2012.06.06 The million $$ question

Written by David Green.

Life was so easy when there were kids running around the house. At least one facet of life was easier: It wasn’t so hard to think up something to write for a column every week.

In 1992 I was writing about becoming a millionaire. Now, 20 years later, I don’t suppose that means so much. It’s a billion dollars that people want, not a measly million. Think how fast a million would disappear.

I spent all day Saturday with state track meet business and I’ve been catching up ever since, so here’s something from June 3, 1992. I should have attended the track meet that year. Angie Sneider won two firsts, a second and a third and Morenci took second in the state as a team, even though it was only Angie competing for us.

That was back in the old days when I didn’t yet know enough to attend the state meet. I had kids to play with.

By DAVID GREEN

“What is a millionaire, Zippy?”

I saw that line in a strange cartoon called Zippy. The person asking the question wondered if millionaires use better toothpaste and better toilet tissue.

When he was asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, Zippy said he would buy a large wing-back chair and a bubble gum cigar. Zip is a peculiar character. When he thought about it a little more, he added these wishes: “I’d also wear my underwear on the outside…and change them every half hour.”

Now there’s the sign of a wealthy guy. Few can afford to do that.

I asked my kids what they would do if they had all the money they wanted, and their answers surprised me.

Ben, 9, started off with a new bike and speedometer, then he advanced on to a television and VCR. Then he came back down a little: “A lot more models and paint and glue. A new alarm clock. A watch that works, that’s waterproof.”

I was expecting to hear things such as a mini-van and his own McDonald’s franchise.

Rosie, 6, thought she might get a new house, but not until she was old enough. For now, she’d settle on flowers and food plants and fruit. It sounds as though she’s been harangued by her parents. It sounds as though we have yet to plant our garden, and that’s mostly true.

Next was Maddy’s turn. What would the three-year-old do with all the money she wanted?

“Eat it all,” she answered. Now that sounds like something Zippy might come up with. The problem is that she thought I said “honey” instead of “money.”

Once I got her straightened out about that, she said she would buy a hundred things. 

“A refrigerator, if I had my own house. A pretend dog. I mean a real one. And, uh, bananas. Bread. Honey on peanut butter. A water bottle. And a door.” And then looking around the room, “That’s all I have. I’m done.”

Zippy got me to thinking about what a million would mean to me. Just get rid of my mortgages and I’d feel rich. Or how about this—paid health insurance with no deductible. I’d be able to retire when I was 50!

If I suddenly had a huge quantity of money, it seems as though I’d get everything paid off that isn’t still owned in partnership with the bank. One choice would be to leave this job behind and live off my money, but it seems instead I would just buy some new equipment for the Observer rather than leave the place. Have a little more fun with modern technology, just to see what I could do with it. Hire another person or two, work fairly normal hours instead of staring at this computer monitor until 3 a.m. That sounds rich.

My wife brought me out of the reverie by saying what a drag it would be to have a million. Huh?

You’d just think about everything you want to buy, she says, and you would want more and more. She thinks it would be a good way to wreck your life.

She’s probably right, and besides, it’s not going to happen anyway. I might as well join Zippy and start buying more underwear.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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