Anyone who gambles a few dollars on the lottery is aware that a normal, regular, popular smalltown couple from Dearborn, Mo., won half of last week's record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot.
It prompted The Morning File to fire off the following letter to Mark and Cindy Hill, former high school sweethearts in their early 50s with three adult sons and a 6-year-old adopted daughter:
I am so happy for you guys! You seem like such nice, normal people that I feel we'd be good friends if only we knew one another. As a matter of fact, that's why I'm writing.
I am so tired of seeing millions of dollars in this country fall in the hands of undeserving lottery winners who blow it on stupid purchases or CEOs of companies that go bankrupt or over-the-hill free agents signed by the Pirates. It is refreshing to see the bounty end up for once with hard-working people who want to use it wisely.
That's not to say you don't need some help reviewing all the possibilities of what to do with the $193 million you've received as your lump sum, after-tax payment. I couldn't help but notice you folks are from a town with all of 496 people, or about as many as are in the elevators in the U.S. Steel Tower at any given time.
This is where I can be of some value. While I may not have any financial planning background, I do have a bit of the big-city sophistication you guys are lacking, and thus know how to be on the lookout for people trying to take advantage of gullible, trusting, small-town folks.
Cindy noted it herself by saying: "You are going to get people coming out of the woodwork, and some of them may not be too sane."
So true! And I'm not just saying that as an embittered, jealous, unspeakably disappointed man who spent twice as much as your $10 on Wednesday's Powerball and upon looking at his useless numbers, screamed about the unfair blindness of the gambling gods in denying me what is rightfully mine. No, I'm agreeing simply because you need to hire people like me to protect you from being preyed upon.
I realize you don't know me from anything, but you didn't really know your adopted daughter before taking her into your home, and you took her anyway. You don't even need to take me into your home, although, wait, I did read that you are hoping to use some of your funds for another adoption.
I am available for that purpose, if you like. I realize you may be looking for someone younger than yourselves, but I already have table manners, don't play rap music obnoxiously loud in my bedroom and you won't ever have to drive me to soccer practice -- think about it.
Already, I sense trouble from the fact that you have three adult sons. As one who's been an adult son myself, I can tell you that they are nothing but sponges looking to come roost in your home and eat everything in your refrigerator. Good luck getting them to stand on their own two feet now that they know you've got all that money.
It's probably as good a time as any to send the three of them out of your lives. Let me play the bad guy and bag guy by carrying a million dollars to each to buy off their estrangement, and we'll scratch them off your list of worries forever.
It'll be harder getting rid of your friends looking for help as every one of the nearly 500 people in your town is probably claiming to be your longtime pal right now.
That's why I'd suggest we make a clean break. Get out of that godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere and let me set us up in a nice Wexford McMansion where you won't know anyone and they won't know you and we can live in peace.
This is an important time to avoid rash decisions that could lead to stupid squandering of your new wealth, so I encourage you to think about all proposals such as mine carefully. Just get back to me by tomorrow night, if you could, as I'd like to make a decision by week's end on whether I'm quitting my job.
Regardless, I'm happy now to be able to think of you both as friends and hope you'll feel the same about me, as a man can never have too many friends. And you can be sure if I ever win the Powerball, I'll be happy to share with you and help with whatever you need.
Gary Rotstein: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1255.