I, Noah Regan, am a lot of things: writer, poet, artist, holocaust denier. But one thing that I’m not is a millionaire. I know! Right? How am I not making bank on a website that receives a dozen hits a week? Well, nonetheless, I have never been all about the Hamiltons, and I don’t believe I ever will be. I just simply don’t want to be poor. Being poor looks like it really sucks.
A couple weeks ago I was standing behind this kid in his early twenties at a gas station. His appearance was unassuming: short-sheared hair, a pair of loose-fitting jeans and a t-shirt. I walked up behind him in line with my cheap beer in hand, anxious to get in and out. But when I looked just past the kid I saw that this wasn’t going to be a brief visit to the friendly convenience store, for in front of this ordinary kid was a single roll of Scott toilet tissue, a crumpled one dollar bill, two nickels, and what appeared to be forty pennies. I was embarrassed for the kid. I immediately shifted my judgmental gaze to the various cigarette lighters that featured playing cards and skulls. I snuck glances during the excruciatingly long exchange to see the poor cashier making multiple towers of pennies as the kid impatiently stood with one hand draped on the toilet tissue—either to protect it, or conceal it. I still don’t know which. Then, once he got the head-nod and thank you from the cashier, the kid went for the exit with his head held low in shame.
I don’t ever want to be in that kid’s position, buying toilet paper with couch change in front of complete strangers who may blog about it at a future date. Plus, you know he rushed home to use it! You don’t walk to a gas station after sunset to pick up a roll of toilet paper with your last scrapings of cash you have to your name simply to skip back home and display it on your davenport. No, time was of the essence, and for him, dignity had to take a back seat while his immediate needs were met. God forbid I gave him a good old fashioned rib tickle or backwards bear hug while I stood behind him in line.
I don’t want to be that kid. Though, I don’t see myself ever being in those dire of straits. For one, I’m of the sort that thinks longer term. I’m not the kind of guy who lives life a quarter mile at a time (or single roll of toilet paper at a time for that matter). And two, I’m a newspaper subscriber, so I always have an emergency plan B.
I’m assuming that I will always be somewhere in the middle in regards to monetary worth. Though, in light of all of this Powerball hysteria, I began to think about what I would do with a half a billion dollars. Sure, it’s easy to buy the stereotypical mansion, yacht, Bentley, 22-year-old Applebee’s hostess, but I want more than that. Like say for instance, what is the price of human dignity?
A few years ago, I received a solicitous call from an off duty police officer who was raising money for cystic fibrosis, or something. The kindly officer explained to me the various pledge levels. He said that any donation is accepted, but people usually start with a ten dollar pledge. But, for twenty-five dollars he’d yell “yahoo” at the top of my lungs. For a fifty dollar pledge he said that he’d get the other officers at the call center to give a round of applause. And lastly, the piece de resistance, for one-hundred dollars he said that he would do a somersault right now while I listened over the phone. He repeated “I’ll do it! I’ll seriously get out of my chair and do a somersault right now!” It seemed weird to me.
After I pledged the paltry amount that got me a genuine thank you and a badge sticker to display in the rear window of my car, I began to wonder how far I could have taken this all too eager officer if I had mounds and mounds of cash. What if I said, “I’ll give you ten thousand dollars to punch yourself in the face. No holding back either. I want to hear your nose break. What’s that? You’re not into physical pain? Well then, let’s go for emotional. I’ll stay on the line and listen in while you call your mother and tell her that you’ve always found her sexually attractive.”
I realize that the odds of me winning the Powerball half billion were pretty slim, particularly because I didn’t purchase a ticket. My money manager at Goldman Sachs informed me that my chances of winning would have increased exponentially by buying a ticket versus not. But, all that aside I know that if I would have won I would have morphed into Kevin Spacey in Seven.
Here are some of the things I would do with a half a billion dollars.
I would buy all of the wigs from Locks of Love and then casually stroll the halls of St. Jude Children’s Hospital wearing my wigs while coaxing compliments from the young patients.
I would pay Playboy’s 2007 Playmate of the Year, Sara Jean Underwood, 100 million dollars to have lesbian sex with 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl, Kate Upton, in a secure room with no windows where no one can see them engage in the sensual, soft act that is lesbian coitus. No one! It will happen and no one will be able to witness it, especially me! For 100 million dollars I will trust that they did it, but no one, except Sara and Kate, will know for sure. And part of the agreement is that they can never speak a word about what happened in that room!
After that Schrodiner’s cat display of power, I’d then pay Louie Anderson to have gay sex with Dennis Franz. Only this won’t be behind closed doors, rather it’ll be broadcasted on all four major television networks live from Madison Square Garden.
I’d pull Gary Larson out of retirement for an eccentric reinvention of Family Circus.
I don’t wish to go into gory detail, but Madonna…she wouldn’t exist any longer.
I’d have Bruce Springsteen demoted to Regional Manager.
I’d hire the guy who played Buffalo Bill to be my wingman at a bar.
And lastly, with my remaining amount of money I’d hire Rod Stewart to do a shot-for-shot remake of his video Forever Young, only this time I’ll be playing the role of the curly-haired ginger kid.