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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Column: Winning the lottery

Police found the body of Abraham Shakespeare, who won $31 million through the lottery in 2006, in Plant City, Fla. last week.

Jeepers creepers. Shakespeare was found buried under a five-foot slab of concrete in a home that belongs to the boyfriend of a woman who became Shakespeare’s friend soon after he won the lottery. Supposedly, he gave the woman $1 million in cash.

Interviews with Shakespeare’s brother and friends led to the conclusion he was better off broke.

This is a common thing that people say. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems” is how the Biblical proverb goes, I believe. In Shakespeare’s case, the combination of money, illiteracy and a criminal record would prove to become “mo’ problems.” But for many of us, especially college students, winning $31 million would be the solution to many of our problems. Save being murdered for it.

Now, this is a tangent and I don’t mean to disrespect the dead. His murder is a tragedy, but I still can’t help but think what I would do with $31 million dollars…

To me, winning that much money would mean more than I can list in this column. It would mean paying off loans and financing law school without a sweat, first and foremost. Yes, I would still go to school.

I could help my parents buy homes, get out of debt and go on vacation.

My eight-year-old baby brother would have a college savings. He wouldn’t have to worry about paying for school (and wouldn’t have any excuses, either).

My sister and I would finally have completely different wardrobes. That means I would actually go shopping. I’d buy a lot of shoes.

My grandparents would get anything they wanted. Literally.

And if I had that much money, I couldn’t imagine having any good karma ever again if I didn’t help some cause with it. I could help rebuild Afghanistan, since no one else really is.

In our society, the ends justify the means. We place our emphasis on having the most money and status, but often do not provide enough opportunities to achieve those means. Still, the end product of having the nicest things is more important than how you get it. Until, of course, you get caught stealing as a means.

I asked Tyler Scudero, a fifth-year communication major, what he would with that much money.

“The first thing I would do,” he said, “is buy back the home my parents recently lost. I would give a large portion to charities and keep a couple million in an account somewhere I couldn’t touch.”

Scudero would continue living his life as normally as he could.

“I would continue on with my life as if nothing had changed,” he said. “I would keep working and striving for my ultimate goal to someday own the San Francisco 49ers.”

Ryan Walsh, a recent UC Davis graduate, said the number one thing he would do with the money is quit his job.

“I would quit my job, move with my girlfriend to the Bahamas and hire an advisor in the states to deal with investments and charity donations,” Walsh said. “Peace out, America.”

When I asked if more money really meant more problems, Walsh answered, “It creates more worries. That’s why I would just get away from everything.”

In a disturbing train of thought, I’ve gone from a murder mystery to moving away to the Bahamas with $31 million. Interesting contrast.

If she won $31 million, SARA KOHGADAI would give The California Aggie enough money to stay in business forever. What would you do? Let her know at sbkohgadai@ucdavis.edu.



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