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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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