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Mega Millions lottery expected to reach $1.6 billion by Tuesday’s drawing

The American Dream can be summarized as the opportunity to work hard, think big and accomplish something. It’s the idea that our country is based on — heading to work, earning an honest living and making something of ourselves.

Most of the able-bodied men and women in the Valley area do just that every week, working hard to pay the bills and to make ends meet.

It’s those long, grind-it-out days when our minds wonder into thinking what it might be like to be rich and retire early. Just about all of us have probably dreamed of being contacted by a long-lost, rich family member or tripping over a hidden treasure chest of gold in a forgotten corner of our backyard.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but being more financially stable sure would make life easier. And that’s why the Mega Millions lottery has so many people lining up at convenience stores across the United States.

The Mega Millions lottery is projected to be $1.6 billion Tuesday, the most in game history. People are driving hours to purchase tickets, especially those who live in lottery-less Alabama.

Stores in West Point have been busy during the last week, as people dream about striking it rich and being America’s newest billionaire overnight.

And while it’s OK to dream, we don’t recommend getting your hopes up.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions on Tuesday — or any other day — is 1 in 303 million. To put that in perspective, the odds of getting struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. The odds of dying in a plane crash are about 1 in 11 million, according to several reports. The odds of getting attacked by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million and the chance of being killed by a shark is 1 in 264.1 million.

You get the point. You have better odds of getting struck by lightning, dying in a plane crash and getting attacked by a shark than you do of winning Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. (Odds may even be better of being struck by lightning while being bitten by a shark on a crashing plane.)

So, while it’s just human nature to dream big and to want to play, don’t expect a big payday or a Willie Wonka golden ticket to await you Tuesday night. More than likely, you’ll have to return to work Wednesday with everyone else, still dreaming about what it’s like to strike it rich.