Years ago I was acquainted with a guy (purposely vague) who was a recovering alcoholic. He was nice, but extremely intense. It was easy to see how he could take almost anything too far. He was one of those people who gets out of bed every morning, and just swings for the fences. Ya know? If he’d been able to harnass it in a positive way, he’d be a trillionaire by now.
But he’s not a trillionaire, he’s dead. He got deeply into buying lottery tickets, to the point (in my mind) of absolute insanity. I rarely play the lottery in any capacity, and when I do… it’s $2 or $3, or something like that. This guy was laying down a large percentage of his weekly pay on it. Crazy!
And then he won $100,000. He acted like it was no big deal, and said he might buy some new living room furniture. But he claimed most of it would be going into the bank. “It’s just money,” he said, with a shrug.
Yeah, he came completely off the rails. I don’t know everything about it, but do know he started drinking again, and took his gambling up another notch. He was fired from his job, and was just spiraling down, down, down. In short order, maybe two months after the windfall, he was found dead in his apartment.
Whenever I tell this story, people generally say, “Over a measly hundred grand?” Which is true. It’s a lot of money, but it’s not enough to be able to quit working, or anything of the sort. It could improve your quality of life, if you don’t spend it on a heart-stopping amount of booze or whatever. But it’s not like you’d become Richard Branson all of a sudden.
Here’s how I’d spend my hypothetical $100,000 jackpot:
Pay off all household debt, except for the mortgage.
Do some minor home improvements and repairs.
Go back to England for a week or ten days. Drink beer in pubs, sight-see, and have fun.
If there’s anything left, put ‘er in the bank and get back to the real world.
And that’s almost exactly what would happen. I don’t have that wild-eyed swingin’ for the fences thing inside me. For better or worse. It would be fairly boring and sensible here at Chez Kay. I’m almost certain it wouldn’t lead to my death.
Of course the guy I knew claimed he was just going to buy a couch and a chair, and bank the rest. So, who knows? Wonder if he believed that, or it was just something he offered up for public consumption? I have a feeling he wanted it to be true, but knew deep down it wasn’t. The man ran wide-open.
Yes, the current version of Jeff Kay would be sensible. But, if I’d won a hundred grand when I was 21 or 22, it would’ve likely led to big trouble. Like prison, perhaps. Or a desperate quest for a Larry Hagman snap-on liver, via the Asian underground. Or something similar.
What about you? How would you spend your hypothetical $100,000? How would the current version of you differ from the 21 year old version? Any difference? I know people who were pretty much fully-formed adults by that age. I wasn’t one of them. Sweet sainted mother of Bake McBride! Is there any chance they’d find you dead within two months, as a direct result of receiving said funds? Please tell us about it in the comments.
And I’m going to call it a day, my friends. Yesterday was my birthday, and I’m now so old I’m starting to panic. I think I’m eligible for a senior discount at Wendy’s at this point. And that’s… troubling. I’ll probably be drinking coffee with dinner soon, and buying shirts with a wide elastic band at the bottom. Shit! Will somebody please hold me?
A heads up for everyone, before I hit publish: our old friend Jason Headley wrote and directed a feature film called A Bad Idea Gone Wrong. It won some film festival awards, and is highly rated at Rotten Tomatoes. It co-stars the actor who played Badger in Breaking Bad. Check out the trailer. The film is receiving a limited theatrical release this weekend. But it’s also available today through Video On Demand from your cable company, and from iTunes, etc. I’m planning to watch it tonight. Jason is a super funny guy, and a fellow West Virginian. Perhaps you’ve seen some of his other work, like this little slice o’ genius? Check out the movie, if you’re so inclined. I’m sincerely looking forward to it.
And, it’s December 1. Christmas shopping is heating up… Somewhere, probably. Please remember to pass through our Amazon links before you engage in holiday commerce this year. Just click through and shop like normal. It’ll cost you nothing extra, and I’ll receive a small percentage of whatever you spend. It’s an easy and painless way to support the Surf Report. Thank you guys!
Now, let’s hear how you’d spend your $100,000 scratch-off money. Use the comments section, so thoughtfully provided by our WordPress overlords.
I’ll see you guys again on Monday.
Have a great weekend!