Particulate Matters - Hitting the Jackpot
Starting with the negative, money has often been referred to as “the root of all evil.” I won’t argue that the notion is totally untrue, but I’m actually a big fan of the commodity also known as “cash,” “loot,” “dough,” and “skrilla.”
I’m more a fan of the adage: “Money makes the world go ’round,” and that definitely holds true when it comes to diesel performance. Based on things I’ve seen and experienced in the oil-burning world (elaborate, beautiful trucks and powerful engines, the highest end of the sled pulling scene, and such), I believe it’s pretty much impossible to play this particular game—at the level at which some enthusiasts participate in the hobby—without having either a great work ethic and fantastic financial strategy, the ability to wheel, deal, and hustle for the capital needed to support extensive diesel-related activities, or, the big-bucks war chest and independent wealth that are instantly created by winning a huge lottery payout.
For many of us, that last criterion is pure fantasy: a dream and wish we hope comes true one day. I’m thinking many of you play “the lotto,” a generic, collective name my family has given to SuperLotto Plus, Powerball, MEGA Millions, and other lottery games. And they play “the lotto” with every intention of winning. I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t believe their time to win has come? On the other hand, however, I also feel that deep down, most people understand the odds of actually having a ticket worth millions are pretty close to being astronomical, for lack of having a better word to describe those chances.
The big question that’s always asked during high-jackpot periods is, “What will you do/what will you buy with the money?” Well, it definitely was asked a lot during the first two weeks of 2016, as the Powerball payout soared to more than $1 billion. What would I do and/or buy? I’ll tell you, for me, making that decision isn’t easy. It seems like there are a million things I want, and the list of things I need is equally as impressive.
But, with respect to this hobby, I think diesel fuel—no, A LOT of diesel fuel—will be one of the first things I invest in, should my lucky moment ever get here. And you were probably thinking I was going to say “a new pickup,” weren’t you? Well, it’s very likely I will buy one or a few of those, too, and a top-of-the-line Freightliner, Peterbilt, or some other tractor-trailer rig. I still have a penchant for big rigs, and the secret hope of someday owning and operating one, purely for the driving experience, not commercial enterprise. Yes, a lot of material items will be procured if I come into the big bucks—along with an enormous, shop-like facility to store everything (trucks, cars, boats, bikes, fuel, and so on) inside.
Why will I buy diesel right away (especially if I win anytime within a month or so of this February ’16 editorial)? Because fuel prices are the lowest they’ve been in many years (yet, California’s crude is still .78 cents above the national average). And, despite the fuel having a relatively short shelf life (6 months to a year), I think it would be a wise investment, because with a constant supply of diesel, I will drive my oil-burning vehicles until their wheels fall off. Honestly, I don’t think these good times are going to last too long. So, taking full advantage of them will be the main objective—since “not having the money” to do it won’t be a problem.
I’d also stockpile diesel as personal payback for the time in 2009 (during the height of our country’s economic mess) that I paid almost $200 to fill two of Big White’s three tanks. Yes, the math there works out to about $6.50 per gallon! The price gouging was definitely all too real back then. The same fill-up costs only $60 at diesel’s current $2.15-per-gallon price point. I still shake when I think about that!
I’m definitely not a lottery regular, but I will join in the mayhem whenever the payout is the topic everyone is talking about. I also have an annual tradition of throwing 50 bucks at the last draw of each year and then clutching the ticket with a death grip on New Year’s Eve, while watching the world-famous ball drop into New York City’s Times Square. Has this practice won me anything? Well, not a lot. However, even if performing the ritual has only netted me maybe 60 bucks over the many years, I’ll still say the thrill of possibly “being rich”…instantly…is worth the investment.
My take in the huge, January 13, 2016, Powerball jackpot was a mere $6. While I wish I had numbers that put me closer to getting a slice of the $1,586,400,000 pie its lucky winners are splitting, my small prize is appreciated nonetheless—and it was used to supplement the $60 total for Big White’s fuel fill-up.