ONDBEAT: Winning lottery-game hindsight is so 20/20

Winning the lottery and its assorted contests is easy.

Just ask the P.R. folks up at North Carolina Education Lottery heaven, aka Raleigh, who send out announcements on the latest winners in upbeat emails periodically crossing my transom.

The latest North Carolina lucky-duck rich person is Wilmington resident Donna Griffith, who won $4 million just by going for a drive after church one recent Sunday.

“It was such a beautiful afternoon,” Griffith is quoted in the N.C. Education Lottery press release sent out last week.

“They kept driving until they reached the Phoenix Travel Center on N.C. 210 in Rocky Point” — one of Griffith’s favorite places to buy lottery tickets — the report continued.

After scratching off a $200 Million Blowout game scratch-off ticket that cost $20, Griffith learned she had become an instant millionaire.

Opting for a lump-sum prize of $2.4 million, Griffith will reap $1.6 million after taxes. (Isn’t the government always the real winner in these things?).

She’s also sensible. She’s not giving up her day job and will use most of her prize for retirement.

In another recent example, Otis Gurgainous of Duplin County won $1 million in July in a Lucky No. 7 scratch-off after he stopped to buy gas at the Newton Grove Family Fare.

He, too, chose a lump sum amounting to $600,000 and $423,009 after taxes.

In April another Wilmington resident, Christopher Hancock, stopped by an ordinary Speedway store just to buy a pack of sour gummy worms but wound up winning a Cash 5 game prize of $185,743. He’ll get $130,951 after you-know-what.

Hancock’s proud boss gave him a big hug, lifting him off the ground. The boss then ordered him to go straight to Raleigh to collect his prize, which he did just a few hours later.

With winners like this, how can the rest of us be losers?

They make it look easy, the same way I can pick winning lottery numbers after I’ve seen what they are. Often they coincide almost perfectly with assorted birthdate numbers of significant people in my life. Duh. If only I knew which six numbers to choose before instead of after.

These fun games and more make it possible to raise more than $600 million annually for education in North Carolina, their promoters tout.

I hereby make a motion that a significant portion of these millions go toward teacher raises this fall.

Easy peasy.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.