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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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