The Canadian rock band Bare Naked Ladies sang a song in the '90s "If I Had A Million Dollars." They said if they had all that money they wouldn't need to buy Kraft dinner anymore, but they still would. Now that Powerball is a cool $1.3 BILLION or more, a Kraft dinner FACTORY wouldn't be out of the question. Heck I like Mac and Cheese in the box as much as anyone, but for just a few minutes I sat down to wonder just WHAT I would do with all that money, what would change, what would stay the same.
If I had a BILLION dollars:
I'd make sure my family and friends were taken care of, and that my kids' college tuition was paid in full. I'd finally finish paying my OWN student loans too, and my mortgage, and then gleefully call all those creditors repeatedly, at the most inopportune times, to tell them I am all paid off but I may be recording this conversation for quality control anyway.
I'd buy my wife all the designer shoes and clothes and custom fashions she could ever want. And I'd build a walk-in closet with shelves and lights and mirrors that would cause even the Kardashians to salivate with jealousy. My wife never asks for much but she deserves the world. We'd finally travel and take some of the trips we've ALWAYS talked about but never done before. It would be first class all the way with lavish hotel stays and unlimited spending, a long way from when we stayed at the "Budgetell Inn" one vacation when we were first dating... and said "Budgetell" with an accent so it would sound much fancier than it was.
I'd build a Starbucks in my living room with a walk up window just like I imagine Oprah might have in her mansion up on the hill. You could roll right out of bed and give the barista your order. And since I had a billion dollars it would be paid for... for life. My name would already be written on each cup, spelled correctly, all of them. I'd build a Dunkin' Donuts too because sometimes you just need a "regular" and a bag of chocolate munchkins. My New England friends know what I'm talking about.
If I had a billion dollars I'd try to help cure cancer like the type a former classmate from Sharon High School has been bravely battling. She so eloquently wrote about hating cancer... but also THANKING cancer for teaching her what's really important in life. I'd donate money to help cure pulmonary fibrosis, the insidious disease that claimed my mother's life. I'd give money to so many causes. Can you imagine what good could come from the world if the wealthiest of people parted with some of that money?
I asked my wife what SHE would do with a billion dollars. And with the exception of the shoes and wardrobes, our lists were very similar. She talked about bills and friends and our kids, and then she added a couple. "Grad School," I'd put myself through grad school. She's an educator by profession and then she went on to say she'd build a suburban school for inner city kids, where they could come and stay and learn, and not have to worry about mean streets or guns or violence. I loved that she thought about that.
Then I asked my kids. I asked them what THEY would do with a billion dollars, a number they can hardly even comprehend. My 8 year old said she'd fix our backyard and add a pool and another floor on the house. Then her face lit up, "I'd buy soooo many toyyyyyyys." That's an 8 year old and that's really honest. She went on to say she'd buy toothbrushes, hats, and mittens for many homeless and less fortunate folks who need them. Our 10 year old launched right in saying she'd donate money to research, give money to people who don't have it, save some for college, and more for the family. I was pretty proud of both girls and what they said they'd do with the money.
I know it's a long shot. I know I'm probably NEVER winning the jackpot. I'm still planning to show up at work Thursday. I'm still doing the shell game to make sure all the bills are covered this month. But I guess that's the moral of the whole story. It's OK to dream. It's OK to dream BIG once in a while. Why not! Right now, any one of us could be a future billionaire. And you know what? I wouldn't need to buy Kraft dinner anymore if I won, but I would. What would YOU do with a billion dollars?