So, followers of this blog shouldn’t be expecting super-cool birthday presents this year. I did not win the Powerball lottery. Shucks.
But, I did see the familiar theme in the coverage following several jackpot wins — playing family birthdays!
Mavis L. Wancyzk bought a total of five tickets. For three of them she selected the numbers and the other two were computer generated. It was a combination of family birthdays and her “magic number” (4) that netted her a $758.7 million win, though.
The Chicopee, MA, immediately quit her hospital job (after 32 years) and claimed a lump sum payment of $480 million, or $336 million after taxes. It’s the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history.
Wancyzk wasn’t the only one to see a big win. There are 40 tickets worth $1 million or more, and an additional $135 million in prize money will go to 9.4 million other ticket buyers who didn’t win the jackpot
Big Win Birthdays
One of the other winners was in North Carolina. Barbara Graves’ take is a pittance compared to Wancyzk’s; but would any of us really complain about a $200,000 award?
Graves picked her own numbers to win, again using birthdays. “I use my birthday, my kids’ birthday, and my granddaughters’ birthday,” she told the NC lottery’s press office.
Doing so saw her beating odds of 913,129 to win a post-tax haul of $138,915. “I was shaking and crying. I must checked my ticket a hundred times,” she said. Her big plans for the moolah? Buying a silver metallic Honda Accord.
Of course, many of those of us who did not win — not even one number?! — probably also played birthday numbers. Thus, I can’t really argue that playing birthdays is the guarantee of a golden ticket — statisticians could probably even tell us how unlikely it is. Yet, it does at least make me a little happier to know that the formula for these others’ success involved birthdays.