Brett Rants


What's a lottery winner to do?

The lottery rose to well over a billion dollars (cash, American, after taxes and all) the other day. And such a prize level begs the question: What would a person do if they won?

Thus, if I won the lottery, I would:

Become Comfortable and Complacent: coding computers even less than I do now, but still maybe writing. One never knows.

Costumes Complete: I like the idea of having a wardrobe (and interior design layouts) conducive to make-believe. So, like putting together a cowboy outfit (chaps, six-shooter, the works), a rock and roller outfit (shredded leather shirt, shredded guitar, you know, the works), doing each outfit right; and then, moving on to the next!

Dungeons & Dragons Bookshelf: a collection of all the old D&D modules, Traveller books (an early Space Faring RPG), and all the other role playing games of my youth.

DAW SF: this really goes together with the last. My favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy publishing imprint (back in the days when I read such things) was DAW SF and I could see collecting every last one of those yellow bordered suckers, because... well, why not?

Oh, and yes. For the most, these are listed in the order I bothered to write them down. The lottery jackpot grew to ginormous proportions, I bought tickets, started dreaming about the win, and decided to work on this project, as a way to capture the moment.

So, what would I do if I won the lottery?

Work on bigger and better projects just like this one; but, also:

Multiple Computers: I like the idea of specialized computers... one for this and one for that. And I do believe I might just get carried away with this if I won the lottery. I can easily see the need for three separate computers straight off.
  1. The Main One, this one, the one I do my writing on.
  2. The Surfing Computer, the one that connects to the internet and is therefore 'dirty'; as in, liable to be contaminated.
  3. And a Gaming Rig to be used for Civilization IV or whatever my current obsession turns out to be.
But from there, there's the Media Center (a dedicated DVD playing computer), an Experimental Set-Up (don't care if it crashes, as that's sort of the point), and who knows what else? Maybe one for the kitchen and get my IOT (Internet of Things, don't you know) on.

Full Liquor Bar: complete with backlit-neon illuminated bottles and stocked with... wine, cider, cordials, liquors, and all the standards. Oddly, I don't even drink on the average day... perhaps, the average week. But a well stocked bar is part of the dream. Come to think of it, I'd have to trick that bar out with premium sodas, as well, which I drink even less frequently than the hard stuff.

Subscribe to Magazines: I used to be a big subscriber to magazines. I can easily see getting ten (or twenty or thirty or forty) subscriptions. See, with money having no meaning (and this is literally what I assume when thinking about the big win), it does not matter that the enjoyment lasts but a few minutes. And then, I suppose a fireplace in the country (an estate, if you please), in which to burn the old magazines in the winter.

Penthouse: in the city.

Country Manor: not too many hours drive away, say three (drive, break, shop, eat, drive, and arrive). So, a comfortable morning or afternoon of travel from the Penthouse to the Estate. I want enough land so I can construct an outdoor shooting range. Basically, I want to own the Summer Camp of my youth. I wonder if it is for sale?

Washer Dryer: it is the little things in life. I mean, I have indoor/outdoor plumbing (and three square meals a day). But if I did not, you can bet those things would top the list. As it is, an in unit Washer Dryer sounds very luxurious.

5.11 Tactical: Stryker Pants: you can keep your idiotic Gucci Slippers. Give me functional clothing. And the Stryker Pants by 5.11 Tactical are awesome! I currently tend to wear the same pair of these pants (day in and day out) to exhaustion. They just give out after a year or so from the abrasion of walking. But wearing clothing until it fails is not what a billionaire would do... or at least, not this billionaire. Give me a pair or two of those 5.11 Tactical Pants (ask for them by name) in every color. Now, if I could only find a shirt as perfectly awesome... and if I did, I wonder how much I would be willing to pay for it?

Hey, that reminds me. I've been intending to remove the labels from my new winter jacket. I might as well do that now. So, I'll be back in a bit.

It's an American brand licensed by an Irish company as manufactured in China: I have no doubt the branding contributed to my purchase of the coat. But having made the purchase, I no longer have any need for the logo. Besides, removing them makes me feel all Black Ops.

I actually like the jacket so much, I might write a praise blog about it in the future. But that will have to wait, as it's back to spending money I don't have in a time-stream I do not inhabit in which I win the Big One.

What's a money-grubbing cheapskate to do?

Share: I used to know how I would share my winnings. A win in the billions would have necessitated distributions in the tens (if not hundreds) of millions to others. But I don't know any more. I really don't. Maybe I would give more to charity. But which ones? And charities are not really any more deserving... than any other waste of money. Suffice to say, a few people would hit it rich with me. But year by year, the number that includes shrinks ever further.

Eye Glasses: I'd buy new glasses and more of them. Kind of like shoes, although I'm sure I'd wear the same pair day in and day out, I'd have dozens (in each house no less, the penthouse and the manor) waiting in reserve.

Doctors: I think I would consume more medical attention. Though in truth, seeing a doctor is no way to spend one's time.

Gambling: gambling is a big part of my life. I like the lottery. I play the lottery. It reduces stress. It's a crutch. And if I win, I imagine I will put even more on the line. But having won a billion, how much more would a few hundred million matter? Would I lose interest? I don't think there is anyway to know in advance. And although I've enjoyed Playing the Ponies this last year, would I enjoy that pastime in the future if the winnings were unimportant. After all, it is the hope of more money that makes gambling compelling. Still, I imagine having won once, I'd drop a thousand on the next Billion Dollar Draw just to see if lightning would strike twice. Think about the bragging rights, no matter if the second win cost half of what I'd won the first time around.

Art Supplies: I'd buy a better camera... or two or three. And oil painting has always seemed too expensive. Well, if that's the only obstacle, I can't see it being an obstacle any longer... not after winning the Big One.

Personal Assistants: I have no experience in this. I do not know what it means. But I doubt I would ever scrub a toilet or wash a dish ever again. More to the point, I have visions, dreams, and aspirations. Like, that set of Dungeons and Dragons modules or collection of DAW SF books I mentioned previously, it seems a bit of a drag (after a bit) to actually collect them, to go into antique stores and look for them, when I could just pay someone else to find them, dust them, catalogue them, and organize them for me. But even further than that, it's the vocalizing of some idea, snapping one's fingers, and watching as others Make Manifest In Reality what one has envisioned. It would be a trip.
'No! No! No!'

'How hard is it for me to describe a dream, a literal passing of fancy, and for you to read my mind and get it right the first time?'

'Peons! Have you no vision?'
On the other hand, I share my life with so few; do I really wish to invite a work crew into the Inner Sanctum?

Premium Health Care Products: not because they are better, but because I can.

Chocolate to Die For: so, really, just image that whole liquor bar thing, but done up for something I actually care about: namely, chocolate.

Travel: but truthfully, I'm not sure where, when, why, or how. Long car trips? Overnight stays in hotels on long weekend getaways? Month long stays in European Capitols? Sure! Yes! All of the above! But more and more overnight flights? No, thank you. Of course, if I am going to sleep in New York and waking up in Paris, sleeping soundly in a comfortable bed in-between, well, that's a few tens of grands well spent.

More Better: cheese, deli meats, olives, and so on.

Extravagant Meals Out: to say the least.

At a billion, the budget is something like $50,000/day for the next fifty years, as I have no need to die with money in the bank. And let's just say, there is nothing about my life up until now that prepares me to spend that type of money or even realistically contemplate its expenditure.

Yes, I know. This entire exercise is one of folly and phantom assumptions.

So, yes. Slowly but surely, I will endeavour to consume the best of everything.

But what is everything?

Tickets: concerts, night clubs, shows, opera, theater, and stage productions... first class, VIP, all the way.

More Movies: and by this I mean in theaters... and not caring if I walk out after a few minutes.

The Event of the Season: this means the Super Bowl, the Indy 500, Mardi Gras, the solar eclipse at ground zero, and the northern lights. Yeah, without a doubt, I'd do Disney Land, wearing mouse ears the entire time. Eh, actually, mouse ears seems sort of lame, but you get the idea: I can be Captain Hook and you can be that Sissy Boy Peter Pan... um, obviously I'm going to have to work on the details. On the plus side, I have a feeling the folks at Disney Land (or is it Disney World, so why not both and get a feel for the differences between the two) make that whole working out the details thing incredibly easy. Hey, remember way back at the beginning when I talked about putting together a cowboy outfit? I think maybe they sell one.

Scuba Diving: and none of this snorkelling crap, thank you very much.

Sharing - Take Two: back in the day, I imagined hiring family and friends as chauffeurs and what not. But times change. Feelings change. Maybe they will change again...

The Sporting Life for Me: due to cost, I've never hit a baseball in a batting cage. It sounds like easy exercise. As does, hitting balls at the golf range and shooting skeet. Oddly, skiing holds little to no appeal. Though, I can see low-speed bob-sledding on the baby slope.

Full Kitchen: even more so.

Full Bath: I'm not even sure what this means, so call it a spa, complete with swimming pool, whirlpool, soaking tubs, showers, cool waters flowing through fake rock streams, and more moss than I would ever care to tend for. So, it would seem, I am looking to hire a Traditional Japanese Gardener.
'Your kind works for rice, right?'

'Eh, what am I saying? I'll pay you in Sony TV's.'
Ironic New Goals: make those Beverly Hills chumps look like Hillbillies.

Netflix Unlimited: but the truth is, I'd likely just buy DVD's, anything else being a hassle and not worth it. I'd watch them all in a Media Room. If I have my act together, it will be of my own design and creation. But once again, I'd likely just spend the money and not the time.

Pool Table: and a ping pong table. And maybe (and this is just a maybe), I'd get a stack of video game systems with thousands of cartridges... or merely a vintage arcade game or two. But then, I think about the need for repairs and I loose my enthusiasm. You see, I don't have that mindset of other people solving my problems for me... not yet. After all, one of the Pool Boy's jobs could be to play all the games and make sure they were in good repair. And if not, call the repair guy.
'I don't know. It looks dusty. He doesn't like things dusty.'
House Cleaner: and other professional and semi-professional services. With all the collections I've mentioned, Private Shoppers make sense. And being a cheapskate, I avoid paying professionals for anything. But at fifty grand a day, your thousand of dollars an hour is, um, almost at parity.

Generous Tipper: I question the social ramification of random excess kindness: a statement which must make little sense. So, let's just say, at times my heart goes out to my fellow man, especially if that man is making minimum wage working some crap job, at which I, myself, have had some personal experience. Yeah, I can see pressing a thousand bucks into his palm. And I can see the problems this would cause.
'Great! Now we can't eat there anymore.'
Besides, carrying around a thousand bucks in cash could be a hassle.

Do the Math: I see no need to die with money. I'm not starting a Dynasty. In fact, I am philosophically opposed to both Dynasties and Foundations, as they reduce to slavery (forcing one to work to fulfil the will of another, made all the more perverse as the said other in question is typically long since dead). Still, it's hard to hit the target dead on. And I'm sure I'd save a few, token, tens of millions for the final descent.

Rain Gear: so here we are back at clothing. I want more functional (and specific) inclement weather gear. I can literally see having a walk-in closet (or two) full of nothing but clothes and accessories... and a garage for sporting equipment. I use free weights for exercise, currently. But often enough, I view them as place-holders... something I do for lack of anything better... a cost savings alternative.

Air Filters: in every room. Someone else can change them out on a monthly basis.

Definitely, I would have to learn how to manage other people. That would be hard. But more stuff means more drudgery, which is hardly the point. So, I'd be hiring others to handle the drudgery.

The Northern Lights: I think this is a repeat (actually, I know this is a repeat). The idea is Experiential Travel (as opposed to Destinational Travel). Standing on a Mountain Top, enjoying the Desert Night, or bathing in a cool (bordering on cold) Mountain Stream: I have experienced these things and wish to experience them again... and then return to an incredibly overpriced Luxury Lodge, enjoy a decadent meal, settle in for an evening of depraved love-making, and wake to a travelling computer set-up from which I can blog my adventures to the world. Because, in the end, I also want to do what I like doing, now: thinking, reading, and writing.

Ghost Writer: I cannot see not hiring someone else to do the editing. But then, that is a difficult thing to accomplish: the interaction is tricky and much harder to pull off than it at first seems, as I want any Ghost Writer to write both for me and as me... and not as or for themselves. In fact, it's exactly the type of thing I am unwilling to do for another... for anything less than sickly sums of... um, savoury surplus surety... you know, gobs and gobs of moola... i.e. cash.

Interior Design: at one time (much like the costume idea), I liked the idea of decorating a house with theme rooms: a room with bunk beds outfitted for an imaginary set of twins (clothes, games, and accessories included), a machine gun's nest like something from out of WWI (or should that be WWII) guarding the front door, and a graffiti filled bus stop complete with cast iron bench at the bottom of the stairs. This is probably a post all on it's own... or if I really get my act together, I could make a CAD designed Mini-Mansion... whatever that might mean.

Of course, in the end, one doesn't know what they would do. One cannot know. Suddenly acquiring that much money would change who a person was... and the nature of the change is unpredictable.

Many folks loose heart. It seems counter intuitive. But think about how much of your time is spent chasing money. Well, take the need for that chase away by winning lots of money and suddenly there is a hole, which money doesn't always fill... especially since there are many things that money cannot buy... like good health, a better body, or being smarter, funnier, or wiser than you already are. I mean, money will afford (a wonderful word) one the opportunity to go the library or the gym, but one still has to go to the library or the gym and put in the work... and if your body, heart, mind, or soul is not as you would have it, it's (more than likely) because to date you have been unwilling to put in the work.

Which is to say, since I do not know what would (actually) happen in this imaginary world, I might start handing twenty dollar bills to every bum that I met... or frequenting strip clubs... or chasing my coke with heroin.

Because, as they say, something is going to give, something is going to change in a major sort of way... and I don't think all of the changes are predictable.

Sure, more money will go out the door.

But what else will come in the door... un-welcome... or un-awares?

Custom Made: there is a certain allure to custom furniture, custom clothes, custom cars, and custom homes... but do I want to deal with it? I mean, I don't know? Being able to do absolutely whatever I wanted to do, would I want to sit down with a Master Craftsman and work out the design... of anything?

I do not know.

But probably, if I thought about it, I would simply spend the money to buy it (whatever it is), just like that set of Dungeon & Dragon dice I purchased a week ago, still sitting un-opened in the original packaging next to my chair, where in a moment, I will sit down and read a book: a hobby, I like... and which is amazingly cost effective... and unlikely to change too terribly much no matter how much money I have at my disposal.

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