Settling for 66 cents

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It was the best dream of them all.

There we stood, cameras flashing, TV film rolling, as we posed, smiles as wide as the Chowan River, accepting our 640 million dollars in winnings.

I guessed we all had those visions of grandeur last week, at least those of us who joined millions of others to purchase a ticket or two (or three or four) in an effort to pocket the biggest lottery prize in the history of the universe.

Like the rest of Mega Millions hopefuls in 42 states plus Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands, we here at Roanoke-Chowan Publications wanted in on the action. But instead of going it alone, we opted to pool our money together and purchase tickets. We figured our chances were better with 18 tickets rather than two or three.

Other than the thought of becoming a multi-millionaire overnight, it was fun listening to the dreams of my co-workers. They ranged from owning a home in a lavish resort such as Hawaii to purchasing the car or cars of their dreams. Some talked of putting their money to work right here in our community, thinking of making our little corner of the planet a better place to live.

I honestly think our joint effort worked wonders for office morale. When you work so hard to meet deadlines it’s not uncommon for nerves to become frayed, emotions sometimes reaching a boiling point. Afterwards we’re fine.

United in a common cause and the resulting office chatter was just what the doctor ordered. It was a fun few days leading up to Friday. We checked each other’s tickets, all thinking what a great set of numbers we had selected….only a few had duplicate digits.

But, alas, it wasn’t our day…or night. We didn’t win the jackpot. As a matter of fact, if we combined all the individual numbers on our tickets that were actually chosen in Friday’s drawing, we only had four.

However, all was not lost. Patrick Bryant – our ad designer, sports writer/photographer and in-house IT expert – did hit the Mega Ball on one of his tickets. Because we “megaplied” our numbers, that meant we won $6. Divided nine ways, we collected 66 cents each. If my math is correct, we each wound up with a $3.34 net loss.

We should have saw this coming….with the odds of winning at 176 million to one, we had a better chance of being struck by lightening than winning the lottery.

“Lightening” did strike for three individuals as the $640 million jackpot will be shared between winners in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. Each winning ticket is expected to be worth more than $213 million, before Uncle Sam gets his traditional share.

In North Carolina, four ticket holders fell one number shy of hitting the jackpot. Each got the first five numbers right, but failed to pick the Mega Ball. For their efforts, each collected $250,000.

Ten other Tar Heel ticket holders won $10,000 each for picking four numbers correctly plus the Mega Ball.

All totaled, 318,325 tickets sold in North Carolina won something, including the six bucks pocketed by the Herald crew. We wished it would have been more, but it was a load of fun trying.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Because he didn’t win a share of the Mega Millions jackpot he can still be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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