I must admit that a billion-dollar lottery got my attention. We’re not talking about vacation money with first-class passage and conversations about how a million isn’t what it used to be. We’re talking filthy, stinking, unimaginably rich.
It refreshes the question I’ve always loved asking myself of what I would do with that money. Like, after I blow that first couple million that I’ve already allocated from countless imaginary lotteries where I was the sole winner. What, now, would the next 495 million after-tax dollars do for me?
The first thing that comes to mind is that this kind of money would buy me a deep sense of security.
Yet, the more I think about it, the more I doubt how much my own hook and ladder, backup heating system, or on-site, personal emergency room physician could really ease my lifelong propensity for constant panic.
With mega buckaroonies, I could hire a therapist to help me work on my perpetual panic. But I already see two therapists and I don’t know that another would really make that much of a difference.
I would at least have enough financial security to not have to work. The only problem there is that I like working.
I suppose I could do some shopping in stores I don’t typically frequent.
I do like buying stuff. But I’m already self-conscious about how much of it I have. After a couple additional guitars and a half dozen effects pedals from that first couple mil, I have no idea what else I’d purchase. To spend this kind of money, I’d need to get serious about mansions and ships. But I don’t want to spend the time and attention required to manage the maintenance staffs.
Of course, I could go a little wild and build a cool music barn and have jams like Levon Helm. But money, sadly, isn’t going to make me play any better.
Sure, I could hire a music teacher. But with millions of how-to videos already online, is there something a teacher can tell me that would magically take the place of good ‘ol fashion study and practice?
I could certainly help a lot of people and that would be sweet and moving, but also a full-time job full of difficult choices. I really just want to draw my comics and be in pretty places with amazing bakeries. I wouldn’t want the big win to make that any more selfish a pursuit than it already is.
Being preposterously rich almost seems like a problem. As my dad likes to say, “rich or poor, it’s nice to have money.” But a billion? Looking at the stories of past winners, even millions stand a good chance of making life worse. Money causes its own problems, changes relationships, and creates distances.
With a billion, I’d never know if my friends are real or just playing me. My only alternative would be to start hanging with other filthy, stinking rich types which doesn’t sound fun at all.
In the end, the surprising answer to the question of what I’d do with a billion is that I think I was a whole lot happier winning the mind lottery when it was just a few million.