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It was a normal morning in Corbettville. The neighbor kid was delivering newspapers, the birds were chirping, and the sprinklers were just shutting off. It was 5:30 when Joe O’Leary woke up. Joe was a 29 year old who had spent his whole life in Corbettville. He had gone on a morning jog every day since he was 16. When he arrived home at 6:30, he would get ready for the day by getting ready for work. He took a shower, shaved, brushed his teeth, and got dressed by 7:00. Joe then made his way down to the kitchen to make a healthy ham and cheese omelet with a glass of apple juice. He ate his breakfast while reading the daily newspaper; there was still no lottery winner. The lottery had reached a new record of 500 million dollars, and everyone was buying tickets.
By 7:40, Joe made his daily commute to the St. Valentine’s Hospital where he was the chief of the oncology department. Joe had received fame for his work on cancer research and was close to finding a cure. But today was different. He had to stop at a gas station to buy some gas. When he went to pay, the cashier said, “Would you like a lottery ticket with that?” in a monotone voice.
Joe, not one to normally buy a ticket, said, “Sure, it’s a big one today.”
The cashier dreaded selling tickets and decided to play with Joe, he printed off a ticket with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; a very unlikely set to win.
“Here you go sir. Have a nice day.” Said the cashier in a mocking tone.
“Thank you very much. You too.” Said Joe unaware of what had just occurred.
Joe paid without noticing the numbers on his ticket and arrived at work on time. He went through all of his patients with med students to quiz them on the patient’s conditions. He then would review cases on his new trial for a potential cure to pancreatic cancer. Everything was going exactly as expected.
Joe went to the lunch room to eat and hang out with his friend, Luke. Luke was a fellow doctor who Joe went to medical school with, and they spent their residency together. They were very close friends.
“Bought a lotto ticket today. You?” said Joe.
“Yeah, just got random numbers.” said Luke.
“I guess I never checked my numbers,” said Joe as he reached in his pocket to check. “That clerk was a noob, he gave me 1,2,3,4,5.”
“That sucks dude, I’m sorry,” said Luke half laughing at Joe.
“That’s what I get, I guess. I’m done buying tickets; I hope someone wins tonight.”
Joe then left the cafeteria and went back to work. At 4:00 Joe went home to work out and relax. He sat down on his couch and watched the news. The lotto drawing was at 7:30, there were still 2 hours to go. Joe decided to turn on his PlayStation 3 and put in Call of Duty: Black Ops. He dominated in Hardcore Capture the Flag and had 27 kills and 3 deaths and 6 Captures. He played a few more games with similar results. At 7:30, he turned on the television to see if he won the lottery. He turned to the right channel just as the first number came out.
“So far so good, probably just luck.”
“Alright, it’s not that uncommon to get 2 numbers.”
The announcer was starting to add suspense and excitement with each number he read off. “Three.”
“Wow, this is getting serious.”
“Oh wow, I’m going to get some serious money after this.”
The announcer left a dramatic pause before saying the final number. “And the final number is… Five!”
“OH MY GOD, I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” exclaimed Joe. He could not believe that such a horrible ticket could possibly win the lottery.
Joe celebrated for about half an hour. He jumped up and down like a mad man. He was screaming like a little child. After the initial shock and worn off, he went and bought some champagne, and had Luke and Jimmy over to his bachelor pad to party into the night. They drank and partied until 4 in the morning. Joe decided to call in sick, so he could go claim his prize. He stopped at the gas station where he bought the ticket and saw the same cashier was working. He gloated in his face for giving him such a horrible ticket that ended up winning. The clerk became very depressed to see that his rather cruel joke had backfired so profoundly. Joe then reached the lottery headquarters and showed the officials his ticket. He was then greeted by the president and rewarded his money. It was a large ceremony with the local news filming and balloons as far as the eye could see. The balloons were colorful and shiny. Joe received his large check for show, and then received the real check after the cameras turned off. Joe went to the local bank and deposited all of his money in offshore accounts.
Life after winning the lottery wasn’t what Joe had expected. Suddenly all the employees at the hospital where Joe worked began begging him for loans and expensive retirement gifts. His distant family suddenly started inviting him to all of their family reunions. He couldn’t leave his house without people pointing and shouting “That’s the guy who won big!” It was becoming unbearable. Joe looked for solace in buying everything he ever wanted, but it didn’t help. Joe soon blew all of his money on material things and went bankrupt after forgetting to save money for taxes. He started to live on the streets, which was a horrible existence. He had no running water or clean clothes. He lost his job because he stopped showing up. He had to go to soup kitchens just to survive. He soon realized that winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to him.
Joe lived on the streets for the next 3 years. He started to adapt and traveled around the U.S. until he reached the warm weather of California. He continued to live on the streets until the fateful day he was saved from poverty.
It was a warm July day when Joe O’Leary was wandering the streets of San Diego with a sign stating that he was once a famous doctor. Soon, a doctor from a hospital pulled him over to ask who he was and where he was from.
“So you think you’re famous? What’s your name?” said the doctor.
“My name, is Joe O’Leary. I’m from Corbettville.” said Joe, despairingly.
“YOU!!! You’re that guy who almost cured cancer and won the lottery! What happened?”
“I lost everything. I didn’t make smart investments. I blew all my money on stupid objects and poor decisions.”
“But you were such a smart doctor. We could offer you a job at our hospital as long as you never play the lottery again and only focus on your research.”
“Sure, as long as I can live in a house again and have a job, I can’t stand living on the streets.”
And so Joe started his new job at Sacred Heart Hospital; where he eventually did find a cure for breast cancer in men. The man who offered Joe the job was a kid from Corbettville who was cousins with Joe’s friend Riley. He gave all the money he earned to charity and to his homeless friends he made along the way. Joe learned that being rich is not always the best way to live and that sharing is always better than being selfish. He also learned that anything can happen, whether it be winning the lottery or losing everything.