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If only that lottery hit me
From the editor
Jeff Whitten NEW
Jeff Whitten is managing editor of the News and didnt win the lottery. - photo by File photo

By the time this issue hits our newspaper racks and mailboxes, I expect to be booking a first-class flight to Tahiti because I won Wednesday night’s $700 million Powerball jackpot.

Still, and sadly, since this is being written in a Wednesday afternoon hurry, I have no way of knowing whether either of the two tickets I picked up at Clyde’s on the happy corner of highways 144 and 17 are winners, so let’s just say I rake in the entire jackpot.

Surf’s up.

But have no fear. I will be a benevolent half-billionaire down the road and use my vast super powers only for good. For starters, I might turn into a sort of slightly younger Ross Perot and run for office to try to fix what’s broken. But, unlike Perot, who ran for president in 1992 and if memory serves was ornery and apt to squeaking when he got riled up, I’ll be laid back — as anyone with $700 million ought to be.

After all, what right does anyone with that kind of scratch have to get worked up about anything? The gall of being rich and mad.

You got that kind of money in the bank, you should be more like the late Bob Ross, the carefree hippy who used to paint those "happy little trees," as he taught The Joy of Painting on PBS for decades.

"No pressure," said Bob, once. "Just relax and watch it happen."

And it did. And he didn’t have to explain what he painted, either. There it was, trees and lakes and stuff, more than a decade’s worth.

Now, I’m pretty sure Bob, who died a few years back, didn’t have billions in the bank. What he did have was a paintbrush and scraggly beard and a red afro, even though he was a white dude, and he sounded like he was trying to put everybody to sleep, even when he said something like "that’s a crooked tree. We’ll send him to Washington."

That’s a special kind of chill, that’s what that is.

So, with $700 million (before taxes, gifts to various family members and my wife’s cut are taken out) in the bank, I may start the Bob Ross Chill Out Party, or just the Bob party for short, in honor of Bob, who once said, "Water’s like me. It’s lazy. Boy, it always looks for the easiest way to do things." The BRCOP, or Bob, will be a happy, carefree alternative to what we have now, whatever that is. And anyone can join. Even folks with those silly salt life stickers.

The Bob party will not campaign, because that would be too much work. Besides, marketing is an insult to thinking people. Instead, the Bob party will be there as an alternative for all who think maybe we’ve gotten things wrong somehow and can do better, if we just slow down a minute, stop finger pointing and try. We’ll use something Bob said as party slogan: "You can have anything you want in the world, once you help everyone around you get what they want."

Good old Bob knew the deal. Let’s send crooked trees to Washington, not crooked people. And let’s be nice to each other.

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