Talking about what we would do and what our lives would be like if we won the jackpot on a huge Powerball is always a fun conversation, but the reality is not quite like the fantasy, according to ‘Wild’ Willie Seeley, one of sixteen Ocean County, New Jersey garage workers who won $450 million in August, and became known as the “Ocean’s 16”.
The Lottery Curse Strikes Again
Like a surprising number of lottery winners before him, Seeley and his wife Donna have described the big win as a “the curse”, just a month after he declared that he was “very happy, happy, happy” at the time of the win this summer. Seeley says he is now left with a sense of regret, and longs for his old life back.
“There are days I wish we were back to just getting paid every two weeks,” Seeley told NBC News in a recent interview. “You have to change your whole way of life, but we didn’t want to change the way we lived. We liked the way we lived.” Of course, you have to wonder why the couple purchased lottery tickets at all if they didn’t want to change their lives.
The morning after scoring the windfall sum, Seeley appeared on NBC’s Today show, where he announced that he would kick back and watch NASCAR races, buy a log cabin with several acres of land, and fish and hunt to his heart’s content. “I can do what I want,” he exclaimed. “We can do what we want.”
But rather than describing his new life as full of serene contentment, free of financial worries and restrictions, Seeley says that despite being able to buy his dream home on 15 acres of land, it has been a “non-stop drama” to which he has had difficulty adjusting.
Not Enjoying His Camera Time
“Would you want a camera following you around all day when you finally have the time to go hunting and fishing and do all the things you wanted to do?” asked Seeley, who has reportedly become quite the crowd favorite due to his “Duck Dynasty”-style folksy beard and tattered straw hat.
Seeley says he feels as though virtually every television producer in the country has been beating down his door just to get him to agree to take part in a reality TV series, including National Geographic, A&E and Ryan Seacrest Productions. As well as reality producers looking for the next big hit, Seeley also explained that he has been hounded by beggars and “long-lost relatives”.
“I pulled a .357 magnum on the last fellow who came walking up the driveway,” Seeley noted. And while that seems to have stopped the visitors, it certainly hasn’t stopped the phone from ringing.
Obviously sympathy can be sent towards Willie and Donna, who were certainly not prepared for such a media spotlight to be cast onto them in a life-altering way, and who have since shared some of the money with family and helped fund cancer treatment for Willie’s father.
But if having millions of dollars is a problem for them, it’s unlikely that there will be many bleeding hearts out there in that respect. And if he’s really miserable with money, there’s always the option that many lottery winners before him has taken: to piss it all away and start back at nothing.