Just so you know, before you go and plunk down that $2 for a Powerball ticket, you’re not going to win. And it doesn’t help your chances to spend $10 or, God forbid, $50 on multiple tickets.
Your odds of having your numbers drawn Saturday and winning the $435 million jackpot are 292,000,000 to 1.
But you probably already knew that, because every news story dealing with the Powerball in the past couple of weeks lists those odds.
And it isn’t stopping millions of Americans from spending their hard-earned money (or ill-begotten money) on trying to win the Powerball. In Minnesota alone, about 1.6 million Powerball tickets have been sold, state lottery director Wes Harms said on my 970 WDAY radio program Friday morning.
But there are lots of things you have a better chance of accomplishing than winning the Powerball, and most won’t cost you a dime.
Like dying from chronic constipation, for example. The chances of you expiring from that are 1 in 2,215,900. That’s according to statistician Amram Shapiro, who shared some interesting odds with Time magazine last year.
And dying from constipation, while wholly miserable, isn’t the only odd way of dying that you stand a better chance of than winning the Powerball.
You are much more like to get killed by an asteroid strike (1 in 74,817,414) or be murdered during a trip to the Grand Canyon (1 in 8,156,000) than win the Powerball.
Here’s a list of 10 things that are more likely to occur than winning the Powerball, according to Shapiro:
1. Dying from an asteroid strike: 1 in 74,817,414
2. Getting killed by a terrorist act in the United States: 1 in 10,000,000
3. Getting murdered during a trip to the Grand Canyon: 1 in 8,156,000
4. Dying from chronic constipation: 1 in 2,215,900
5. Becoming a movie star: 1 in 1,505,000
6. Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 1,101,000
7. Dying from a hornet, wasp or bee sting: 1 in 79,842
8. Bowling a 300 game: 1 in 11,500
9. Being the same height actor Hugh Jackman, who is 6-foot-2: 1 in 23.3
10. Becoming disabled, disfigured or killed by a parasite: 1 in 7.2
That sobering information won’t stop us, though, because buying a Powerball ticket is buying a dream. And at $2, a cheap dream at that. The dream of quitting work, buying a Caribbean island, traveling the world for the rest of your days or setting up your family for generations is just too tempting for us to resist.
“The jackpot is up to to $435 million, which creates quite a bit of excitement,” Harms said. “If you’re looking for a little bit of fun and the chance to win $435 million, it might not be a bad deal.”
Harms said if a single winner takes the cash option, they’d get a check for $273.1 million. Of course, taxes would take a large piece of that. But still, $100 million-plus would be plenty to live a dream with.
Of course, that’s assuming you’ll win. Which you won’t. Ever.
And so, there are those among us who’d rather buy a candy bar or another bottle of barley pop — and at least say we got something out of spending $2 or $4.
Or we could be really practical and buy some Dulcolax and improve our odds of not dying in a rather uncomfortable manner. Remember, there’s a much better chance you’ll need a laxative to save your life than having to worry about buying a Caribbean island.