In 1996, Canadian pop-rocker Alanis Morissette made literary terms mainstream with her smash hit “Ironic.”
The tune laid out several examples of having something happen in the opposite way of what is expected, including “a death row pardon two minutes too late” and having “ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.”
While experts and killjoys have quibbled over whether or not any of the song’s lines truly count as ironic, Morissette has gone on to fame and fortune.
And if she rewrote the piece today, I think she’d include the case of Donald Savastano rather than incorporate her critics’ suggestions.
Fifty-one-year-old Savastano, a native of Queens, New York, had stopped at a Mirabito convenience store near the turn of the year when a display for the state’s lottery tickets caught his eye.
“I saw the Merry Millionaire ticket and figured, ‘Why not?’” he told WBNG.
The Sidney man who won $1 million off of a New York State Lottery scratch-off ticket has passed away suddenly of stage 4 cancer. 51-year-old Donald Savastano won just three weeks ago. @wicztv pic.twitter.com/W6qSato9VU
— Amanda Pitts WICZ (@AmandaPittsTV) January 29, 2018
Ten dollars later, he had the ticket in his pocket — a ticket that would become a cool $1 million on Jan. 3. For someone who works for himself, that sort of money could make a major difference in his life.
He decided to accept the money all at once. After it was processed, he got a check for a little over $661,000 — more money on a check than most of us will see in our lifetimes.
“Being a self-employed carpenter, I didn’t really have a plan for retirement,” he said. “The money will help with that.
“I don’t have any other extravagant plans. I’ll buy a new truck, pay off some debt, and invest for the future.”
Savastano had other plans for the money, too. He wanted to go see a doctor.
“He didn’t have insurance,” store employee Danielle Scott told WABC. “He hadn’t been feeling good for a while, I guess, and when he got the money he went into the doctor.”
What he learned there was horrifying: He had stage-four cancer that had invaded his lungs and brain, an illness so severe that physicians feared he wouldn’t make it.
Sadly, they were right. Savastano passed away on Jan. 26, barely more than three weeks after claiming his winnings.
An unfortunate, ironic end, that’s for sure. But Savastano has left behind something more than money: a good name and a great reputation.
“He was known for his high-quality work and perfectionism,” his obituary read. “He always tried to reach out and help those he could by teaching them ‘the right way to do things.’”
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