With all of this Powerball mania sweeping the country, I just can’t seem to get that Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had a Million Dollars” out of my head, though my brain has edited it to reflect the current jackpot.
“If I had a billion dollars, I’d buy you a house.” A really big house and a monkey!
Though it is nice to daydream about what you would do with all of the sudden cash, many former lottery winners have found themselves harassed by friends, relatives and even charities. More than a few end up filing for bankruptcy and living “back in the trailer park.” That is, if they live at all. Some have killed themselves, while others have been murdered by family members or their “financial advisers.” And that’s usually after they develop drug, alcohol or gambling addictions themselves. One winner proclaimed, “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
I guess The Notorious B.I.G. was right: “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
But still, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.
And really it seems like the billion-dollar jackpot would let you buy off all of your redneck relatives for a modest sum, whereas a shabbier, lower million-dollar one would run out before your third cousins twice removed could even put their hands out (or poison you with cyanide, which really did happen to one winner).
I was informed by some of my own family members last Saturday that I would be receiving a flat one million dollars if they won, but not to expect any more. I was cool with their generosity and their quite reasonable terms, but of course, we all woke up on Sunday realizing we weren’t any richer. Sigh.
Like most people, I have pondered what I would do with the $1.5 billion if I happened to hit the jackpot Wednesday. But since I haven’t purchased a ticket, I think my odds are just slightly worse than those who have. I’m still hoping to find someone willing to pick a ticket up for me, but the odds of that are probably pretty slim too. (Thanks, Alabama Legislature, for ruining my lottery chances! Not everyone has time to drive to Florida to fill up that state’s coffers with money that could be ours!)
Anyway, assuming I beat all of these impossible odds and find myself holding the winning ticket, I feel like I will live pretty modestly. I plan to buy a modest mansion, a modest yacht and a modest jet, which I will use to take modest vacations around the world and to go on tour with the band Modest Mouse just because they roll like I do, “floating on” so very modestly.
But a billionaire who lives so frugally deserves a few splurges, so these are some I am considering (most are really quite selfless):
I will do something special for my kids. I know some families go to Disney World every time school is out for more than three seconds. I do not understand these alien creatures. Why oh why would you want to do this? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s the “happiest place on Earth” and all, but you have to stand in line for a long time with whiny kids who complain about standing in line for a long time. Did I mention standing in line … with whiny kids … for a long time? What ride or attraction could possibly make that experience a “happy” one? I know we are obligated to take them — it’s in the parenting handbook — but we are only going to do it once — when they are 5 and 7, so they both will remember it, and that’s it. Before our billionaire status, all I could hope for was the ability to purchase the maximum number of FastPasses and Xanax allowed by law to make this process somewhat bearable, but with all my fancy new money, I will just be renting out the park for a day for our private use, maybe the whole weekend, depending on what rate they quote me.
I will give back to my city. I will replace the MoonPie on the RSA Trustmark Building with a product that is made in Mobile, not in Chattanooga. I will repave Ann Street (in gold), and will purchase the nicest Carnival Cruise ship they have for our terminal so we don’t get stuck with all of their low-rent bobo vessels.
I will give back to my state. Governor Bentley seems lonely and the state’s beach mansion is in disrepair. I will purchase the Playboy mansion that recently went on the market for $200 million and move it to Gulf Shores. The price seems reasonable, especially considering it comes with an automatic roommate for our governor. Yes, you must allow Hugh Hefner to live in the mansion until he dies, but this will provide the Gov. with much-needed companionship. This is what I call killing two birds with one gallstone.
I will give back to my nation. You no longer have to fear that Trump or Hillary will be our next president. I will single-handedly bankroll the last-minute campaign of the one person we can all agree has the greatest sense of truth, justice and the American way, Wisconsin criminal defense attorney and modern-day Atticus Finch, Dean Strang. If you haven’t seen Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” yet, watch it and you will see why you’ll be begging me for a “Strang for Prez” yard sign by episode 3.