40 on a Sunday evening and I am potentially a millionaire. Riches beyond my wildest dreams are but a moment away. My life could be about to change immeasurably.
I haven’t inherited this money. And, if you ask anyone who’s worked alongside me, I certainly haven’t earned it through the fruit of my labours. Indeed, if my labours were in any way fruit-based, they’d probably be a pineapple. Not easy to come by, tricky to penetrate and unloved by most sane-minded people.
It is 9:45pm and I’m still on my way to serious wealth. For all I know, the numbers on a slip of paper in my wallet could match with those drawn by a machine operated by a pretty-low-down-the-alphabet-list-celebrity yesterday evening.
So I’m only a potential millionaire. Schrodinger’s Millionaire, if you like. But, until we open the lid of the box, or in my case, get the pink slip of paper out and look at the National Lottery website, that potentiality is unrealised.
It is 9:50pm and I’m wondering what I’m going to do if the numbers have fallen the way I would like. ‘Doing good things for charity’ and ‘travelling the world’. Those two seem to be the front-runners when past winners have been asked about their future intentions. Both of which seem fair enough, if a little too close to Miss World territory for my liking. Still, each to his own, I suppose.
Another thing we always hear from winners is “It won’t change me,” as if being enriched by several million quid overnight is going to mean everything stays the same. No, they tell us straight-faced, they will resume their soulless existence on Monday morning, clocking on with their colleagues and spending eight hours a day worrying about the completion of form RT56-12 until retirement or the merciful release of premature death. We look upon these people as paragons of virtue. But why? I wouldn't trust them with scissors.
Me? I’ve got websites for estate agents in several locations saved on my computer, dependent upon whether we’re talking £1million, £5million, £10 million or over. Unfortunately I haven’t got one in line for a £10 win, but if property prices continue their current freefall, that’s a distinct possibility. I’ve calculated the precise level of winnings at which I can stop going to work. I like my job; the people I work with are great friends, but if I could choose, I might select something else to for which get up at 6:25 every morning. I don’t quite know what this ‘something’ might be, but that’s the thing with money. It might not buy me happiness, but it would put me into a much better bargaining position at the Happiness Shop.
It’s 9.55pm and I’m deciding whether I’d go for ‘no publicity’ or not. How would I cope if everyone knew I was suddenly rich? How would I deal with people? What about the begging letters?
I suppose I’d carry on writing them.
It’s 10.00pm. Deep breath. Let’s see what these numbers have to say, then.
Oh. Bugger. Better set the alarm clock for 6.25am.