Have you ever played the “What If” game? Sure you have; everyone at some point in their lives has wrapped their arms around an impossible dream. “What if I hit the Lotto for 20 million?” “What if I inherit a bunch of money?” “What if I get elected to the Senate?” “What if I found the cure for cancer?” “What if my novel hit the New York Times Bestseller list?”
I have heard the statement that money does not corrupt; it merely amplifies your character. If you’re a greedy poor person, then you will likely be a greedy rich person. Conversely, if you’re basically charitable, then a truckload of money will make you more charitable.
When I play the “What If” game, I imagine that my novel is highly successful—not Da Vinci Code successful, but a bestseller—and its success fosters a second and third and fourth book and the money just keeps pouring in. And no fantasy would be complete without a plan, so I envision how I would manage money and fame.
I have no desire to shower myself with luxury, drive a new Ferrari, build a 20,000 square foot mansion, or buy my wife a 10-carat diamond ring. Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely want to reap the fruits of my success—if it ever comes to pass—but lavish luxury is not what I’m after. I would love a nicely furnished home in a warm climate. And I wouldn’t mind tooling around in a Lexus IS 250. I would love to travel the globe and rent a villa in Tuscany. But in my heart of hearts I find nothing more appealing than imagining what I could do to help my family, friends, and a few worthy charities.
I’d love to pay off the mortgages on my children’s’ homes and give them enough money so they could live a better life. I can see myself buying cars and big screen TV’s for my family members and close friends. I sponsor three children at an orphanage in Tijuana. I would absolutely love to meet with the couple who manages this facility and add a wing to the orphanage or build a new facility or buy all the kids new clothes and iPods or provide health insurance for the kids. I would be more than happy to help them with whatever they need most. And there is also the Saint Jude Children’s Hospital, and Food for the Poor, and RAM (Remote Area Medical). Have I run out of money yet?
But ominously lurking in the back of my brain is a fear. Suppose all of my ambitions to be a charitable man are merely fairy tales? What if money totally corrupts me and turns me into a capitalist pig? What if money makes me a greed-driven, materialistic slob? Suppose my love of money and all it can do kidnaps my soul and hijacks my dream? What if money turns me into a modern day Scrooge?
Using this blog as an open forum, I am publically placing myself on notice and each of you reading this post is now my accountability partner. If I ever make it as a novelist and you see me turn into the man I don’t want to be, look me in the eyes and remind me of this post. Don’t let me walk down the wayward path. Slap me silly and get me back on track.
By the way, have you seen the new Testarossa? S-W-E-E-T!