Douglas

Douglas

<p>Douglas</p>

Douglas

I had a hunch I was not going to win that $1.337 billion in the Mega Millions lottery last week since I did not purchase any numbers, making the odds of my winning infinitesimally smaller than those of some of my friends who did.

But I was disappointed for them, understanding that had a friend or family member won, I would benefit, even if that only meant that person picked up the lunch tab.

Someone in Illinois won, but that person has yet to claim it, so we do not know if that person is a he, she or even a they. What I wonder is if this person a few years from now will be glad to have won the money. The odds of an unhappy ending are much better than the 303 million to one odds of picking the winning numbers, which were 13-36-45-57-67.

You will not believe this but 13 is my favorite number, 36 used to be my waist size, 45 is the number my all-time favorite UNC basketball, Tommy LaGarde, wore, 1957 is the year I was born, and 67 is the score I shot the first time I broke 70. So a good chance I would have shared the prize.

The winner has the option of taking the jackpot in a discounted lump sum, which most do, or a fortune at a time but in annual installments. In this case the lump sum would be $780.5 million, which would be the paltry sum of about $554 million and some chump change after Uncle Sam gets his. Most opt for Plan A, a no-brainer for someone of my age.

The sheer size of the prize – incidentally, the top lottery prize was $1.537 billion – got me wondering what exactly could be purchased with $1.337 billion, which is 1,337 times $1 million for those of you who are math challenged. That is more than the LIV Tour offered Tiger Woods.

Using the after-tax amount of $554 million, if the winner lives in Woodland, Ill., that person has enough coin to give every fellow town resident $1 million each. If the winner were from Robeson County and decided to spread the joy, each county resident would get a check for $4,361. There would be $1.75 for each person in the United States.

What else can $554 million buy?

— The newest Boeing 747 passenger jetliner and have $158 million leftover to buy a pilot and blow wherever you land.

—Epcot, but just barely, with $1 million in change.

—About 130 Rolls-Royce Phantoms, dubbed the world’s most expensive car.

—Just enough to make a sizeable down payment on Allure of the Seas, at $1.4 billion the world’s most expensive cruise ship. You would have to finance the $650 million balance.

—Two 149 Tomahawk Block IV missiles, which cost about $202 million each, but perhaps you could finagle a buy-two-get-one free deal.

—Dinner for 277,000 at the Sublimotion in Ibiza Spain, billed as the world’s most expensive restaurant, although seating them all would be a problem.

—About 50 lots at Pebble Beach Golf Course, if any were available. They are not. But, as they say, everything has a price so perhaps you could haggle. Or you could opt for about 920,000 18-hole rounds at Pebble.

—Here is a deal: The Chateau Lois XIV of France, which is the world’s most expensive castle at a modest $300 million. It sits on 57 acres.

—You are well short of having enough money to buy the Atlanta Braves franchise, which is valued at $2.1 billion, but you could get a group together and be the majority owner. If you wanted to buy the Dallas Cowboys, the … never mind, why would you want to buy the Cowboys?

—A single bottle of D’Amalfi Limoncello Supreme, the world’s most expensive liquor, at $44 million a bottle. Why not 14 bottles? Only one exists.

—For beer lovers, you could get 27,700 bottles – not cases – of Brewdog’s End of History beer, but I warn you, the alcohol content is 55 percent. I would opt for 1,387 million cases of Bud Light and an equal number of large, five-topping pizzas, double-cheese, and some fiery chicken wings as well.

—554 boxes of Gurkha Royal Courtesan cigars. The per-box cost on that should be easy math for you.

—For the guys out there who want to get lucky, how about 45 bottles of Shumukh, at $1.29 million bottle, the world’s most expensive perfume.

Now some of those suggestions, I know, are just silly. Who needs two Tomahawk missiles without the mechanism to fire them, a $44 million bottle of liquor or a passenger jetliner? Now the Bud Light and pizza I see.

The prudent play here would be to invest the money and, of course, diversify. Assuming a modest return of 8 percent a year, that would produce $44 million a year in new revenue, or a shade above $121,000 a day. Although not particularly sexy, that should be enough to get by on.

Reach Donnie Douglas by email at [email protected]