If I Were a Rich Man

I’ve often said that if I were a rich man I wouldn’t be one for long.

It’s easy to look at professional athletes and Hollywood or musical celebrities and question how they could earn so much money and end up without a dime. Some might even question the idea that they truly ‘earned’ their money… but that’s another subject.

For most of us, being five million dollars in debt is beyond our comprehension for anything other than a government entity. I still can’t understand how a company like Delta Airlines could lose millions of dollars in three months and be able to continue in business. Why would anyone continue to loan them money when they’re unable to break even… let alone make a profit?

I’ve looked back at my earnings over a lifetime and discovered that I did indeed earn more than one million dollars during my working career. I still have some of that money, but very little. Since 1966, I’ve had quite a few bills that had to be paid. And the government insisted in taking their share as well. Come to think of it, my net earnings over the last forty-five years were a good bit less than that one million. Between state and local governments and Uncle Sam, at least a third of my million was eaten up by the tax collectors.

Considering it took me forty-five years to earn one million, is it any wonder that I’m amazed by people who earn more than that in one week? And I continued to be amazed at how they could spend it faster than they could earn it… until my day dream of a couple of days ago that made me realize the realm of possibilities that go along with wealth.

I began thinking about winning the lottery. My thoughts were triggered by news coverage of a Georgia man who had won one million dollars. I couldn’t help thinking about what I’d do with that kind of money.

First of all, I ignored the chunk that would be gobbled up in taxes. (I don’t like thinking about such things.) Next, I thought of Hawaii and how much I’d love to go back for at least a two week vacation. Then, I thought of my sister, Gertrude, who has been to every state except Hawaii. I then thought how great it would be to take all of our children and grandchildren and how nice it would be to give each of our seven children a thousand dollars to spend however they wanted.

The islands are calling to me

The islands are calling to me

If you’re interested in doing the math, my bride and I have seven grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Six of our children are married. Thus, so far in my reverie, I’m taking thirteen adult children (unless my youngest son wants to bring a date, which would take us to fourteen), my sister (and a companion of her choosing), and Lu and I. We’re up to eighteen people (airfare, lodging, and meals) and I’m only beginning my dream.

Lu and I always have a great time with Lu’s sister Linda and her husband Tom. In fact, they were our traveling companions that last time we visited the land of Aloha. They have two adult children and three grandchildren. Let’s take them as well! That puts us up to about twenty-five.

I don’t want any hurt feelings, so let’s take my brothers and their families. The number is skyrocketing past fifty!

Now, the next consideration involves my sister’s not wanting to island hop unless we do it on a ship. She doesn’t want to pack and unpack every time we move to another island. So, let’s charter a yacht for two weeks. Then, we’ll have rental cars for each family unit on each island.

At this point I begin to think I need to win more than one million or try to get a loan.

I can hear the ukeles and Aloha is on my lips

I can hear the ukeles and Aloha is on my lips

Our trip would begin on the Big Island. We could fly into Hilo and board the ship there… except for my brother, Doug, who hates flying. We’ll have to start the chartered yacht in Seattle to appease him. If we all flew into Seattle and boarded the ship we’d save some airfare. But now, the trip will need to be expanded to allow for approximately ten days at sea.

Obviously, one million dollars won’t do it. We need more!

I think I’m beginning to understand how people can go through money like that. Day dreams are nice, but I think mine turned into a nightmare!

Perhaps being a wealthy man would be more trouble than it’s worth. My reverie has me doing these things without being asked. I’ve a sneaky suspicion that I’d have lots of people claiming to be my relatives who would want to help me spend my money.

Perhaps those wealthy athletes and celebrities have already discovered that little problem.


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