Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dream Big

Ernest Pullen, a 57-year old Missouri man, won $1 million in a lottery in June and this month he won $2 million in a second lottery. Needless to say, the odds of winning either are astronomical, about 1 in 2.28 million, while the chances of winning both cannot even be calculated because they are independent games, so let's just say that Mr. Pullen is very, very lucky.

He quit his job after the first win but claims that he will continue to purchase lottery tickets. I am always amused by people who win millions and proclaim that it won't change them in any way and that they will continue to work as garbage collectors until they are old enough for Social Security.

Mr. Pullen, who took the cash payment instead of the annuity for both wins, received $700,000 for the first and about $1.3 million for the second, before taxes. Maybe he could win a third lottery to pay the taxes on the other two wins. He plans to use the money to fix up his new lakeside house. That's a lot of fixing, but it's good to have a project. He's probably not a golfer.

I am intrigued by the fact that six years ago, he dreamed of winning a lot of money, but didn't feel that the dream was "complete" after winning the first lottery. It probably is now, but what would I know? I have never won more than $2 in a lottery and gave up buying tickets long ago because I got tired of never winning. I guess most of us are just meant to earn our own money and I'm ok with the concept because lotteries are capricious and I'm a control freak. But I am delighted to see someone beat the odds, and hope Pullen enjoys his new wealth and does good things with it.


TechnoBabe said...

Best wishes to Mr Pullen. Bet lots of people will be coming out of the woodwork to remind him of any favors they did for him. I for one an glad for him. I don't do lottery tickets. A couple times people gave me some as gifts but I haven't spent any of my money on it.

Molly said...

I have no desire or expectation to win the lottery. But if I did, it sure would be nice to be able to hand your kids a fistful of cash for house renovations/additions, the purchase of horse farms, for continuing education, all the little things that cost more than they have! But I'm also superstitious [shhh---that's a secret!]and would feel guilty, somehow, to come into so much money that I didn't earn or work for. What size small country could feed all its starving children for a year on that kind of cash?

meno said...

I understand that you need to buy a ticket in order to win!

I find the stories about lottery winners who's lives go to hell afterward really fascinating.

@ly said...

Your chances are usually as good as getting struck by lightening....who would think that would happen twice! How awesome is that!!

Cloudia said...

I believe!

I do


Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

Pea said...

I was once 2 numbers away from winning 26million....sigh. But the 10 I won for having 4 out of 6 made me happy too. I probably bought some lipstick and felt like a rich lady for about a minute. Still though, I would be blogging from a beach in Hawaii right now if for those 2 more numbers.....I'll stay in Fl a little while I guess :o)

Jo said...

I'm clueless when it comes to buying lotter tickets. The very first lottery ticket I ever bought, I bought three tickets with the same number. I went home and everyone laughed and laughed. How silly was I...! Well, it turns out that my number won $10.00, but because I had three tickets with the same number, the lottery folks had to pay me $30.00. So, I went home and laughed and laughed. Since then, I haven't even come close to winnin anything, so I don't buy lottery tickets anymore.

nick said...

I also did the lottery for a while before I concluded the odds on winning were too enormous. I'm glad he's enjoying his colossal windfall. What's sad is the people who win the lottery and then go to pieces because they can't handle suddenly being so rich.

the walking man said...

I simply hope it doesn't eat him alive and leave him destitute.

Ian Lidster said...

That is amazing, although it leaves me a tad resentful because I think he took one of my wins. Well, what would be my win if I actually bought lottery tickets. Fran Lebowitz said your chances of winning the lottery remain about the same whether you do or don't buy tickets. Oh, and I never believe people who attest their lives won't change.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


A lottery ticket has always seemed like an odd gift to me, considering the chance that it's actually worth anything.


It has occurred to me, too, that such winnings could help a lot of people to basic needs which the rest of us take for granted.


My impression is that this happens because most winners have no experience handling money. There may also be the element of guilt in which a winner knows he didn't earn it and feels so undeserving that he divests himself of it as fast as possible. Or, it doesn't seem like "real" money because it came free, and therefore is easy to justify spending on things nobody really needs. I find the psychology of lottery winners fascinating.


One is probably statistically more likely to be struck by lightning, which contrary to popular belief, actually does happen twice in the same place quite often.


Let me know how that's working out for you!

Anyway, you live in Hawaii -- you already won the geography lottery.

Sweet Pea,

I was once only one number and the super number away from a multi-million win, too, before I gave up buying tickets. In fact, I was only one digit off from both numbers. I think the lottery gods were laughing at me.


It sounds as if you've had your big win, and it's good you moved on to other things. At least the lottery gods were laughing WITH you.


That's a very common story. My theories on this are above, in my comment to Meno. Bottom line, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.


We'll probably never know if it does. Maybe his home improvements will keep him out of serious trouble. According to the article I read, his wife wants to be the next big winner. Whatever...


Fran Lebowitz is a very smart lady.

If they don't want their lives to change, why do they buy the tickets in the first place?

mischief said...

I have a friend whose grandmother was hit by lightning, TWICE. I guess Pullen is happier with his way of beating the odds than she is... but maybe she could just focus on the fact she lived through it TWICE and count herself even luckier than a double lottery winner.

TaraDharma said...

the odds are astronomical, but it does happen. I would love to win - simply for the freedom to be left alone, by bosses, by landlords, by credit card companies, you name it.

I'd be a good lotto winner. I'd drop off the face of the earth and live simply.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I would say your friend's grandmother is the world's luckiest winner, once you get past the decided BAD luck of being struck by lightning at all.


I like to think that I would be a good winner, too, endowing my loved ones and then living (and traveling) quietly. All of which is unlikely, though, since I no longer buy tickets.

secret agent woman said...

The research on lottery winners shows that people end to return to their baseline level of happiness (I think after about a year, typically). Maybe that's why the first one didn't do it for him? Not that I wouldn't love to be the exception to that rule, but the lottery encourages poor people to sink their money into a pipe dream. There aren't many Mr. Pullens around.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I agree. I think people have their comfort zones, and for many that is a state of near-poverty, which is why so many winners divest themselves of their new money as fast as possible.

I also agree that the lottery is another way of bilking the poor with false hope.