Friday, December 09, 2005


I just need someone to love. . . I just need a hundred thousand, maybe a million dollars. . . If it just could be me. . . then my life would be perfect.

Mack and Virginia were common people. Virginia was Mack's second wife. They lived pay check to pay check. Mack drove a forklift. Virigina made corrugated boxes. The best life offered was a blue-collar existence in a run down apartment.

As some say, all their dreams came true. In 2000, Mack bought a $3 lottery ticket that won the $65 million dollar Powerball jackpot. Any desire of the heart could be reality. They took the lump sum, which was $34 million, and split it 60-40. After taxes, Mack netted $14 million and Virginia took home $9 million. They separated. Bought lavish homes. He went deeper into alcoholism. She went deeper into drug addiction. His former wife collected on overdue child support. Her family came harassing. It is odd that the desires of their hearts brought pain instead of pleasure.

Just three years after his windfall, Mack Metcalf died of complications relating to alcoholism in 2003. Virginia Merida's partly decomposed body was found in her bed the day before Thanksgiving. She had been dead for several days due to a likely drug overdose. She was 51 and he was 45. The New York Times reported the story last week. Less than a handful of years to live out their desires.

One of Virginia's brothers related this wisdom, "Any problems people have, money magnifies it so much, it is unbelievable." And Mack's first wife remarked, "when you put that kind of money in the hands of someone with problems, it just helps them kill themselves faster." Maybe having our desires, just being who we are and living in total freedom is a dangerous thing.

Oh if only, "My Name Is Earl" had been on television in 2000. Then, maybe Mack and Virginia could have discovered Karma to go with their winnings. Seriously, our addictions to religion, sex, race, chocolate, football or drugs will kill us. We try to live and control a universe of our own creation. The center of this universe is not the earth or the son, but the self. This universe will implode.

I want my addiction, my center to be God. Something outside myself. Someone who calls me beyond myself to become more that I could alone.

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