Can a piece of paper change a life?

Daily Prompt: Everything Changes

by michelle w. on August 6, 2013

Walking down the street, you encounter a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TRANSFORMATION.


Today, on our radio in South Africa, they are advertising the Powerball Lotto in America, which pays out $ 400 000 000 tomorrow evening.  If somebody did predict the numbers correctly, and then lost the ticket, that ticket would certainly change someone’s life if found on the street.

My wife and I sometimes daydream about what we would like to do if we came into money unexpectedly. Well, the first worry that would go away, was to pay the university fees for all our kids, when they need it.   As some of my regular readers would think- a lot more travelling would be a given.  There is just so much to see in this big, wide world. I have spent my entire life in just 3 time zones, Mostly Central African time, as far west as Spain, and as far east as Turkey.  I would love to see the Americas, North, South AND Central- with my wife… I would love to visit the Far East. I would love rugby matches in New Zealand, and cricket games in Australia.

We would not worry where we are going to live when I get to retirement age and have to move out of the comfortable church house…

But I would not need $400 million to reach that.  I am not that interested in Things, but in Relationships, and Experiences.  Such a piece of paper could probably take a few worries away. It would certainly bring on a lot more- to know who is really my friends, who really need my financial help. Would it still be as much fun to just sit under the African starry sky at night and count the shooting stars with my kids? Would the joy of a camp fire at night, with the howl of a jackal or the roar of a lion in the distance still be so amazing?

Would it still be as much fun to gather my equally broke friends on a Friday night, and we share whatever we have to eat and drink in my Lapa (a South African’s favourite place to linger, with a fire involved…)

Maybe such a piece of paper would kill the joy and happiness of the every day life, of the not exactly knowing how everything is going to turn out- maybe the sense of adventure. Would it be worth it? Maybe, if I could see the future, and the influence of too much money on me, my kids, my friends- maybe I would just walk on by that winning Lotto ticket?  Would you pick it up?


Would you be willing to risk this simple experiences of life for a lot of money?

16 thoughts on “Can a piece of paper change a life?

  1. Oh, I would definitely pick it up if I saw it on the floor! I think I would put it towards my wedding next year, if I did come across a lot of money. The rest would be put into the bank for a deposit on a house. And maybe some extra clothes and camera equipment just because I could 😉 x Interesting thought though!

  2. Nope! If you have enough money to fulfill all your dreams, what is left to dream about? No thanks I love to dream and live with that anticipation of “who knows?”

  3. Pingback: Ficlet Fragment: Today | Tommia's Tablet

  4. Undoubtedly your life would change. I think that someone of strong character could still find the beauty in simple things and make a conscience effort to do so. I think I would pick up the ticket, to secure a future for my family and make sure my husband didn’t have to work so hard. I would like to think I could help a lot of people as well but I agree that the changes in your life would be a risk!

    • So true! The chance of picking up such a ticket is so small as to be totally impossible. The one thing that bothers me a lot- in our country the rich kids are bored because they have nothing to dream about anymore. All their wishes come true immediately. So a lot gets caught up in the drug scene, just to have some kicks. I know this is generalizing, but it does happen a lot. I would not like that to happen to my kids. When the choice is: fly off to Disneyland, or pitch our tent in nature-I do not think me and my teens would have the same choice…

    • A very good question! I have read a study a few years ago on the effect of suddenly gaining a lot of money and the change it brings in people’s lives. And it was scary, to see the amoun of people whose lives were not happy afterwards, suddenly overwhelmed byvery friendly long lost family and friends looking for help. A lot managed to spend or loose it all. And in our country you suddenly get into the view of some really nasty criminal elements. You are a target. So would it be worth it? I am not so sure…

      On the other hand- a BMW S1000 RR next to a R1200GS in my garage would bring a small smile to my face…

      • Ha!!! Well, I’ve always been partial to the Lamborghini myself… I can see myself driving …. aaahhhhhh…. you have no idea…

        I know if I fell into money my family would be right there for a handout. I wouldn’t change my outward appearance. I also would not want anything printed about it. I think it’s in how we handle it. I could relocate without drawing attention. I could help someone out without necessarily having a lot of cash – just one working stiff to another. Ok, human nature as it can be – yes, some want to make a big noise which draws unwanted attention and other ills follow. Sometimes you never expect it from family and friends but love doesn’t mean stupidity, it’s actually responsibility from the best frame of mind.

        I’d say “In case of sudden wealth – break contingency plan glass” and live happily ever after.

        My grandson and I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory yesterday(the Gene Wilder version). ‘Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted… He lived happily ever after.’ There’s some wisdom behind that. In fact, I’d say it’s based in good business, you know, what’s supposed to be setting good example for people…

  5. Pingback: The Booknotes | Edward Hotspur

  6. But Godliness with contentment is great gain..for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out… 1 Timothy 6:6 (But having said that, I have to admit I sometimes struggle with the concept) 🙂

  7. Pingback: I LOVE YOU…YOU SUCK | hastywords

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s