RIGHT up there, I reckon, with the bloke from IT asking if you’ve tried rebooting and the gentleman with the knife inquiring after your mobile, one of the most annoying things anyone ever says is surely the chap with the novelty cheque insisting: “It won’t change me”.
Right now, as I write this on Tuesday, the nation – that is to say the late night staffer at The Sun – is on EuroMillions tenterhooks.
A Mansfield couple have scooped the jackpot (first rule of real journalism: jackpots are always scooped and blondes, unless the accompanying image shows undeniably the opposite, are always busty) and their identity is to be revealed.
Excited? Na, me neither.
Because, unless I’m very much mistaking the pattern that’s emerged from other winners, all that will happen is said couple will be wheeled out to spray some champers and cuddle for the cameras before, inexplicably, telling the nation how, well, they’re going to treat themselves to a holiday, of course, and they’ll pay the mortgage off, perhaps get a new car – possibly a reliable little Volvo – and for sure they’ll spoil the kids and close friends, but, really no, they won’t let it change them; they’ll be keeping the Tesco job because they’d miss their colleagues; and, tonight to celebrate, nothing special, perhaps a take-out from Admiral Haddock’s Fish Bar and a supermarket bottle of plonk; for sure, it’s lovely to have won but, no, this won’t...
And forgive me – because that’s always when I stop reading for fear if I go any further I’ll end up throwing the newspaper out the nearest window before I’ve even got to Dear Deirdre.
I mean – Good Lord! – if you’re not going to let £40 million change you, why on earth are you even buying the ticket?
Put your quid towards a portion of chips at Admiral Haddock’s and let those of us who promise to go money mental within minutes of the loot arriving stand a better chance of grabbing the swag.
See, if there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that £40 million would change me.
We’re talking new houses, new holidays and a new hairline. Better fashion, finer dining and more interesting friends.
I’d have a cinema in the basement, an art gallery in the attic and a five-a-side pitch in the garden with Lionel Messi on speed-dial in case the lads from across town came round for a game.
There’d be cars I couldn’t drive, homes I’d never go to, and a golf course to send my father when he started talking about investing.
Perhaps I wouldn’t quite go all-out Michael Carroll about it. He’s the so-called lottery lout who spent his £9.7 million on such nonsense – quads, rottweilers and, um, paramilitary tattoos – he declared himself bankrupt eight years later.
He said he had no regrets although I can’t help feeling, in a moment of reflection, he’s probably had a couple.
But there has to be a middle ground, doesn’t there?
A more gentle – indeed, genteel – kind of monetary madness?
“Maybe you’re just jealous,” she says, “that those winners are content enough not to want to change too much.”
And perhaps, I think, she’s right.
Still, with £40 million in the bank, I reckon I could buy a bit of that old contentedness too...?