OPINION: How could you keep it quiet? How could you have a $33 million Lotto ticket burning a hole in your pocket and not give out a single clue that you are the winner of the biggest sum of money in the New Zealand lottery's history?
Well, at the time of writing, someone has managed to do just that. Either they have ice in their veins or they are just so stunned with their windfall that have they locked themselves away while they compose themselves.
I find it impossible to comprehend what I would do if I won such a large sum (I had no chance on Saturday because I was one of only two people in New Zealand who didn't buy a Lotto ticket - the other was Kim Dotcom who doesn't need the money).
It's surprising how many lottery winners claim they won't let it change their lives. In fact, it's become a cliche for the recipients to say "It won't alter the way I live".
Of course it will change their lives, even if it's only because their relationships will be irrevocably altered. The vast amount of money in the winner's bank account is sure to alter the dynamics between friends and family.
Unless, of course, the winner is already rich and as the winning ticket was sold in the affluent Auckland suburb of Ponsonby where two-bedroom apartments are selling for about three-quarters of a million dollars this is entirely possible.
So what do you do with $33 million?
Well, I'd like to think that maybe I'd give a fair chunk to some deserving charity such as Save the Children or World Vision. After all, if there had been just one different number on the lottery balls you wouldn't have won anywhere near that amount of money, so you can surely spare a few million to help those in poverty.
Of course, the stock answer from winners is usually that they will share their good fortune with family members. This is entirely normal and reasonable and it probably ensures there will be someone to look after you in your old age. And if the family turn out to be ungrateful bludgers, well, you can always buy yourself your own personal rest home.
However, apart from family distributions, with $33 million you have got ample scope for spreading the largesse further afield too.
Unfortunately, quite a number of winners let the money go to their head and then the hoary phrase "money doesn't buy happiness" can be very true.
Saturday's record windfall is just about double what Englishman Michael Carroll won when he scooped £9.7 million in 2002. The 19-year-old was quickly dubbed "the Lottery Lout" by British tabloids as he squandered his winnings on drugs, gambling and thousands of prostitutes. In the immortal words of playboy footballer George Best, he "just wasted the rest".
Within a year there were reports of Michael spending $3000 a day on his cocaine habit and throwing decadent parties at his half-million-dollar home.
It goes without saying that this lottery windfall certainly did change this recipient's life.
Not surprisingly his wife left him, wisely taking their young daughter with her, and within eight years Carroll was again penniless and back on the unemployment benefit.
Amazingly, he seemed quite philosophical about this, claiming the return to reduced circumstances suited him just fine. "The party has ended and it's back to reality," he told a British tabloid in 2010.
"I haven't got two pennies to rub together and that's the way I like it. I find it easier to live off £42 dole than a million."
Carroll wasn't being entirely truthful. A year later he admitted to twice attempting to commit suicide after frittering away his fortune.
He isn't the only one to find that winning a major lottery prize is not a shortcut to happiness. British teenager Callie Rodgers won £1.2 million (NZ$2.3 million) in July 2003 and immediately shared her good fortune - she showered her family and close friends with cars, homes and expensive holidays.
She also spent much of her winnings on partying, designer clothing and breast implants. Within six years she was facing bankruptcy and, like Michael Carroll, had also attempted suicide.
Callie was back to living with her mother and working three part-time cleaning jobs to make ends meet.
"My life is a shambles," she said. "Hopefully now the money has gone I can find some happiness."
As Saturday's winning Lotto ticket was bought at a Ponsonby shoe repair store it's unlikely that it was bought by a farmer, which is a pity because my favourite quotation about winning a lottery comes from a man of the land.
When asked what he would do now he had won the lottery, the farmer replied, "Keep farming until it's all gone."
- © Fairfax NZ News