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26 March 2002

Here's another submission to Random Acts of Journaling. Elle posed an interesting exercise and I thought it would be fun to do it.

You are given a gift of 1 million dollars (kindly adjust for currency in your location). There are some restrictions on how you can spend some of the money, as follows:

$100,000 must be donated to charity. What charities will you support?

I would try to find out which AIDS organization was making the best use of its funds and donate the bulk there. And I would give a chunk of it to Breaking Barriers, the AIDS outreach group for which I volunteer. They provide social services to those with AIDS, HIV, and breast cancer in this area. As with any organization like this, they are always struggling to fund their projects.

$100,000 must be given to one person that you know. To whom do you give it? What would you expect him/her to do with it? Would you put any restrictions on its use? Would it make a difference if you could make the donation anonymously?

Such a difficult decision to make. The logical thing would be to give it to the kids, since each of them could use some extra money to make their lives a bit easier. But I'm going to take this question as it is posed: must be given to ONE person that you know. If I have to choose only one, I don't want to have to pit siblings against each other, so I'll go outside the family. There are three choices in my head. It would be nice to help my friend Priscilla out financially, but in all honesty, I don't think the money would be spent wisely if I gave it to her in a chunk. Her family would manage to steal it from her and she would feel worse than ever.

I also would love to be able to repay a debt to a friend of mine. The debt was not incurred by me, but it has caused incredible hard feelings between the lender and the lendee. The lender is not likely to ever see the money again and because I'm friends with both of them, I'd love to repay the loan anonymously ($100,000 just about covers it). But the lender's life has changed significantly, partly because of the loss of the money, and the change has ultimately been a very positive one. I don't know what suddenly having that money again would do. Perhaps not meddling in this case is better.

Ultimately, I think I would give it to Steve. He has been working so hard on writing songs for his new musical and thinking about how to present it. Getting anything like that off the ground is always such an expensive thing. I'd love to see the show have a chance--and I'd love to see him in a position where he didn't have to struggle so hard for money. It would also give him the opportunity to go into a recording studio to do a real professional CD and I know how much pleasure that brings him. Would I give it anonymously? Hell no. If I'm going to give Steve $100,000 I expect him to thank me profusely.

$50,000 must be spent on a public beautification project. You can build a park, commission artwork, etc. What do you do, and where do you do it?

I'd plant trees. I hadn't really thought about this much until I started to write this section and think about the piece on trees that I wrote yesterday. I would work with the city of Davis to find the best place to plant trees and plant as many as possible--perhaps those Chinese Pistachio trees I love so much. In the long run, in this day and age $50,000 really isn't that much money for a public beautification project.

$50,000 must be spent studying something you have not formally studied. What will you study?

Digital photography. With that much money, I could get top of the line equipment and the training in both photography and computer graphics to help me make the most of it. It would also give me the opportunity to travel to wonderful places to put my newfound skills into practice. And enough money to buy enough provider space that I can post as many photos as I want without having to worry about filling up.

$200,000 must be spent doing as many things as you can on your "lifetime to do list." Always wanted to see Alaska? Take a boat trip on the Rhine? What things would you do first?

I'd be on the next plane for Australia. I would give Peggy the kind of vacation that she gave me when she came here. She could watch me get as excited about seeing kangaroos in the wild as she got about seeing squirrels in the wild here. We'd ride bikes around Joondalup Lake ('cause we'll both be so physically fit by then), feed dolphins at Monkey Mia, travel to Melbourne to visit her family, and see all the sights of Sidney.

I'd also love to go on a photo safari to Africa, cruise up the inland passage to Alaska, and spend enough time in Paris that I give it a chance (the one day we spent there a few years back was not the best first impression ever).  If I ever get my bike legs strenghtened, perhaps bike through France or Italy (or both)

The rest of the money is yours to do with as you see fit. What would you do with it?

I'm a dunderhead when it comes to investing money, so I'd have to have somebody to advise me. But I'd love to set up some sort of investment that will allow me to live and to do some good on the side as well, though again, in this day and age, the money is not going to go very far.

I definitely would like to help the kids financially. Help Ned and Marta with their new house, give Jeri the financial freedom so she won't have to scrounge for a job for money to live while she writes music. Talk with Tom about what would be the best way to make his life easier financially as well. And if possible, find a way to make Priscilla's life easier, without directly handing her money.

Finally, in keeping with my new dedication to Getting Fit, I'd hire a personal trainer to abuse my body and get it whipped into shape.

Unfortunately, unless I start playing the lottery, I won't ever be in a position to make decisions such as these.


Quote of the Day

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and Earth will have to pause and say,"Here lived a great sweeper, who swept his job well

- Martin Luther King, Jr

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