I heard today that a number of investment groups and pension plans are questioning or ending their investment in companies that manufacture and sell assault weapons. Aside from some sort of sweeping ban on these killers (and the ammunition that feeds them), this is the best news I can think of right now. The one thing that (almost) universally makes people stand up and pay attention is money. Whether you’re making it or losing it, money changes attitudes and minds. It reveals truths about people. Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein to “follow the money,” and it would help them break the Watergate cover up. Money is a language everyone knows how to speak.
When the Mega Millions gets big enough, I put a few bucks in. Not because I think I’m going to win; I know the odds are prohibitively against me. I just figure if the jackpot is over $100 million, then it’s worth a few dollars in the entertainment value I get from daydreaming about what I’d do with all that money. There’s the obvious stuff, like take care of my family and friends. And I’d probably go ahead and buy myself anything I wanted. (I can tell you right now that my purchases would consist mostly of music, books, and socks. And maybe a pair of Converse high-tops in every color of the rainbow.) But I’d give a lot of it away. I’d buy books for libraries, and make sure animal shelters had whatever they needed. I’d like to fund a couple of scholarships. I’d make sure kids had health care and teddy bears. I’d buy a couple of apartment buildings, and give apartments to homeless people. My life would change, but I’d make sure a lot of other lives changed, too.
That’s kind of the point of having money, I think. I wouldn’t mind a really nice house and stuff, but I don’t need a giant mansion filled with designer furniture and a closet full of Jimmy Choos. The rich people who sock all their money away in offshore accounts or waste it on partying are kind of sad and pathetic. They’re missing the point. Once Leland Stanford had made all that money on the railroad, he went and founded a university with his fortune. Alfred Nobel was so distraught over the destruction caused by his invention dynamite, he bequeathed his fortune to found some prizes, including the Peace Prize. Money really can make a huge difference in so many ways. Obviously, most of us don’t have millions and millions of dollars to give away. But a dollar in the Salvation Army kettle makes a difference, too.
I’m gonna stop here, because it’s starting to get away from me. Enjoy the delicious 80s goodness that is Cyndi Lauper, and imagine what would change if you had the money.