12.14.2010

we like lists: list #4: you've just won the lottery. now what?

We did ordinary joys, and ordinary irritations. Now we move to the stuff of fantasy.

You hit lotto. It's a huge jackpot, enough to afford anything money can buy for the rest of your life. What do you do? Top 10.

1. Travel. Go everywhere. Travel for three or four months a year.

2. Fully fund the War Resisters Support Campaign so we never have to fundraise again. (If this no longer applies, fully fund other grassroots military-resistance/peace organizations.)

3. Fully fund pit bull education, advocacy and rescue programs, like this one.

4. Create a foundation to support progressive grassroots activism. Hire great administrators to give the money away.

5. Give a ton of money to the National Network of Abortion Funds.

6. Adopt a whole bunch of dogs. This appears to clash with travel, but I'll figure it out.

7. Drop money on various friends and family who need a mortgage or school loans paid off.

8. Buy a small house on a lake, to live in quiet semi-solitude when not traveling. Nothing huge, just a comfortable, rustic-style house with a deck, a view and two fireplaces. Fill it with pottery, rugs and art from native peoples of the Americas.

9. Write. Set up a luxurious writing discipline to frame the rest of my life.

10. Travel.

And you?

33 comments:

Joe Gravellese said...

1. Pay off all of my debts, and the debts of my parents, my sister, and my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. This would likely take away most of my winnings. haha

2 & 3. Buy a kick-ass condo on Beacon Hill in Boston, preferably overlooking Boston Common and on a high enough floor to have a great view. Buy a second kick-ass condo in Manhattan to use when I want to visit; I can let friends and family stay there for free when they want to use it.

4. I'm not sure if something like this exists or not, but I've always wanted to create a "Boston homeless union" to organize the homeless and do political activism on their behalf. I'd provide all the start-up capital, fund a shelter and food bank that would serve as its home base, and hire some high-powered lobbyists.

5. Create a political action committee whose sole purpose is to kick conservative Democrats out of office and replace them with liberals. This will probably be a largely unsuccessful money pit, but if I have a lot of money to dick around with, this is what I want to do.

6. Donate a ton of money toward beautifying the historic beach area in my home town of Revere and encouraging its growth and development as a thriving neighborhood.

7. Buy four season tickets each to the Red Sox and Bruins. Buy my way to the front of the long waiting list for Sox tickets if need be.

8. Endow several full scholarships to Bmy alma mater for African-American and Hispanic graduates of Boston Public Schools from poor families.

9. Give a shit-ton of money to National Public Radio to the point where they name some sort of program after me.

10. Travel everywhere I can while maintaining a normal job schedule (I'd still want to work).

L-girl said...

Wow Joe, great list.

Buy a second kick-ass condo in Manhattan to use when I want to visit; I can let friends and family stay there for free when they want to use it.

I thought I'd just stay in a great hotel when I'm in NYC, but yours has the advantage of a crash pad for friends.

Creating my list, I noticed that the brownstone in the West Village I used to dream of has morphed into a house in the woods. Some indication of how I've changed with age.

Joe Gravellese said...

Haha.

I can definitely see my Boston condo becoming a small house on Lake Champlain in Vermont in about 25 years.

Amy said...

Off the top of my head:

1. Same as Joe's #1, adding to his list my children's debts, and setting up a fund for my grandchildren so their education will be paid for and for my parents so their elder care will be paid for. Also, setting up a fund so Harvey and I are never a burden on our children as we age.

2. RETIRE.

3. Buy a larger place on the Cape: one that will allow us to have our family stay with us as well as friends.

4. Buy a place in Boston and in NYC so we have a place to stay when we visit our children and otherwise want to spend time in those cities.

4. Season's tickets to the Red Sox.

5. Travel. Anywhere.

6. Go back to school.

7. Donate money to animal protection and rights organizations, especially no-kill shelters and animal hospitals which will provide free care for pet owners who cannot afford to pay.

8. Donate money to the ACLU and other progressive organizations that protect human rights here and abroad.

9. There are just too many causes to list that I would donate to: disease fighting organizations, foundations to support inner city schools and libraries, arts and cultural institutions, poverty fighting organizations, etc.

10. Volunteer in some of those same organizations, especially those involving children or animals.

L-girl said...

animal hospitals which will provide free care for pet owners who cannot afford to pay

Ah, that is wonderful.

L-girl said...

I just realized I didn't write "quit my day job". It's so obvious it's not even worth a mention.

I would not finish my degree and become a librarian.

Joe Gravellese said...

Come to think of it, now that school's being mentioned, I think I would go back to school and go for a master's in economics or something similarly quantitative (with enough money, I'd be able to buy my way in despite "meh" math grades in the past haha).

I wouldn't quit working because a) I'm not quite 23 yet and not working would get boring fast, and b) I work on the ground floor of making state/local policy, and it's a low-paying labor of love; if anything, not having any financial pressure would let me love this stuff even more, and further immerse myself in the job.

I'd definitely shoot for retiring at around age 50, though. There are a lot of ballparks, hockey rinks, national parks, international cities, and restaurants that I need to get to - not nearly enough to start at 67 or 69 or 74 or 82 or whatever the retirement age is going to be by the time I retire.

L-girl said...

not nearly enough to start at 67 or 69 or 74 or 82 or whatever the retirement age is going to be by the time I retire.

Right, that's the big difference. I have enough work experience for one lifetime.

Plus my work now is a job, not a career. I do it for pay, not for satisfaction. My real "work" - writing and activism - I would continue to do for no pay.

Andrea said...

Clear the debts

Quite work - sleep in for a week!!

Make sure all the RRSP’s are maxed and the RESP’s for the kids just in case I screw up and loose it all. Maybe lock some away somewhere for that same just in case. Lol

Set up some scholarship funds in my area for woman trying to upgrade their education after being on maternity leave so they can get back into the work place or start their own businesses.

Set up some grant / trust funds for the sports and activities groups in our area. I can see setting aside a certain amount and then the interest from that amount is given as multiple grants to youth groups around here each year. The cost of children’s sports and activities is getting crazy these days and I am a firm believer that a busy child (sport or arts) is a happier child who wont become our next gang member. Sigh.

Set up a trust fund for the park that I have been a volunteer for for the last umpteen million years.

Make sure I have small trust funds set aside for our two kids so they have a strong start after university – don’t want them to be stinking rich that they have no gumption to work but I do want to know that they can get a car and a house and have a strong start into the world.

Hubby wants to take off back to china for two years so he can go to chef school – will definitely tag along and travel while he and the kids are in school. Kids might actually learn to write Chinese then and not just speak it.

Then he wants to return to Canada and build his dream restaurant – hence the $ that I will have set aside for when we screw that up and suddenly have lost it all. There is nothing easy about the restaurant business.

Travel

Get a dog – want a whippet again big time!

Maybe just maybe buy a horse – but this time I pay for board – I have enough money now that I aint shoveling any sh*t. hehehe Been there – done that. Sigh.

If there is enough there and we planned it right – there are a lot of young cousins on both sides of our families whom we want to make sure have the right university education to get the right start in life.

Actually go to all the concerts, plays and fun events that I always want to attend but can never afford to buy tickets for.

and guaranteed when I get all that out of my system I will be volunteering for something non stop and putting in a ton of hours doing it.

johngoldfine said...

This is a tougher list to think about than the other ones. One doesn't want to come across as either a selfish greedhead or a selfless saint. Neither is quite right.

Also, one finds oneself immediately inhibited with factoring in real world limitations (age, health, skills, spouse's predilections). And almost equally inhibited by wanting to censor various unacceptable fantasies.

So, I think that instead of a list based on a sum beyond the dreams of avarice, I'll try to match the various limitations I've outlined with a smaller lottery payout. Winning 500 million is absurd; winning, say, what I might earn in the next 15 or 20 years less so.

So, what if I won a modest million dollars?

1. Should I retire? I can't fucking figure that out in the real world, and an extra million doesn't make the decision much easier. But I think with my new check from Lotto, yes, I would.

Bye-bye, school, no more snarling screeds from me about the new stupid crap management is doing! No more derisive diatribes in campus forums! No more pounding the table in contract negotiations!

2. I'd ask the neighbors if they'd care to sell the long deep woodlot we take horses and dogs on every day. We live in terror of house lots.

3. Ditto for the field across the road. We can never walk the dogs on that field (because the dogs are never ever ever to approach the road, much less know that it can be walked on), but I'd hate to have five trailers there with 20 cars and trucks, 8 or 10 barking dogs out on wire runs, etc etc.

4. Once we'd closed on the woodlot, I'd get the dozer and gravel people in to make some decent roads for horses. Maybe even the sort of tanbark gallop you see on the downs in England.

5. I'd want to contribute more to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education than I do; ditto the Pearl Buck Foundation; Heifer International, various dog breed rescue groups, and others.

6. My children should share in my good fortune--enough to make them happy, not enough to make them spoiled brats.

Maybe I'm done, maybe not, but I have to start supper....

johngoldfine said...

7. I want to build and rebuild stone walls in my retirement. I'm going to need a tractor with a big enough bucket to handle some of the big granite chunks and field boulders I want to use.

johngoldfine said...

8. I can't imagine any place I'd rather be less than Florida, on the one hand. But on the other, I'm getting too agoraphobic to really enjoy Fenway. I guess my retirement could stretch to handling a few weeks in March watching spring training....

9. If I'm travelling to places I'd really rather not be, I'd love to spend a week at a race meeting at Santa Anita, especially with a pass to some of the rear areas.

10. Traveling somewhere I'd like to go: a bespoke tour across mid-Wales with a guide, riding a nice gypsy vanner/hunter cross. A bit pricey but with those Lotto bucks, I should worry?

tornwordo said...

Travel. When not traveling, spend time giving hundred dollar bills to homeless or beggars. Become a snowbird with my pied a terre in some southern place.

I like your list.

triple said...

Travel, travel, travel. Photograph, photograph, photograph.

That part is easy, I'm doing it now. Sans lotto.

Fund children's tutoring programs, diabetes research, art/photography programs, NPR and PBS.

Maybe start a scholarship fund for those that want to be actual journalists (you know, that actually investigate) and not just famouse peepl on the teevee.

I guess I'd also have to give them a place to work since media companies wouldn't hire investigative journalists if their lives depended on it.

L-girl said...

Actually go to all the concerts, plays and fun events that I always want to attend but can never afford to buy tickets for.

and guaranteed when I get all that out of my system I will be volunteering for something non stop and putting in a ton of hours doing it.


Awesome, both.

L-girl said...

One doesn't want to come across as either a selfish greedhead or a selfless saint. Neither is quite right.

I think most of us - maybe all of us - are a mix of the two.

Also, one finds oneself immediately inhibited with factoring in real world limitations (age, health, skills, spouse's predilections). And almost equally inhibited by wanting to censor various unacceptable fantasies.

Maybe, just maybe, you're thinking too much?

L-girl said...

I love Tornwordo's stripped down list.

Travel, travel, travel. Photograph, photograph, photograph.

That part is easy, I'm doing it now. Sans lotto.


It's only easy if you have the means. I travel a small fraction of the time that I'd like to.

impudent strumpet said...

Nothing huge, just a comfortable, rustic-style house with a deck, a view and two fireplaces.

I'm super curious - why exactly two fireplaces? I'd have expected either "a fireplace" or "a bunch of fireplaces" or "a fireplace in every room." Which rooms are they in?

johngoldfine said...

Maybe, just maybe, you're thinking too much?

Well, if thinking is out the window, then it's wine, women, and song in ridiculous quantities (perhaps I'll rent the Eiffel Tower for this party) until the money runs out.

impudent strumpet said...

It's a huge jackpot, enough to afford anything money can buy for the rest of your life.

I'm going to take this literally, meaning for all intents and purposes infinite money, because it's more fun and interesting that way.

1. Get whoever's building the next condo in my neighbourhood to include a unit built to my exacting specifications. And get some kind of architecture/design/whatever field this is expert to determine what my exacting specifications are so I don't have to think about boring things like that.

2. Like everyone else, pay off my loved ones' debts and see that they're taken care of, but do it by stealth so they don't realize it's happening. The ATM gives them an extra twenty. They keep finding loonies in the couch cushions. Hey, there's money in this coat pocket! Bank offers them a special mortgage rate. Cable company tells them they qualify for a discount. It just gradually gets easier and easier to make ends meet and they hardly notice it's happening.

3. End all war by buying out everyone involved. Go to all the soldiers and weapons manufacturers and behind the scenes warmongerers and find out what it will take to make it worth their while to stop. Meanwhile, my top secret team of stealth saboteurs will neutralize all remaining weapons. People will think they have guns and bombs, but they just won't work.

4. Food, shelter, free medical care and free education for all! (My think tank of elite geniuses will figure out how to do this while fostering self-sufficiency, maintaining a strong global economy, and not causing governments to neglect their basic duty towards the welfare of their people.)

5. Create an foundation that gives grants/funding for any undertaking that makes environmentally-friendly behaviour more effortless than environmentally-unfriendly behaviour. (Again, my genius think tank will deal with integrating these innovations into the economy, creating incentives for governments to fulfill their duties in this area, etc.)

6. Same thing as #5, but for good labour conditions.

7. Hire someone whose full-time job is to make me look good (i.e. in terms of fashion and beauty, not PR. I don't need the PR, I already ended war.) They'll find or have made clothes that are perfect for me, identify the beauty products that work best on me, and put all the stuff in my closet and my dresser so it's right there when I need it without my having to shop or compare or try things on.

8. All the technology I want without thinking about the expense. Unlimited data plan on my phone, every TV channel in the world, gratuitously paying extra money to make my computer a pretty colour, etc.

9. Create an international fact-checking agency that works like the Star's Smell Test feature, but for absolutely everything uttered by any public figure or printed in the media. You know how some websites have a thing where you can click on any word and it will give you a dictionary definition? We'll do something similar (but as a browser plug-in so we don't need the websites' cooperation) where you click on any sentence and it fact-checks it for you. Maybe we could even make sentences that are factually incorrect change colour.

10. Oh, and stop working and never wake up to an alarm clock ever again in my life.

L-girl said...

Well, if thinking is out the window, then it's wine, women, and song in ridiculous quantities (perhaps I'll rent the Eiffel Tower for this party) until the money runs out.

Hey, think away if you like. But I did mean this as total fantasy, more along the lines of infinite money and whatever the hell you want.

See you in Paris!

L-girl said...

I'm super curious - why exactly two fireplaces? I'd have expected either "a fireplace" or "a bunch of fireplaces" or "a fireplace in every room." Which rooms are they in?

One in the living room and one in the bedroom. But I guess if we have guest bedrooms they can have fireplaces, too.

L-girl said...

OMG. Imp Strump friggin ENDED WAR.

I was thinking infinite money, but I only thought along the lines of what money can actually buy. It never occured to me that money could end war. Very nice touch.

Like everyone else, pay off my loved ones' debts and see that they're taken care of, but do it by stealth so they don't realize it's happening.

This is great, too. No guilt, no strings attached.

deang said...

Love almost all of ImpStrump's ideas (I'm not big on electronic technology, so that's my only reservation. I know that makes me kinda weird). As for mine, I have a hard time thinking infinite on this, am more inclined to maybe "overthink" it based on real limitations, but nonetheless:

1. Pay off debt.

2. Make sure I can pay my bills for the foreseeable future.

3. Invest in lawyers, psychologists, and whatever else is necessary to get some of my messy family problems sorted out, with justice for abused members the goal. This will involve the comeuppance of some wealthy and criminally abusive right-wing family members, and the sense of vengeance involved is very satisfying to think about. (I know that sounds ugly of me, but if you knew, it wouldn't.) Depending on how much money is involved, this might take all my winnings, as some of the culprits are quite well off.

4. Help some of my friends who are struggling.

5. Use the rest to address some of the following problem areas. Not sure exactly how:

- The lack of free education, free health care, and affordable housing in my country (the US)

- Torture

- The US military

- The US police

- The criminal US prison system

- White racism throughout the world

- Capitalism

- Environmental problems, particularly the enormous ocean garbage patches; the preponderance of tiny plastic bits in the ocean that now outnumber plankton in many areas; the blowing up of mountains (mountain-top removal); anything that cracks substrates beneath the earth's surface, whether fracking, nuclear weapons testing, or other; consumer-motivated mining and drilling; the enormous landfills and trash dumps that are sometimes as big as cities themselves and have mostly accumulated since the advent of the idea of disposability in the 1950s (so only like half a century to destroy and render lifeless huge areas of the earth's surface).

I think I should stop now.

Lorna said...

We regularly have this discussion in my office and we often buy a group ticket and fantasize! My list assumes the quit job, pay off family friends debts etc.

1. Personal chef/assistant. I might want to cook, sometimes, but I don't want to have to go to the grocery store.

2. Hire a driver for my parents. And this is really a gift for everyone in southern Ontario.

3. Whatever my brother needs to get his &&*(^%^&# together and get out of my parents basement.

4. Fund projects and initiatives to combat childhood obesity, promote activity and healthy eating.

5. Put together a team and travel to the best international adventure races.

6. Education funds for my favourite kids so that their parents wouldn't worry about it.

7. Travel, travel, travel.

8. Bikes, bikes, bikes.

9. Donate a tonne of money to projects for city bike commuting.

10. Lavish farewell party for leaving Atlanta. Lavish welcome back to Toronto party for moving back. And Lavish welcome back to Vancouver party for the part-time life I will have there.

L-girl said...

Hire a driver for my parents. And this is really a gift for everyone in southern Ontario.

:>)

redsock said...

1 - Custom-built house overlooking Pacific Ocean. (This looks nice.)

2 - Entertainment room with an obscenely large TV on which to watch baseball and movies; top shelf stereo equipment and a shit-ton of book shelves (filled with a corresponding shit-ton of books, music, movies).

3 - Be generous with family, friends, and strangers.

4 - Egypt/pyramids.

5 - Travel, including a mandatory trip to Paris each year.

6 - Be able to indulge every research curiosity.

7 - Do some drugs.

8 - Charity. Dog rescue-adoption. Maybe start a magazine with something similar to Dave Eggers's 826 Valencia.

9 - Have wmtc parties in cool locations; fly friends and family in; hire cool bands to play (e.g., Los Lobos, Jason & the Scorchers).

10 - Play in one home game for the Red Sox (throwing one pitch as a reliever?).

johngoldfine said...

10 - Play in one home game for the Red Sox (throwing one pitch as a reliever?).

Shit, Allan, you'd have the money--why not go whole hog, buy the frippin team, and throw two pitches? If you go that purchase route, maybe you could set aside a few nice seats for JOS fans, huh? I prefer right behind the visitors' dugout myself, but behind the hometeam's is also okay.

redsock said...

Lotto doesn't go that high to buy the Red Sox. ... Or end war!

Maybe I could get a batter, or an inning.

L-girl said...

I'm down with annual trips to Paris. We can go en route to anywhere else.

Wmtc parties in cool places sounds great, too.

I like how Egypt gets a separate item! We'll go without lotto, I promise.

L-girl said...

3. Invest in lawyers, psychologists, and whatever else is necessary to get some of my messy family problems sorted out, with justice for abused members the goal. This will involve the comeuppance of some wealthy and criminally abusive right-wing family members, and the sense of vengeance involved is very satisfying to think about. (I know that sounds ugly of me, but if you knew, it wouldn't.)

Sounds friggin awesome to me.

impudent strumpet said...

Idea for a future list, if you ever run out of your own ideas: what wouldn't you change if you have infinite money?

L-girl said...

I'm totally going to run out of my own ideas.