Forbes Magazine just
published their latest list of the richest people in the country and a few
surprises caught my eye. First I was surprised that my name did not appear
and second I did not see any one I knew on the list. Since everyone in the
world is supposed to be separated by only six degrees I can only assume that
I am way out of the norm or some of my friends are keeping things from me.
There are three hundred and thirteen of these super rich guys out there and
it seems like there ought to be one that I could put the tap on for a few
Don’t get me wrong. I had a pretty good idea that my name would not appear
on that list. For one thing, billionaires do not get late notices in their
mail box around the tenth of the month. And I am sure at least one credit
card company sends them a “come join us proposal” every once in a while. Or
It might take you back a bit to know that while I don’t know any
billionaires I have known some genuine millionaires in my time. One fellow I
know was a millionaire several times. He would make a bad investment and go
broke, then start all over and make another million. They say that Donald
Trump is like that. I myself never had the moxie it takes to be a
millionaire. I want things to go as smooth as possible without anyone
getting mad or going broke while doing business with me.
People who make a lot of money tend to be people who are willing to step out
and take the chance on winning or losing their whole fortune on one roll of
the dice. Some make it by breaking a lot of other people while making a lot
for themselves. I could never do that, because I enjoy sleeping. To do a lot
of the things people do to make money takes a fellow who can have a restful
night even after rolling several people into the poor house.
But, enough of the lighter side of being a billionaire. Lets say you have
made your billions. In the case of Bill Gates forty eight billion. By the
time I get this piece to the prospective publishers, he will probably have
made a couple more. What in the world do you do with forty eight billion
dollars? If he has that much, and he has paid uncle Sam his share, how much
did he make before taxes? I tell you it staggers the mind. If I had that
money I could stop going by the sales lot down at the entrance of the
Interstate looking at pre-manufactured homes. It would be a set back in the
relationship of my family not to get to come around and help take the wheels
off, but that's life when you are a billionaire. In fact I would probably
try to find a place where it would be very difficult for my relatives to
come around at all.
I think I could stop thinking of a corner lot in the subdivision and start
thinking about “a compound”. Build it on about thirty acres and nestled back
in the trees where no one even with a helicopter could get a good look at
what is going on around the pool. There would be security of course, with
cameras and attack dogs. The stretch limo would have darkened windows so no
one could see who is in the car. The driver would have one of those black
suits complete with hat. I could bar-b-que every day if I wanted. After all
I would be able to afford my own chef. He would do all the shopping and for
once in my life it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t buy the house brand. House
guest to read like a who’s who in the business world. People wanting to
invest in my projects or wanting me to invest in one of theirs. That would
only happen if I was not off on some cruise or extended vacation. That would
be on my private yacht. I understand you can get one built the way you want
it for somewhere around five hundred million. You have to have your own
yacht, because even if you book the largest suite on the cruise ship, you
cannot go out on deck. You have to take all your meals in your room and the
only time you see the sun is when you sneak out on your private balcony.
Now for the bad news. If you are a billionaire, you can no longer go down to
the McDonalds for coffee and a sausage biscuit in the morning. For some
reason they frown on extra long cars blocking the parking lot for twenty
five or thirty minutes.
Since everyone knows who you are, you have to rent the bowling alley after
it closes and only you and your closest friends get to join in. If you tried
to go during regular hours you would disrupt the whole place and surely some
one is going to try to put the bite on you for some of that dough.
You cannot grant interviews because anything you say and I mean everything
you say will be taken as gospel and a lot of people will lose money because
they didn’t hear you or the interviewer mis-quoted you or took it out of
context just to make their story look better. Then the press will say you
did what you did on purpose and they will make you an enemy of the people.
But that is what you are as soon as someone finds out you have all that
money and you did not share it with them.
As for me I am glad I am not a billionaire. However I do wish to let you
know that I have a ticket for tonight’s drawing for lotto. It is worth five
million and if I win it I will do my best not to change from who I am. I
really won’t you know. By the time I have paid off all my bills, both past
due and current, then pay uncle Sam his due, I should just about break even.
Tomorrow I will still be able to drop by McDonalds for a sausage biscuit and
the teenager at the window will still be acting like this is the last place
on earth they want to be.