Never Shoot a Gift Horse (in the mouth or elsewhere)

A recent news article made me smile. Not all of them do, as they generally trumpet doom and gloom and showcase the ‘worst’ of humanity. This one was from Australia.

A female student was caring for her parents, struggling to help with their financial woes. She came upon several lottery tickets in a drawer, including one which her father had purchased as a birthday gift 10 months prior. On a whim, she decided to have them checked…and found she had, in her possession, a winning ticket worth $10,000,000!

Happy (belated) birthday, indeed!

Her reaction was one of comfort that her parents’ money difficulties were finally over, and they could now live with the comfortable reassurance that they were out of the woods regarding debt.

Her next comments included her desire to give some money for research and charity.

Honorable endeavors, both.

Where this story went off the rails for me (as my smile dissipated) was in the list of comments following the article. The first two were of a congratulatory nature. The third sat firmly in opposition. I could almost hear the thunder and see the lightning from the top of Mount Negativo (neg-ah-TEE-voh)

“She should tear up the winning ticket and run the other way!!” (paraphrased, with negative comments condensed into this one line)

Let me examine the situation:

1) Parents are struggling with money issues
2) woman caring for them wins $10,000,000

You’re right, this is terrible. She should flush it down the toilet and let her good fortune swim with the fishes.

Do I think that money is the answer to all of life’s problems? Certainly not. There are plenty of tragic case studies to show that it doesn’t automatically work that way.

However, a gigantic windfall can definitely help to overcome problems attributed to the lack of money, in the same way finding an amazing true love can end of period of feeling alone and unloved, finding an abundant source of food can solve hunger issues, etc.

It is the negative attitude from this source which creates the issue for me. There is an old proverb which states ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’. Apparently, one can tell the age of a horse by looking at its teeth, and assess its value.

According to, the proverb warns against questioning the quality or use of a lucky chance or gift.

The comment given here is basically advising this woman to shoot the horse, or perhaps tear it up and flush it down the toilet. I do not condone either action.

In my opinion, this is yet another doom and gloom, glass-half-empty response to what I consider to be an opportunity for a positive outcome.

Sadly, I have heard the same thing over and over throughout my life:

* Look, a new puppy! Response: Oh great, it’s gonna crap on the rug.
* Let’s go on vacation! Response: Why, the airlines are ripping us off!
* Wow, I got a raise! Response: Great, now you’ll have to pay more taxes!

Have you had a taste of good fortune recently, only to have someone dump all over it?

Are doom-and-gloomers raining on your parade?

Is someone trying to shoot your gift horse?


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