What I Did after Learning I was Jillionaire (Told in Second Person for No Good Reason)
I am working on a piece about money, and I wondered what would happen if I got a notice that my birth father had died and had left me a jillion dollars. I wondered what the first two or three hours of my life as a heavy roller would look like. (Side note: it came out in second person because 1 . I saw it like a movie and 2. I like it that way.)
1. Venmo your daughter a million dollars.
2. Venmo her dad two million dollars.
3. Regret ruining your daughter’s life by taking away her fire to provide for herself.
4. Worry that two million won’t get her dad a house in Los Gatos. Venmo another 500k. Worry that won’t be enough for a house with a pool. Venmo another 10 million.
5. Venmo your second husband a million, but before you press send, change it to 500k and then 300k. Take a deep breath knowing you finally paid him back. Send another 100k just to make sure. Wonder if he hates you any less now.
6. Give HBL 5 million. Remember his wife will get half. Decide to send him 5 million more if he strikes off on his own.
7. Send 1 million to Dad. Hope he doesn’t turn around and give it all to the Democratic Party. Feel guilty for hoping this. Silently say sorry to the Obama family.
7. Send 3 million to your youngest brother. Feel really good about this. Don’t give a shit what he does with the money. That kid deserves every penny. Remember you have limitless funds. Send him another 10 million.
8. Write to Dad and ask him to help you send up a trust fund for your other brother, giving him $2k a week. If he doesn’t kill himself with drugs after a year, you’ll give him a couple of mil, but you ask your dad not to say anything about this to your brother.
9. Give Carol and Dan a million dollars and replace the carpet in their house because they don’t really need the money, but they might appreciate the carpet.
10. Give Pam a million dollars.
11. Give Scooter a million dollars, then remember that you are acting like an insane person because she has plenty of money, and cut it back to 100k. Then remember all she has done for you and the travel she could do and that the resources are unlimited and jack it back up to a million.
13. Set Erin up with a publishing company.
14. Send little Lucy a million dollars. Wonder if this will make Anna like you and finally call you her sister. Think about how Donald can fuck himself for not claiming you as a sister. Send Mike two million even though he probably doesn’t need it, but you want to thank him for showing up. Change it to a million because, really, he doesn’t need it and it’ll probably just sit in the bank.
15. Go for a long walk. When you see homeless people, wish you had shoved money in your pockets. Think about how much you should give next time. Worry you will jack up the local drug trade.
16. Think about Kitty. Pull out your phone and send her a million dollars. Think about all she did for you. Change it to 10. Email her and tell her if she ever wants to sell her apartment, you’ll buy it.
17. Decide she’ll never sell her place. Plan to buy a place of your own in NYC when you get home. Think about what area. East Village? Decide to fly out there and walk around. Maybe tomorrow.
18. Call your daughter. Apologize for all the money and for taking away the need to work hard. Ask her if she wants to send it back. Ask her if she wants to go to NY the next day and buy places for the both of you. You’ll pay. Tell her the money for her new place won’t come out of her pot.
19. Wait for people to start calling and thanking you. Be really excited.
20. Send a million dollars to Willow Glen Yoga, Books Inc in Palo Alto, Bells Books in Palo Alto, the Strand in NYC. Send a million dollars to Cinearts in Palo Alto. Make it two. Running a theater is expensive. Send a million dollars to Hale Reservation. Think about buying a teaching position at NYU or Columbia. Or maybe Harvard. Or Stanford. Or Kenyon. Or UCLA. Being rich in L.A. could be wild. Realize you can finally live at the Chateau Marmont if you want. Feel sad. The dream isn’t the same when it is possible. Living alone at a place like that could just be depressing and weird.
21. Go to the gym and lift weights. Think about how you could buy the place as you do bicep curls. But you still wouldn’t have a perfect body. Wonder if you will get a face lift now. Think you should move to Martha’s Vineyard and live like a hippie before you start fucking yourself up. Decide on the walk home to look at properties on the island and buy one sight unseen before the money suddenly disappears.
22. Think about what you would like for breakfast. You could eat gold bars if you felt like it. Wonder if you will end up going to spas and doing detoxes all the time. Hope you won’t. Hope you’ll let your body stay just the way it is. Pretty much just the way it is. Except totally ripped from the weight lifting sessions you are now going to pay for three times a week. Decide to start right now. Go to the front desk and hire a trainer and ask him to change your life.
23. Think about all the people you haven’t sent money to yet. Start making a mental list. Feel like you are cutting ties between you and all these people. Life will never be the same, not normal. You are now the person who sends out million dollar gifts. It feels wonderful and you also feel like an ice cube. No one can touch you.
24. Think about the car you will buy. Think about the Miata. Think about painting it red, filling it with hundred dollar bills, covering it, and shipping it back to Rhonda. Make some calls, get the ball rolling.
25. Remember Adoptees On and Transfiguring Adoption and April. Send them all a million.
26. Check your bank balance to make sure you are still okay.
27. Wonder what you will have for dinner.
28. Send 5k to Uncle Roger. Another deep breath.
20. Drink water. Remember it is important to stay hydrated.
21. Send a million to Janie even though she has plenty of money. You just want her to know you are thinking about her, and that you love her.
22. Remember that Erin, the other Erin, set up this blog for you. Remember how floored you were by her kindness and generosity. Send her a million and lots of love.
23. Think about how expensive love is. Feel like you may spend the rest of your life thinking about people and sending them money. Realize this is a good deal. Wonder if being rich will make you fat. Wonder when you will have time to eat.
24. Think about Betsy and Carolyn and how you want them to be able to do whatever their hearts desire. Send them both 2 million.
25. Worry about all the people you are leaving out. Take a deep breath. The day isn’t over yet.
26. Send Laura Foote a million. Know she’ll probably turn the money into art and draw on it. Send her a million more just because you can.
27. Hope to God people aren’t already starting to hate you because you haven’t sent anything to them yet. Then think, fuck them. If they hate you, maybe they can go make their own damn money.
28. Send a million to the Dover Church. Apologize to God for damning people and cursing even though you don’t really think he/she exists. You hope he/she does. It would be nice to have someone real to pray to every once in a while.
29. Send every adopted person you know of a million dollars.
30. Send Lori a million because she loves pretty things. Corie who loves you even when you can’t spell. Gayle who is always somehow there.
31. Pray that money rains on everyone who needs it, and that you will get there before anyone has to worry about where their next meal will come from or how they will pay for the medical care they need.
32. A million dollars to Carole.
33. Maybe a million to Karen will make her forget how annoying she finds you. At least she will be able to pay her rent.
34. A trillion dollars to your Montana family. Because. They. Showed Up.
35. A million dollars to the wife of your birth father so she can see it momentarily and then never see it again. Just because money has not fixed your petty soul, and you want her to know what it feels like.
36. Then a million dollars back to her because, more than anything, you want a soul that is generous.
37. Enough for both Lorna and Cheryl to buy neighboring houses on the Vineyard because, when all is said and done, one of the best things you can give a woman is a room of her own.