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You can't dream if you don't play

Did you play?

By now we know you didn't win. The $390 million Mega Millions jackpot was split last week by a pair of folks, including Ed Nabors, who bought his winning ticket in Dalton. But those two weren't the only winners in the game, which drew national attention for its gigantic payoff.

Because if you played, you got a little something out of the deal, a chance to fantasize about what it would be like to be a millionaire at the very least. Not sure what the going rate on dreams is these days, but a few bucks seems worth it.

Which is why playing the lottery is always popular. You're pretty sure you won't win, but the thought of what you could do if you did makes the pursuit worthwhile. You're not buying a ticket as much as you're buying a dream.

As long as there's a lottery there's always hope, hope that you could be the one. Hope that you could set yourself and your family up for life. Hope that you could do things you've always wanted to do, help folks you've always wanted to help.

Hope doesn't pay the bills, but sometimes it gets you through the day.

Which makes me think of a speech from my favorite movie, "Beautiful Girls." Michael Rapaport's character is explaining to his buddy Will his love of supermodels and what they represent to him. Substitute "lottery ticket" for "supermodel" and you get the point.

"Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you've been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high, full of the single greatest commodity known to man - promise.

"Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl. In her smile, in her soul, the way she makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it's going to be OK.

"The supermodels, Willy? That's all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope dancing in stiletto heels."

You see those stiletto heels each week on "Deal or No Deal," the perfect combination of models, money and hope. The young ladies who hold the brief cases are no doubt partially responsible for the NBC show's ratings. But so is the thought of what you would do - pay off the house, travel the world, retire - if you became a big deal thanks to the show.

In that vein the program follows in the footsteps of another big money, game show, the perfectly named "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." The answer to that question - all of us - ensures the lottery dream will never die.

Todd Cline can be reached via e-mail at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.