Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
~ Benjamin Franklin
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ME AND MY MILLIONS
30 April 2004
OK--how about something just for fun. This is for the Random Acts of Journaling collaboration:
You are given a gift of 1 million dollars. 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?
Half would go to Breaking Barriers. I havent worked with Breaking Barriers in awhile (and with gas prices soaring, the chance of my doing transport for clients again is slim), but the organization does such good work providing social services to people living with HIV/AIDS and they are always in need of money.
The other half would go to Youth Guardian Services, a youth-run non-profit organization which provides on-line support for gay, lesbian, transgendered, questioning and straight-supportive young people. I have been on the board of directors for a couple of years (cause Steve told me to get on the board) and am impressed with what the founders and the tireless workers do in providing a safe place on the Internet for kids who want to talk to other kids.
$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?
This one is easy. I would give it to Steve, with no restrictions on its use. There are so many things that hes trying to do, from getting The Big Voice to New York, to recording projects, to supporting Youth Guardian Services or just to paying his rent. $100,000 isnt nearly enough to make a dent in the needs, but there is no question about who I would give this portion of my million. And no, I would not give it anonymously. Heck, if Im going to give Steve $100,000, hed jolly well better appreciate me for it!
$100,000 must be given to someone who has recently been in the news. Who gets it? Why?
It would go to The Bennett Family . This is a family that Dr. Gs wife worked tirelessly to help. They had three children who turned out to be afflicted with Sanfilippo syndrome, a fatal condition which causes mental retardation and early death. They worked to get their insurance company to pay for experimental treatment at Duke University for the youngest child, who, unfortunately died, though initially things were looking promising. Caring for their children has left them severely financially debilitated and the $100,000 seems a pittance, but would would at least help out a little.
$100,000 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?
Well, a bike path, of course! Bike paths in this town, this "city of bicycles," are wonderful, wide, beautiful and much used. Id like to find a community in desperate need of similar treatment and create a bike path which would take novice bikers, like me, along a wide, flat, safe road to see beautiful things that cant be seen from the car (and where there are no hills or dreaded overpasses).
$100,000 must be spent on a memorial to someone/something that you have loved and lost. What form does the memorial take? Who is it for?
$100,000 doesnt go very far, does it? It would be lovely to build a theatre, but of course you could hardly even get the doors for $100,000, so that leaves us with something much smaller. Cant really build something in memory of the boys. There is already a Paul Sykes performing area in downtown Davis, a David Sykes shade area at the Art Center, and trees planted for both the kids. Its actually kind of embarrassing (and humbling) the tributes to our kids in this town. But there is no memorial for Gilbert and so I would donate the lot to The Lamplighters as part of its fund-raising efforts. In fact, such a memorial fund was set up after he died, but the company never acknowledges it, and this would make certain that Gilbert was acknowledged in all of the programs from here on out.
$50,000 must be spent studying something you have not formally studied. What will you study?
I would become the worlds foremost expert on PhotoShop. And based on the cost of classroom programs Ive investigated around here, that might just about cover it (my word are such classes expensive!!)
$50,000 must be spent establishing a scholarship. What's it for and who will you name it for?
A drama scholarship at Davis High School was already named for Paul and I would add to that with half of this $25,000. I would also like to establish a second performing scholarship named for David. I would be torn between a football scholarship and a performing scholarship, since David was interested in both, but sports seem to have lots of supporters and the arts fewer, so there would be a David Sykes Scholarship as well.
Paul once won a scholarship named for another guy who had died prematurely. I loved the conditions of the scholarship. It was essentially the "goof-off award.." It went to kids who had done much for the arts, but whose grades in other areas werent necessarily outstanding. Paul had devoted himself entirely to the drama areas of the school and was not what you call a scholar, so it was the perfect scholarship for him (he shared the award with Kag). Id like to make a scholarship available to similar kids with a passion for performing and less of an interest in academics.
$50,000 must be given away in a contest. What kind of contest do you hold?
The person who does the best job decorating a room in my house (at their own expense, of course) wins $50,000. LOL. I figure this way Ill get my house redone, top to bottom, cheap!
$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?
The two things Ive always wanted to do are to take a photo safari to Africa and take a cruise up the inland passage. I suspect that I will now never have an opportunity to go to Africa, and am probably too old to even consider it, but old people are headed to cruise ships in record numbers, so there is still a chance that I could gum my oatmeal while lying on a deck chair on the deck of some cruise ship while gliding by some glaciers.
That leaves you with $150,000 of mad money. If the rules say you can't spend that money on things that might be termed "practical," what do you buy on your spending spree?
Nothing I ever buy is practical. But its difficult to know how Id spend $150,000 impractically. I already love my souped up computer and dont want to upgrade yet again, since I have no complaints about it. I would undoubtedly buy better photo equipment, upgrade to a DVD recorder, Tivo and surround sound, and then spend the rest of the money on silly gifts for other people. (Id also buy a HUGE web site so I didnt have to worry about space to put Funny the World for the next ten years! -- but maybe that's too "practical.")