If I Had a Billion Dollars

Al and I were sitting at the dinner table Sunday night, finishing our meal of salad plus macaroni-cheese-and-tomato-sauce casserole. “The Power Ball is worth over a billion dollars,” he said ($1.4 billion, to be exact—but who’s counting).

rainbow-1393626-639x391“Really?” I said. “What would you do with a billion dollars? I mean, whatever was left after taxes?” (Even if it was less than half, that would still be a whole lot of money.)

We agreed that our first priority would be to pay off all debts—our mortgage, the equity line, the girls’ college and grad school loans. We’d make sure their futures were financially secure. And we agreed that our second priority would be to set up a charitable foundation.

“Who would you give the money to?” Al asked.

I began enumerating—certainly I’d donate to scleroderma research, also our favorite charities and our synagogue. I’d give a lot of money to climate change research, like how to desalinate sea water, alternative methods of farming during droughts, better ways to control coastal flooding. I’d fund interfaith dialogue and Middle East peace initiatives. Grants to fledgling artists and writers. For starters.

“What else?” he asked.

“Well, I’d fix up the house, do all the projects we’ve put off. Maybe I’d want to sell it and downsize.”

“Downsize? With all that money?”

“Sure. Then we could buy vacation places around the world. Except they’d be a lot of upkeep.” (So much for downsizing.)

“It wouldn’t matter,” said Al, caught up in the game. “We’d have enough to pay for a home on Block Island.”

“Okay, then we could also have an apartment in Tel Aviv and a place on the French Riviera. And I’d want to travel. First class. Go to Antarctica.” (I could certainly afford to buy whatever gear I needed to stay warm, there or here, for that matter.)

Al smiled. He began to clear the dishes.

I imagined buying custom-made shoes for my hard-to-please feet and any clothes I wanted.

“You could get a personal trainer,” he said, picking up my empty dinner plate.

“Yeah,” I said, “and I’d want to put aside enough money so we’d be able to afford in-home care, 24/7, for when we get older, so we’d never have to live in a nursing home.” (Might as well be a little practical about the future with all that imaginary money. Certainly no more worries about medical expenses!)

What about work? We agreed we’d have our hands full managing our foundation, even if we hired staff to run it for us. We’d also be busy traveling. The rest of the time, I’d want to write my novel.

“Better buy some tickets,” I told him. (I can dream, can’t I?)

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

Image Credit: Yarik Mishin


  1. Kathy Pulda says:

    Love this!!! I’ve been working long hours (till 10:30 thurs night and midnight Friday) so I haven’t been watching the news. Robbie was away for the weekend so I was in my pj’s early sat night. Dana called to catchup and asked if I had gotten my powerball ticket yet. I didn’t even know about it! When she told me I threw on a long coat, jumped in the car and bought myself what I hoped would be the winning ticket. We know how that turned out. So I bought another one on Sunday for tomorrow!

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