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Powerball has us dreaming of … everything

I am loathe to admit it, but I have become part of a national epidemic.

I tried as hard as I could to stay away from those afflicted. I used whatever willpower I could muster to prevent myself from succumbing. But in the end, the pull was just too strong.

Yes, I have contracted Powerball Fever.

Fortunately, it's a mild case and I've spent relatively little purchasing tickets (thanks to my friend Barbara for driving across state lines to get them).

I realize the odds of me winning are slim, yet there is that tiny glimmer of hope because we all know that eventually someone somewhere will come up with all the right numbers.

Even though the possibility of actually winning is so small — one in 292.2 million — the fever creates big dreams. How can you stop yourself from imagining what you would do if you won $1.5 billion?

The lump-sum payment even after the government takes its share is still a staggering amount of money for most of us.

Would I quit my job? Most likely. Would I move? Definitely. A new car? Sure, a Bentley is rather nice.

For the past week my husband and I have been playing "What if." We talk about places we would like to visit, things we would like to do, how we would help others and what amount we would invest so that our future, and the future of our children, was secure.

We talked about how much money would be allocated to frivolous purchases and how we would deal with friends and relatives who would most certainly crawl out of the wood works.

And we are not alone. During a Sunday dinner with my parents, they joined in the fun. They tried to imagine where they might want to live if they had a choice of going anywhere in the world. Or where they would travel to. My parents enjoy taking cruises and would definitely like to take one of those around-the-world trips that last a year or so. If I win, I think I'll send them on a once-in-a-lifetime journey somewhere.

My ticket-buying friend has already been looking at million-dollar dream houses in Hawaii. That sounds like a nice place to be, or at the very least have a comfortable spot to stay whenever the urge to relax comes around.

Seeing the frenzy of ticket buyers around the country, I realize I am not alone in this epidemic. It's one of the top news stories of the week.

While it is fun to imagine all the things you can do with that kind of windfall, it is true that money isn't the answer to all of live's woes.

There are plenty of people who struggle daily to make ends meet. For many, the idea of winning would allow them to enjoy things that others take for granted: a safe place to call home, a good meal or a pair of new shoes.

One of my Facebook friends from Boulder City has been collecting money to purchase tickets for those who can't get to where they are sold. For a small donation. Not only for himself but to help others.

His intention is to ensure that every child in town has a new pair of sneakers, pay one year's rent and power for veterans and see that all the senior citizens' homes are stocked with groceries for a year.

He also promises to give those who were part of this mass ticket purchase a percentage of his windfall should he win. And hopefully they will use part of their good fortune to help those who can't help themselves.

While all of this dreaming is fun, if we put half as much effort or even a small portion of what is being spent on lottery tickets into helping others, the world would definitely be a better place for all. Now that would be a prize worth winning.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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