Mega Millions Jackpot Almost Too Big to Imagine
The multi-state game might have to be renamed Mega Billions if no one wins tonight.
The Mega Millions jackpot keeps breaking its own world record and there's still about six hours hours remaining until tonight's drawing.
The current estimated jackpot of $640 million sets an all-time record high and has inspired a ticket buying frenzy and water cooler fantasy talk about what could be done with such unfathomable riches.
When Friday morning dawned, the jackpot stood at a record $540 million.
Brisk ticket sales had pushed the amount up by $100 million by 11:45 a.m., according to the Maryland Lottery website.
While professionals are strongly encouraging people — should they be lucky enough to hold a winning ticket — to secure legal and financial advice before stepping forward to claim their winnings, Dundalk residents are just having fun thinking about how hundreds of millions of dollars would change their lives.
Across town, talk in coffee shops, taverns and offices turned to what people would do with that kind of money, should one of them be the lucky one in 176 million to win.
Most dreams shared with Dundalk Patch centered around philanthropy near and far.
Folks who talked to Dundalk Patch said they'd pay off their homes, their parents' homes, give money to their churches and other organizations and take care of close friends and family members.
And yes, most confessed, they would quit their jobs.
Dundalk Patch Facebook fan Laura Lee DeMarr said she would give money to her old church that needs lots of work.
"If God lets me win, then he gets taken care of first," she wrote on Facebook. "Then I would take care of my family and get my mother a headstone."
Kathy Rynarzewski said she would make sure her kids were well taken care of for the rest of their lives, and then she would give back to the community at large.
"I would love to randomly pay off somebody's mortgage, buy dinner for people anonymously and just help people that are struggling in this economy," she wrote.
A lifelong dream to become a philanthropist would finally come true for Marshella Merritt, if she wins.
With such a jackpot in hand, she would pay off her debts and those of her family members and friends.
She'd buy a larger home to provide foster care to more children, and the money would enable her husband to either work part-time or pursue a different career.
"Mostly, though, I'd help children and families in crisis or who need a little money for a down payment for a house to become foster parents, stuff like that …" Merritt wrote.
At the Bar Shore Bar and Grill in Edgemere, tickets sales have been brisk since Wednesday, when it was announced that no one won the jackpot in the Tuesday evening drawing.
Bartender Sandy Becker-Thorn is wishing extra special luck for customer Ray Coman, who bought one ticket when he stopped in for lunch Thursday.
"If I win, I'll give you a million dollars," Coman told Becker-Thorn.
The salesman for Easy Rest Adjustable Beds said he would definitely retire, should he win the jackpot.
"Money would be no issue then," he said.
Fort Howard resident Robert Donovan III, 28, said he splurged and bought 40 tickets during a recent visit to White Marsh Mall.
He plays the lottery only when the potential winnings get huge, he said, and he decided to buy 40 tickets to increase his chances of winning.
Newscasters are quick to point out the tremendous odds of winning, and say that an individual has a much greater chance of being struck by lightning or being attacked by a shark than winning the lottery.
But someone will eventually win the jackpot, and it will be won by someone who stared down those one in 176 million odds.
It could be you.